Sarah Palin to face off against New York Times in defamation trial Monday


Sarah Palin to face off against New York Times in defamation trial Monday
The New York Times linked Sarah Palin to the 2011 mass shooting in Arizona where six people were killed and more than a dozen were injured. Joshua Roberts/REUTERS

Sarah Palin will square off against the New York Times Monday when her defamation case against the paper goes to trial in Manhattan.

At the center of the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee’s federal suit is a 2017 editorial that incorrectly linked Palin to the 2011 mass shooting in Arizona where six people were killed and more than a dozen were injured, including then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. 

The editorial “falsely stated as a matter of fact to millions of people that Mrs. Palin incited Jared Loughner’s January 8, 2011, shooting rampage at a political event in Tucson, Arizona,” lawyers for the one-term Alaska governor wrote in the complaint. 

The Times has since corrected the editorial, acknowledging both falsely linking Palin to the violence and mischaracterizing an ad Palin’s political action committee ran, which put certain congressional districts, including Giffords, under crosshairs. Originally, the Times said the ad placed lawmakers themselves beneath the crosshairs.

Sarah Palin to face off against New York Times in defamation trial Monday
Sarah Palin’s lawyers filed a motion in January to bar jurors in the case from seeing footage of her on “The Masked Singer.”
Michael Becker/FOX

Palin said the mistake was libelous and sued the Times in 2017 in Manhattan federal court, where jury selection will begin Monday morning.

For Palin to win, her lawyers can’t just prove the Times was wrong, which the paper has already said it was. She must show that the editors and writers at the paper acted with malice, ignoring the facts on purpose to sully her name. The Times has called it an “honest mistake” that happened in a rush on deadline. 

The Gray Lady worked hard to get the case dismissed, but a three-judge appellate court ruling in 2019 said it could go forward.

Sarah Palin to face off against New York Times in defamation trial Monday
Sarah Palin and her lawyers must prove that New York Times editors and writers acted with malice, ignoring the facts on purpose to sully her name.
Robert Miller

“It’s going to be great courtroom theater,” William Grueskin, a former newspaper editor who teaches at Columbia University’s journalism school, told NPR. “You’re going to have Sarah Palin up there on the stand. You’re going to have some of the top people at the Times at least of the opinion section. I don’t see how that can fail to be interesting.”

Erik Wemple of the Washington Post said the case, in which the ex-gov is seeking damages, “will help demarcate the line between really bad journalism and libelous journalism.”

Palin’s lawyers filed a motion in January to bar jurors in the case from seeing footage of her on “The Masked Singer,” despite no evidence that the Times would want to use clips in court of her performing on the hit TV show.

She was booted off Season 3 after performing “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot in a colorful bear costume.

“This might be the most shocked I’ve ever been on this show,” host Nick Cannon said when the GOP heavyweight took off her bear head to reveal her identity.

With Post wires