Former Alaska Governor and 2008 US vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin will appear in a highly anticipated libel lawsuit court trial against the New York Times on Feb 5th, Thursday – testing long-standing protections for the popular US news channel.
“Sarah Palin’s defamation case against New York Times heads to trial”, The Hill Tweeted.
Purportedly, the 57-year-old, Palin is suing the media for its 2017 editorial, which wrongfully linked her political rhetoric to an Arizona mass shooting that happened six years back, killed six, and injured the US Representative Gabby Giffords. However, later the newspaper corrected it.
“She’s suing over an editorial that incorrectly said a digital ad published by her PAC incited the man who shot Gabby Giffords.
Jury has to decide: careless mistake or actionable “actual malice”?, Tweeted Jan Wolfe.
The jury trial in Sarah Palin v. NYT kicks off on Monday.— Jan Wolfe (@JanNWolfe) January 23, 2022
She's suing over an editorial that incorrectly said a digital ad published by her PAC incited the man who shot Gabby Giffords.
Jury has to decide: careless mistake or actionable "actual malice"?https://t.co/vAmHgQ2OHu
Shane Vogt, Palin’s attorney representing her in the court, told jurors in his opening statement, that his client, “was fighting an ‘uphill battle’ to show the editorial reflected the Times’ knowledge it was false and its ‘history of bias’ toward her and other Republicans”.
While David Axelrod, The New York Times attorney, replied in his statement, saying, “the editorial sought to hold both Democrats and Republicans responsible for inflammatory rhetoric, and said the newspaper acted ‘as quickly as possible to correct its mistake”.
The Thursday’s trial in Manhattan could turn into a test of the Supreme Court’s decision in the New York Times v Sullivan trial back in 1964, making it extremely difficult for US public officials to prove defamation. At that time, the court stated, “the First Amendment protects newspapers even when they print false statements, as long as the newspapers did not act with ‘actual malice’”.
To win the case, Sarah Palin must bring clear and convincing proof that the news outlet pursued “actual malice”. It means she must prove that the newspaper knew they had published the false news or had heedless regard for the truth. The American politician is currently seeking “unspecified damages” for the defamation she had been through.
Some legal scholars and conservative Supreme court justices have suggested reassessing the Sullivan ruling. Palin has implied that she would appeal to challenge it if she lost.
“What am I trying to accomplish? Justice, for people who expect the truth in the media,” said Palin to the reporters while entering the courthouse.
The 2017 editorial that brought Palin defamation was published with the headline, “America’s Lethal Politics,” after a brutal shooting in Virginia in which House of Representatives Republican leadership member Steve Scalise got injured.
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