Court Battles

Palin testifies it was ‘devastating’ to read New York Times editorial at center of trial


Former vice presidential candidate and ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) testified on Thursday during her defamation trial against The New York Times that it was “devastating” to read the 2017 editorial at the center of the case and claimed the newspaper had tried to “politicize horrific violence,” The Associated Press reported.

Palin is suing the newspaper for defamation over an editorial it published on June 14, 2017, titled “America’s Lethal Politics.” The column was published following the shooting at a congressional baseball practice that left Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) wounded.

In the editorial, the newspaper also mentioned a 2011 shooting that left six people dead and wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and appeared to link the incident to an ad that Palin’s political action committee made prior to the shooting. 

“Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map that showed the targeted electoral districts of Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs,” the editorial read.

The newspaper later issued two corrections, including one that said the editorial “incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.”

“The New York Times, the be all and end all, the loud voice in the media, had … taken a knee-jerk reaction and tried to score political points, trying to politicize horrific violence,” Palin said on her second day on the witness stand, according to the AP.

The former Alaskan governor compared the experience to the Biblical story of David and Goliath.

“It was devastating to read a false accusation that I had anything to do with murder,” she said, according to the news outlet. “I felt powerless — that I was up against Goliath. The people were David. I was David.”

Attorneys representing the newspaper have argued that Palin still does speaking arrangements and goes on Fox News, which they say shows she has not suffered serious repercussions following the botched editorial, the AP reported.

Former New York Times opinion editor James Bennet has argued that he did not mean to defame the Republican official, but said in testimony on Wednesday that “I’ve regretted it pretty much every day since,” the news wire noted.

Tags Defamation James Bennet Sarah Palin Steve Scalise The New York Times
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