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Principale » Judge dismisses Palin's lawsuit against New York Times

Judge dismisses Palin's lawsuit against New York Times

30 Août 2017

Summary: A judge said that the former Alaskan governor could not prove the newspaper was working maliciously.

A federal judge has dismissed former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's defamation case against the New York Times newspaper.

According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan stated in his 26-page decision that the editorial in question was error-filled but not malicious.

Instead, he said, the editorial "included a few factual inaccuracies somewhat pertaining to Mrs Palin that [were] very rapidly corrected". "Negligence this may be; but defamation of a public figure it plainly is not".

Rakoff added that Palin's legal team's evidence was weak. It consisted "either of gross supposition or of evidence so weak that, even together, these items can not support the high degree of particularized proof".

Palin had sued the newspaper in June over an editorial that had falsely portrayed her as inciting the shooting of Democratic Rep. Whether the Times was right or wrong to say that Palin publishing a map of legislators with targets on them helped create a climate that led to Giffords being shot or not, that is a legitimate expression of a political position and it's hardly a frivolous one.

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But the newspaper later clarified those crosshairs were centred on electoral districts, not photos of individual people, and issued a correction saying there was no established link between the committee's published material and the violence.

During a hearing earlier this month, James Bennet, the editor of the New York Times editorial board, admitted that he did not look at the map or review coverage about the 2011 shooting while editing the opinion piece.

Judge Rakoff said in in his ruling that political journalism was needed "to achieve its constitutionally endorsed role of challenging the powerful". He acknowledged that it was obvious the Times staff did not like Palin, but that was not enough to constitute defamation. The Times alleged that Palin's "incitement" of Loughner's crime was "clear" and "direct".

As a public figure, Palin had to prove "actual malice", or that the paper acted knowing the information was false.

Nowhere is political journalism so free, so robust, or perhaps so rowdy as in the United States.

Judge dismisses Palin's lawsuit against New York Times