Palin Might Lawyer Up After NYT Correction
Newspaper apologizes after linking Gabby Giffords shooting to Palin's 2011 map
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2017 1:59 PM CDT
Sarah Palin in 2015.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

(Newser) – Sarah Palin issued a not-so-veiled warning to the New York Times on Thursday over a controversial editorial in the newspaper, one that prompted two corrections and an apology. In a tweet, Palin said she is "talking to attorneys this AM and exploring options." It all stems from an editorial, written in the wake of the Steve Scalise shooting, that linked a map put out by Palin's political action committee in 2011 to the shooting of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Some background and new developments:

  • What it said: In criticizing incendiary political rhetoric, the editorial mentioned the 2011 shooting of Giffords and said the "link to political incitement was clear." It added: "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 corrections: "An editorial on Thursday about the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise 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 editorial also incorrectly described a map distributed by a political action committee before that shooting. It depicted electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers, beneath stylized cross hairs."

  • Criticism: It came fast and furious, especially from the right. "Complete garbage," tweeted Jay Caruso of RedState in regard to the original editorial, while Palin herself complained that that the Times "has gotten worse" in terms of printing "blatant lies."
  • More: "Let this serve as a warning about something bigger than liberal media bias or partisanship: Please, for the love of God, can we stop using these sorts of tragedies as political clubs?" writes Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry at the Week.
  • Fact-checker: The fact-checking blog Politifact looks into any possible link between the Giffords shooting and that map, and finds none.
  • Palin's case: So does Palin have a legitimate beef in terms of a lawsuit? Alberto Luperon at Law Newz assesses. It would be tough, because a mistake isn't enough; she'd have to show it was made maliciously. Still, "a jury could theoretically decide that it would have been easy enough for the Times to know that the statements were false, and that by not doing the necessary research, they were reckless."
  • Missed it: In its news section the same day, a Times story mentioned the Palin map but stipulated that no connection was ever established to the Giffords shooting, per CNN. "The New York Times editorial board should start reading their own paper," tweeted John Ekdhal, a conservative blogger.
  • Apology: "We're sorry about this and we appreciate that our readers called us on the mistake," the newspaper tweeted.

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