Culture

Sarah Palin Suing New York Times Over ‘Political Incitement’ Editorial

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R.) / Getty

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R.) is suing the New York Times for defamation after the paper claimed that her political action committee's advertisement caused the 2011 shooting of then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D., Ariz.).

The suit, filed on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, accused the Times of having perpetuated a "fabricated story" in claiming that Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, incited the attack, the New York Post reports.

"Mrs. Palin brings this action to hold the Times accountable for falsely stating to millions of people that she, a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, who committed a substantial portion of her adult life to public service, is part of a pattern of ​'lethal​' politics and responsible for inciting an attack that seriously injured numerous people and killed six, including a nine-year-old girl who, at that time, was the same age as Mrs. Palin's youngest daughter," the lawsuit ​reads.

The editorial in question, entitled "America's Lethal Politics," came in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R., La.) and others at a Republican congressional baseball practice by a left-wing supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) on June 14. The Times editorial board originally accused Palin of "political incitement," which it said led to the shooting of Giffords, as well as six others, in 2011.

The Times‘ editorial repeated a past claim that an ad from Palin's PAC showed Giffords and 19 other Democrats under "stylized cross hairs," which they connected to the literal shooting of Giffords. The ad did not depict Giffords specifically, but electoral districts.

The Times subsequently posted a correction, acknowledging the distinction and admitting that the past 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."

However, the lawsuit says, "The Times should have apologized to Mrs. Palin."

A spokeswoman for the Times told the Post that they had not yet seen the suit, but would respond "vigorously."