Sarah Palin Threatens Lawsuit Against New York Times for 'Libel and Slander'

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R.) / Getty
June 15, 2017

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R.) tweeted Thursday that she is considering legal action against the New York Times for an op-ed that seemed to blame her for the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D., Ariz.).

"In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot … the link to political incitement was clear," the Times editorial board wrote. "Before the shooting, Sarah Palin's political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs."

"Though there's no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right," the Times concluded.

But as scores of outraged Twitter users pointed out, there is no evidence that Loughner was a fan of Palin, had seen her map, or was even politically right wing. Under pressure, the Times updated the op-ed to avoid directly linking Palin and "political incitement" to the Giffords shooting.

"With this sickening NYT's editorial, the media is doing exactly what I said yesterday should not be done," Palin responded on Facebook. "Despite commenting as graciously as I could on media coverage of yesterday's shooting, alas, today a perversely biased media's knee-jerk blame game is attempting to destroy innocent people with lies and more fake news."

An hour later, Palin shared on Twitter a portion of an op-ed arguing that she should sue for libel.

"One might argue that the New York Times has fulfilled the two criteria for libeling a public figure. The newspaper has committed a reckless disregard for the truth in dredging up the link between the map and Giffords' shooting. The presence of malice is also a given," the author argued.

"Commonsense suggestion by a journalist, am talking to attorneys this AM and exploring options," Palin tweeted.