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Jury Sees Damning Internal Emails In Sarah Palin’s Libel Case Against NY Times

Jury Sees Damning Internal Emails In Sarah Palin’s Libel Case Against NY Times

“emails between New York Times editors reveal they ignored fact checkers and admitted to ‘sneaking a link’ between Sarah Palin and the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords”

Sarah Palin is suing the New York Times for defamation and she has a good case. The whole thing stems from the paper trying to link her to the 2011 shooting of Gabby Giffords, following the 2017 shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and other Republicans.

After the shooting of Giffords, the liberal media tried to link the shooting to a map that had been released by Palin’s PAC which featured crosshair symbols. You may remember the image:

After the shooting of Scalise in 2017, the NY Times published a piece which drew a link between this map and the shooting, a bogus claim, especially considering that the shooter was a fan of Bernie Sanders and Rachel Maddow.

Tom Hays reports at the Associated Press:

Palin resumes court battle with Times after COVID illness

Sarah Palin’s libel suit against The New York Times went to trial Thursday in a case over the former Alaska governor’s claims the newspaper damaged her reputation with an editorial linking her campaign rhetoric to a mass shooting…

Axelrod, an attorney for the Times, acknowledged the newspaper made a factual mistake in the editorial, but said it was not malicious and the paper “acted as quickly as possible to correct that mistake.”

Palin sued the Times in 2017, accusing it of damaging her career as a political commentator with an editorial about gun control published after U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, was wounded when a man with a history of anti-GOP activity opened fire on a Congressional baseball team practice in Washington.

In the editorial, the Times wrote that before the 2011 mass shooting in Arizona that severely wounded former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and killed six others, Palin’s political action committee had contributed to an atmosphere of violence by circulating a map of electoral districts that put Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized crosshairs.

In a correction two days later, The Times said the editorial had “incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting” and that it had “incorrectly described” the map.

According to Daniel Bates of the Daily Mail, jurors saw emails from the New York Times which made it seem like they knew that they screwed up:

Damning emails between New York Times editors reveal they ignored fact checkers and admitted to ‘sneaking a link’ between Sarah Palin and the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords when they published editorial, former Alaska governor’s defamation trial hears

Damning internal emails sent by members of the New York Times editorial board were made public today during the libel trial brought by Sarah Palin against the newspaper.

The emails were introduced by Palin’s lawyer Shane Vogt as he questioned Elizabeth Williamson, a journalist with the editorial section of the Times who wrote the first draft of the article.

In a message shown to the jury, Jesse Wegman, a member of the NYT editorial board, wrote that he worried the opinion piece that Palin sued over looked like they were trying to ‘sneak in’ a link between her and the 2011 shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords…

The emails also show that the editors appear to have ignored the advice of a fact checker who pointed out that the map came out ‘months’ before the shooting – but the article only said ‘before’…

The piece stated that in 2011: ‘The link to political incitement was clear. 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 crosshairs’.

At 10.48pm that night, after the article was published, Wegman emailed Williamson: ‘The gun rights brigade is having a seizure over the Giffords – Loughner – Palin link.

Seth Stevenson of Slate has the exact passage from the Times:

If you’re just tuning in, a quick primer on how we got here might be useful: On June 14, 2017, a left-wing activist fired a hail of bullets at Republican politicians who were playing softball on a field in Virginia (wounding, among others, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise). Later that same day, the Times posted an editorial about the incident on its website. The essay condemned—as the headline put it—“America’s Lethal Politics.” The piece ran in the print edition the following morning, and contained these passages:

Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old-girl, the link to political incitement was clear. 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.

The problem for the New York Times is that they are relying on a benefit of the doubt they do not deserve.

They’re lucky I’m not on that jury. In my mind, this is a pretty clear-cut case.

Featured image via YouTube.


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Ignoring your own fact checkers to state a false fact is the definition of reckless disregard for the truth. Issuing a correction two days later does not make it allright. Any more than, shoplifting a shirt and returning it two days later sweat stained and dirty does not make it allright.

    Peabody in reply to Ironman. | February 5, 2022 at 10:26 am

    The New York Times has “…reckless disregard for the truth..”

    That’s because their standard is a cautious, careful and prudent regard for deceit, distortion and falsehood.

    Fatkins in reply to Ironman. | February 5, 2022 at 10:58 am

    It’s interesting really, do you apply the same standard to Fox news et all?

      iconotastic in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 1:31 pm

      Why not? If someone can prove an equally blatant disregard for the truth by editorialists speaking for the channel (as the NYT editorial clearly did for the NYT) then the channel should be sued.

        Fatkins in reply to iconotastic. | February 5, 2022 at 2:14 pm

        Trouble is many listen to Fox news and think it remotely approaches fact, sure the NYT gets the odd story wrong but Fox news lies constantly, in fact I’m not even clear it is able to tell the truth. It’s pretty clear from right wing outlets and commentary that it’s hardly held to the fire like any centrist or left wing outlet is. Can you think of a single LI story that covers Fox news on the rubbish they spew out?

        Haha it’s funny you should mention Fox being sued, Tucker Carlson defecation defence was literally that people shouldn’t take him seriously, yet many do. If the right actually held there own to the same standard as others that would really do the world a big favour.

          stevewhitemd in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 3:43 pm

          Okay, Fatkins, why don’t you cite some examples of Fox news libeling a liberal Democrat? Be specific, and be sure that your examples meet the legal definition of libel, slander, and defamation.

          We’ll wait…

          txvet2 in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 4:09 pm

          I’ll give you this much: How could any legitimate network ever hire Chris Wallace, much less give him his own show, much less give Geraldo any airtime at all?

          “The odd story” being every single word they published for four years about Russian collusion, or even just Trump in general, and things like covering for a genocide in Russia because they were fellow travelers.

          This may shock you, but the NYT is seen as a propaganda rag by most people, and it has worked ceaselessly to gain that reputation. It is meant to be read by only the most gullible and simpleminded of rubes.

          henrybowman in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 11:05 pm

          Go away, troll. Nobody loves you.

          iconotastic in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 11:50 pm

          So you don’t have a case at all. You just have the typical retarded shriek of hate. Come back when someone actually has a case, as Palin clearly has.


          Milhouse in reply to Fatkins. | February 6, 2022 at 12:06 am

          Seriously?! The NYT “gets the odd story wrong”?! It is to laugh. The NYT gets more stories wrong than right, and always in the same direction. Fox, I’m sure, gets “the odd story” and even more than that wrong. I carry no brief for it. But could you cite some actual examples, for comparison? Because I think that among its sorry class it’s probably the one that gets the fewest stories wrong. If you think otherwise, show your work.

          As others have noted, let’s hear the litany of lies you claim Fox spews. Let’s hear about the zillions of defamation lawsuits against Fox News that have gained any traction at all, much less gone to trial.

          As to LI covering Fox News “garbage,” I can’t speak for every author/editor here, but I know that I don’t cover this because I don’t watch Fox News. Haven’t for years (over a decade) since I ditched cable. But no biggie, I was a conservative before Fox News even existed, and I’m still a conservative (even without the mind-control influence of Fox News). Weird, right? Almost makes you think that Fox News isn’t the cause of right-thinking but might be the most ratings successful cable news outlet because they are providing news and, on their opinion shows, opinions all those viewers share. What came first, the conservative or Fox News? Let’s see, Fox wasn’t founded until 1996. Hmmmm . . let’s think . . . .

          Let me spell it out for you: Fox News doesn’t create conservatives, it caters to them. We’ve been here for far longer than Fox News has existed, and we’ll be here long after its demise. But yeah, keep bleating about Fox News zombies. We find it hilarious that you are so ridiculously shallow and uncritical in your thinking.

          Fatkins in reply to Fatkins. | February 6, 2022 at 8:55 pm


          Well that’s dumb, why would your standard be libelling a liberal Democrat, my statement was very clear – Fox news doesn’t convey news at all. Id refer you to practically everything Fox news says about the pandemic, and the election 2020 as demonstrated by a) the released text by the Jan 6th committee, b) the failure of Fox to block Dominions defamation claim, c) the fact that Fox has mandatory vaccination for its staff yet its hosts spout rubbish about vaccines etc.

          Even on your standard Fox News settled out of court regarding Seth Rich – a Democrat – after spouting disgusting conspiratorial nonsense about his death.


          You do realize the Russia Collusion story was collaborated by the Mueller report don’t you? People went to prison for colluding with Russia, indeed the only reason Trump wasn’t indicted was because Mueller thought you could indict a sitting president; that was a foundational and very controversial claim within the report. When you say every single word about Trump, can you cite a specific example?

          “NYT is seen as a propaganda rag” Nope, circa 50% of people think the NYT is a credible newspaper ; and that seems fair, of course it has biases and errors in reporting which is why you should always read widely but in principle its relatively good.

          @iconotastic, henrybowman – triggered much

          Id ask the same of you demonstrate that the NYT gets more wrong than right, that is extremely unlikely. With respect to Fox news id refer you to an early para, Fox news is noted as being a poor source of information. There is practically an entire eco system online laughing at the Fox news output.

          @Fuzzy Slippers
          I’ve already referred to some of the lies above so I wont repeat.

          “As to LI covering Fox News” the claim is simple, LI covers every supposed failure of the NYT or other liberal or left wing main stream error but doesn’t have anyway near the same critical lens when applied to the right. Not by a long stretch. That’s not a claim on why you are a conservative, so maybe aim your spiel towards the claim not what you think the claim is. That makes most of the remainder of what you say somewhat irrelevant.

          “We find it hilarious that you are so ridiculously shallow and uncritical in your thinking.” Says the person who didn’t understand the claim.

          George_Kaplan in reply to Fatkins. | February 7, 2022 at 2:23 am

          Fatkins you’re padding your stats. 29% of your 50% think the NYT credible actually only consider the NYT somewhat credible. They probably get the date right.

          You ignore the 12% who deem it not too credible, the 16% who deem it not credible at all, the 19% who’ve heard of it but have no position on credibility, and the 3% who’ve never heard of it.

          For comparison purposes 16% consider Fox very credible, and 28% somewhat credible – that’s 44% by your metric.

          Note too that media credibility has dropped 5-10% in the last couple of years. with HuffPo and Fox being among the worst affected pre- versus post-Trump.

          Fatkins in reply to Fatkins. | February 7, 2022 at 10:52 pm


          I stated clearly the bases of the stat was credibility; that’s not padding the stats but an accurate representation of public opinion. Framing ‘somewhat credible’ as just getting the date right is a poor characterization of what that means. You honestly believe someone would say something is ‘Somewhat credible’ on that basis, no.

          And yes indeed, with respect to Fox news those stats seeing it as non credible are much higher.

          The point though is that there seemed to be a claim being made that the NYT is not a credible source that’s neither public opinion or backed up by the facts. That’s as opposed to Fox news which has a long history of peddling crap, its also well known that a large section of the population consider Fox news a good source which is disturbing given how little factual content is present.

          I’m not seeing a response to my broader points with respect to the many lies told by Fox.

        ConradCA in reply to iconotastic. | February 5, 2022 at 9:16 pm

        Don’t forget how the NYT covered up the Holocaust.

      starride in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 1:51 pm

      Absolutely and quite frankly it is disrespectful to insinuate that we don’t. The news should not editorialize. they should say only “Who”, “Where”, “When”, “What”, and if if known factually “WHY”. Everything else is garbage opinion. If the main street news want to give opinion then they should state explicitly that they are giving their opinions.

        Fatkins in reply to starride. | February 5, 2022 at 2:17 pm

        Well I hope you do hold a high standard, but when it comes to the right in general I’m not convinced. I can’t think of a single right wing outlet that’s anything approaching the standard you’ve stated.

          ConradCA in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 9:26 pm

          I want to know what Fox News does that makes the NYT lies irrelevant?

          We just had 4 years of NYT lies about Russian Collusion. When the special prosecutor was unable to find proof after a $23 million investigation he proved that Russian Collusion was a lie.

          henrybowman in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 11:06 pm

          Still waiting for you to name specifics instead of just vomiting onto a wall to see what sticks.

          Stuytown in reply to Fatkins. | February 6, 2022 at 1:26 pm

          Fatkins, this website is for thoughtful people. It is read mostly by conservatives of various magnitude. Most of these people are informed and generally open to discussion with others who have a different point of view. But that different point of view must be supported. You don’t have any support for your argument. Just mudslinging. So go away.

          While I can’t speak for starride, I can speak for myself, and I don’t think it’s possible for me to care less about how convinced you are about anything.

          Fatkins in reply to Fatkins. | February 6, 2022 at 9:25 pm


          I’m not sure why you think that I had a claim about NYT ‘lies’ being irrelevant?

          Yeah you do realize the Muller report led to multiple arrests with respect to Russian collusion and the only reason Trump wasn’t indicted was because Muller considered a sitting president unindictable. So far from it being a lie its been substantiated to a high degree. You might want to be more familiar with the report not what the right wing media says about the report.

          Weirdly I don’t spend that much time on LI, so I thank you for your patience in waiting for my response. As I’ve said previously practically everything Fox news says is rubbish – how about the stance on the 2020 election when we know from Hannity’s texts that his view was quite different in private, how about Covid, and mandates and vaccines when Fox news has a mandatory vaccine requirement, how about Tucker Carlson peddling Great Replacement theory.

          Its not controversial to say that Fox news is crap

          Care so little that you replied anyway 😉

          refer to above for examples

          @kyrrat, moonbattery
          With respect that’s a misunderstanding on both counts. I never defended the article from NYT – if its wrong its wrong. That’s fine. The issue is whether the same standard is being applied across the spectrum. Whataboutism is a good example of a fallacy but since I’m not actually defending the article its not applicable.

          I’m glad you have standards, that’s a good thing. With respect to the media sources you mention sure I do which is why I read multiple sources. Otherwise how could you know that any particular source is good or bad.

          That’s a very narrow criteria – my claim is that Fox news is entirely rubbish. I’ve already given examples.

          “I know of plenty of instances where your party’s thugs have in fact killed people.” Sure go for it, which party am I by the way? I assume you think I’m a Democrat so feel free to cite examples as per the above I’m intrigued to know

      mailman in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 3:41 pm

      Give us an example Fatkins. Remember, Merely hurting your feelings doesn’t count.

        allenb611 in reply to mailman. | February 5, 2022 at 8:04 pm

        He can’t give you an example because he doesn’t watch Fox News. He’s just spouting leftist propaganda he’s heard.

      kyrrat in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 4:33 pm

      Disrupting the argument by changing the subject does not work as a defense. The behavior being discussed does not get a pass because you believe, without an offer of any concrete examples, that Fox did the same thing.

        Moon Battery in reply to kyrrat. | February 5, 2022 at 5:35 pm

        “…Disrupting the argument by changing the subject ….”

        I believe Fatkins engaged in the logical fallacy of “Whataboutism”. Whataboutism or whataboutery (as in “what about…?”) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy, which attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving the argument.

      Moon Battery in reply to Fatkins. | February 5, 2022 at 5:37 pm

      I believe you are engaging in the logical fallacy Whataboutism. “Whataboutism or whataboutery (as in “what about…?”) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy, which attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving the argument.”

      If you have examples of FOX engaging in similar behavior, state it. Otherwise, your comment is meaningless.

      Ironman in reply to Fatkins. | February 6, 2022 at 10:38 am

      Whataboutism? Really? You know that goes both ways? What are your standards? Show your homework. Show us where you applied an equal standard to MSNBC and CNN?

      AF_Chief_Master_Sgt in reply to Fatkins. | February 6, 2022 at 2:07 pm

      👌 Fatkins. Specifically state examples where Fox News has made libelous claims against any Democrat where they linked that claim to a vicious and dangerous shooting.

      I know of plenty of instances where your party’s thugs have in fact killed people.

      I will provide examples, AFTER you provide your specifics.

      Ironman in reply to Fatkins. | February 6, 2022 at 5:32 pm

      “It’s interesting really, do you apply the same standard to Fox news et all?”

      Yes. I know it is a strange concept for a Democrat, but they are called principles. “The most important principles are the ones that are the most difficult to defend.” Such as when they must be applied to a friend.

      What are your principles? If you are concerned about FoxNews, do YOU apply the same standard to the NYTimes, MSNBC, CNN, et al?

    dunce1239 in reply to Ironman. | February 6, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    i hope she wins $millions and uses it to keep her in the news and in some high office.

All the elements of defamation are here. The only question is if Palin can find a jury in NYC that will agree. I’m skeptical but I hope the citizens of Manhattan prove me wrong.

    iconotastic in reply to TargaGTS. | February 5, 2022 at 11:52 pm


    Palin will be lucky if they don’t try to dunk her in the East RIver. And it would be entertaining to know how many on the jury speak English.

Sheesh, the AP needs some fact-checkers. The shooting at the GOP team’s practice happened in Alexandria, VA. The Democrats were practicing at a field in DC.

When was the SLIMES ever on the right side of history?

nordic_prince | February 5, 2022 at 1:40 pm

NYT – all the news that’s $#!+ to print.

Subotai Bahadur | February 5, 2022 at 6:08 pm

Just curious, but since when has the New York Times either been subject to the law, especially during a Leftist regime, or expected to even look at the truth?

Subotai Bahadur

I remember a moron in my van pool (commie lawyer) spouting off about it and I told her that it had been debunked within hours of the report as a dozen dems as well as news outlets that weren’t conservative had used the same exact icons in their communications. She looked it up and it was “oh.,” She and another rider went on to cherry pick other crap to hate on conservatives which was also dubunked if you lived outside of the liberal bubble.

This was around the same time that dumbass dem congressman had been caught with cash in his freezer (William Jefferson)- she’d never even heard of that dude or the scandal which had circulated pretty widely.

They then went on to critique the “hate” of the GOP and I responded with – look here’s the viewpoint of conservatives if you want to understand- along with merits and weaknesses of the views and arguments. The 2 hour commute ended with at least 2 people in the van pool screaming at the top of their lungs at me for daring to know and explain facts and also debunking dem talking points which they were able to look up about 20 times on the ride. Nothing about their hate was based on facts. It was a most frustrating experience that every conservative has to experience if they dare speak facts to these people.

1. As I said at the time and as I always say when Dems suggest we should stop using the “language of violence” in politics, fine, let’s start with “campaign”. That’s a violent word, and name one politician who doesn’t use it. So let go of your pearls, they’re costume anyway.

2. Those aren’t crosshairs on Palin’s map, they’re register marks. There would have been nothing wrong had she called for those districts to be “targeted”, by depicting them as such, but in fact she didn’t. Those marks are used by standard mapping software simply to indicate points of focus, without any implication of “targeting” or evocation of metaphorical weapons.

3. As far as Palin’s suit, to me the key question is one of law: for the purpose of the Sullivan standard, if one person at a corporate entity knows something, is the entity as a whole deemed to have had that knowledge? It’s pretty clear here that nobody involved in publishing the offending story knew it was wrong; but the NYT itself had published the truth, so as a corporate entity it “knew”. Is that enough to satisfy the need for “actual malice” as defined in Sullivan?

I think Palin’s goal is go beyond proving “actual malice.” Her goal is to dismantle Sullivan.

Fraud isn’t protected speech. The NYT’s not only libeled Palin, it defrauded the public. Sullivan’s standard allows the news the ability to create fraudulent narratives with very little risk.

Perversely, actual malice gives public figures cover. Let’s say I’m a Senator and Fox News says I molest collies. Under the Sullivan standard, I know I’m a public figure so I simply go pubic, say I do know some collies and they’re wonderful dogs and there’s no way I’d ever do something like that. Fox News says I’m lying. CNN and the NYT defend me. If someone suggests I sue Fox News, I say that as a public figure, it’s way too hard to prove actual malice so it’s not worth the effort.

But without Sullivan, when Fox News says I molest collies and I claim I don’t, I can sue Fox News. In fact, if I don’t sue Fox News for libel, it calls into question whether I do indeed molest collies.

For the record and unlike Judge Smails, I do not recall ever molesting a collie.