A New York Times editorial piece published in the wake of the attempted assassination of Republican House Whip Steve Scalise by a left-wing terrorist outside of Washington DC has landed the left-leaning daily in hot water, with a high profile lawsuit against the paper for defamation.
Republican 2008 vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin filed a lawsuit against the New York Times on Tuesday over a June 14th editorial piece which linked Mrs. Palin to a 2011 mass-shooting by a deranged gunman in Tucson, Arizona.
The shooting, which left six dead and 13 wounded including Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, was perpetrated by Jared Lee Loughner, a college drop-out suffering from schizophrenia.
Yet the Times article, titled “America’s Lethal Politics”, explicitly linked rhetoric and an election ad by a Palin-aligned political action committee to the shooting despite the fact that claims of a partisan motive were dismissed within days of the incident.
The NYT piece also misrepresented the PAC’s advertisement. The pro-Palin PAC’s ad showed seats in swing districts targeted with crosshairs, but the original Times piece claimed the crosshairs had been placed over pictures of Democratic members of congress, including Giffords.
After a backlash against the editorial, the Times admitted that “No link was ever established” tying the Palin PAC or rhetoric by Palin or other Republicans to the shooting and issued a correction to the piece.
Attorneys representing Palin say the paper’s linking of the former governor to the shooting was illegal and harmed their client.
“The Times used its false assertion about Mrs. Palin as an artifice to exploit the shooting,” the lawsuit filing reads.
“The Times published and promoted its Editorial Board’s column despite knowing … the false assertion that Mrs. Palin incited Loughner to murder six people.”
“In doing so, the Times violated the law and its own policies.”
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