The New York Times Excuse for Smear of Sarah Palin Doesn't Pass the Sniff Test

On June 14 of this year, the New York Times published an editorial entitled, ‘America’s Lethal Politics,’ on the day James Hodgkinson, a left-wing Democrat and Bernie Sanders supporter, shot Congressman Steve Scalise and three others at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.


In the editorial, they repeated a long-debunked lie about Sarah Palin and her “connection” to the Tuscon, Arizona shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords and the killing of six others in 2011. They wrote:

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.

They also wrote this:

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 New York Times said a direct link between Sarah Palin and the Giffords shooting existed. The accusation is a flat out lie. Jared Loughner, a man with schizophrenia, stalked Giffords after she refused to answer an odd question he asked her at a previous town hall meeting. The shooting had nothing at all to do with politics, and everybody knows this and has since 2011.


After a tidal wave of criticism, the New York Times removed the language from the editorial, admitting no connection between Palin and the Loughner shooting existed.

Sarah Palin justifiably filed a defamation lawsuit against them. Now they’re offering up this laughably pathetic defense:

Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against The New York Times should be tossed because the paper made “an honest mistake” when it said she incited a 2011 shooting that severely wounded Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and killed six people, a lawyer for the Gray Lady said on Friday.

“There was an honest mistake in posting the editorial,” lawyer David Schultz told Manhattan federal Judge Jed Rakoff.

An honest mistake? How is it that The New York Times, the “newspaper of record,” didn’t read their own stories to know there wasn’t a link to Palin? They published enough stories about it. Of course, in their rush to get the “other side did it too” narrative on the editorial page the same day of Scalise’s shooting, they had no time to go through their clip files. If they did, they’d have found the following:


Suspect in Shooting of Giffords Ruled Unfit for Trial

Tucson Shooting Suspect to Have More Treatment

Before Attack, Parents of Gunman Tried to Address Son’s Strange Behavior

There was no honest mistake. The actions of the New York Times was either deliberate and reckless or at the least, profoundly careless and sloppy.

It would be inexcusable for the judge to throw out the case based on the Times’ flimsy excuse.


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