Sarah Palin should have known better than to sue The New York Times over an editorial she considered libelous. It was a Times case in 1964 that established current libel law.
The Supreme Court established the actual malice standard that year.
In 2017, it came back to bite Palin, the former Alaska governor.
As the BBC reported: “A federal judge has dismissed former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s defamation case against the New York Times newspaper. Mrs. Palin had sued the Times after it published an editorial, which she claimed linked her to the 2011 shooting of 19 people. The newspaper had previously apologised and corrected the article within a day.”
Wrote Manhattan Judge Jed Rakoff: “What we have here is an editorial, written and rewritten rapidly in order to voice an opinion on an immediate event of importance, in which are included a few factual inaccuracies somewhat pertaining to Mrs. Palin that are very rapidly corrected.
“Negligence this may be; but defamation of a public figure it plainly is not.”
A spokeswoman for The Times said: “Judge Rakoff’s opinion is an important reminder of the country’s deep commitment to a free press and the important role that journalism plays in our democracy. We regret the errors we made in the editorial. But we were pleased to see that the court acknowledged the importance of the prompt correction we made once we learned of the mistakes.”
CNN explained: “In the editorial, which was published online the day of the shooting at a congressional baseball practice this June, the editorial board suggested that Jared Lee Loughner, the man who carried out the Tucson massacre, was incited by a map from Palin’s PAC’s ad, which placed crosshairs over the congressional districts of several Democratic lawmakers, including Giffords’.
“There is, in fact, no evidence that Loughner even saw the map, much less that he was motivated by it. The Times issued a correction the next day, but Palin filed her suit two weeks later.”