Former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin filed suit against the New York Times Company on Tuesday, alleging defamation following a June 14 Times editorial that the paper later said incorrectly tied political violence to incitement.
Specifically, Palin alleged that the Times knowingly linked one of her political advertisements — which showed rifle crosshairs hovering over certain Democratically controlled congressional districts — to the 2011 shooting at an event held by one representative under a crosshair, Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ).
After a shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice on June 14, which left Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) in critical condition, a Times editorial asserted that, in the case of the Giffords shooting, “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,” it added.
Later, corrected versions of the editorial noted that “no such link was established” between political incitement and the Giffords shooting, and included several other changes.
“The Times published and promoted its Editorial Board’s column despite knowing that the linchpin of its ‘sickening pattern’ of politically-incited shootings was the false assertion that Mrs. Palin incited Loughner to murder six people, among them a child and a federal judge, and seriously wound numerous others,” the lawsuit alleged. “In doing so, The Times violated the law and its own policies.”
In a statement quoted by the Times Tuesday, a spokesperson for the paper said: “We have not reviewed the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously.”