Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told a jury Thursday she felt like she was at the mercy of a “Goliath” when she first learned that a New York Times editorial suggested her campaign rhetoric helped incite a mass shooting.
Palin sued the Times for unspecified damages in 2017, alleging the newspaper had “damaged her career” as a “political commentator and consultant” with the 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.
During her second day on the witness stand, Palin accused the Times of “deliberately fabricating lies” that hurt her reputation, which is the basis of her lawsuit accusing the newspaper of libel that has resulted in a trial in federal court in Manhattan. “It was devastating to read a false accusation that I had anything to do with murder,” Palin said. “I felt powerless – that I was up against Goliath. The people were David. I was David.”
Opposing Counsel in the New York Times suit to ambush Sarah Palin on the stand with surprise questions from Katie Couric. pic.twitter.com/pZ7wqoQmJI
— Allen Weisselberger (@weisselbergers) February 9, 2022
Palin has often spread conspiracy theories and right-wing falsehoods on her social media accounts, including misinformation about the coronavirus. While in New York City for her trial, Palin has been excoriated by locals, including the Mayor, for continuing to dine out in public after being diagnosed with COVID19.
Sarah Palin sounds absolutely normal pic.twitter.com/nqaTm441bn 02
— Tomthunkit™ (@TomthunkitsMind) February 10, 2022
“When you know lies are told about you … that causes some stress. Hard to get a good night’s sleep,” Palin said on the stand.
Whenever I see Sarah Palin trending, I'm immediately reminded of this video of her talking about Paul Revere! pic.twitter.com/j8Y6R6d0Z9
— Mr. Naturalism (@MNaturalism) February 9, 2022
In a correction two days after the editorial was published, 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.
Sarah Palin’s defamation trial against The New York Times began on Feb. 3. Palin is suing the Times over a 2017 editorial that incorrectly linked her political rhetoric to a 2011 Arizona mass shooting which the newspaper later corrected https://t.co/6EK0ptXfGe pic.twitter.com/ypKr37fLgtSee Also
— Reuters Legal (@ReutersLegal) February 4, 2022
The jury will have to decide whether former editorial page editor James Bennet acted with “actual malice,” meaning he knew what he wrote was false, or with “reckless disregard” for the truth when he inserted the disputed wording into the piece.
I’m a weird ending to Sarah Palin’s first trial day…Palin and her attorney got the typical NYC experience of searching for their Uber driver (plus the less typical experience of being mobbed by a scrum of reporters) pic.twitter.com/oj1PCxS2qM
— Frank G. Runyeon (@frankrunyeon) February 3, 2022
Bennet testified Wednesday and said that he botched the edit but meant no harm. “I’ve regretted it pretty much every day since,” Bennet said.