‘This is—and has always been—a case about media accountability’
By Carolyn Schurr Levin
You may be tired of reading about Sarah Palin and her potentially “groundbreaking” libel case against The New York Times. However, so much has happened since our 2019 analysis of her case that I thought it was time for an update. I will focus on how the recent 2022 court resolution of this 2017 libel lawsuit impacts what student journalists do, and how best for campus media advisers to advise them.
First, a bit of background. On June 14, 2017, The New York Times published an editorial entitled “America’s Lethal Politics,” which stated that there was a connection between a 2010 advertisement by Palin’s political action committee and the 2011 Arizona mass shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Arizona, and others. The byline for the editorial was “By The Editorial Board.”
The New York Times changed the language of the editorial and published a correction two days later, on June 16, 2017, after readers noted there was no connection between the Palin advertisement and the Giffords shooting. The correction read, in full: “An editorial on Thursday about the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established. The editorial also incorrectly described a map distributed by a political action committee before that shooting. It depicted electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers, beneath stylized cross hairs.” But, The New York Times did not apologize to Palin. Continue reading “Legal analysis: Why Sarah Palin (still) matters for student journalists”