In the wake of the shooting in which Bernie Sanders supporter James T. Hodgkinson targeted Republicans as they practiced for their Congressional baseball game, the New York Times published an editorial on Wednesday which falsely accused former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin of inciting Jared Lee Loughner to shoot Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011, despite the fact that there was never any evidence whatsoever linking Palin to the attempted assassination.
After a journalist suggested to her on Thursday that the Times “has fulfilled the two criteria for libeling a public figure. The newspaper has committed a reckless disregard for the truth… and malice,” Palin is considering launching a law suit against the Times for libel.
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) June 15, 2017
Palin said she is “talking to attorneys this AM and exploring options.”
Palin further noted:
“With this sickening NYT’s editorial, the media is doing exactly what I said yesterday should not be done. Despite commenting as graciously as I could on media coverage of yesterday’s shooting, alas, today a perversely biased media’s knee-jerk blame game is attempting to destroy innocent people with lies and more fake news. As I said yesterday, I’d hoped the media had collectively matured since the last attack on a Representative when media coverage spewed blatant lies about who was to blame. There’s been no improvement. The NYT has gotten worse.”
Hours after Giffords was shot on January 8, 2011, outlets including CNN immediately implicated Palin, but it was soon established that the murderer did not have any political leanings whatsoever. He did speak to Giffords at a town hall event years before and may have been upset that she brushed off his question with a non-answer.
However, it was definitively established by officials that Loughner was “in no way influenced by Tea Partiers, conservative media, or Palin.”
At the time, Zach Osler, a friend of Loughner’s, told ABC, “He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right.”
Originally, the Times article, “America’s Lethal Politics,” had stated:
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.
After experiencing scathing backlash for publishing such outrageous claims that even mainstream media journalists called for them to issue a correction, the Times finally issued an online correction on Thursday morning, stating, “An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.”
Now, the article reads:
Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, 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. At the time, we and others were sharply critical of the heated political rhetoric on the right. 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. But in that case no connection to the shooting was ever established.
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