Tags: sarah palin | new york times | gabby giffords | steve scalise

Sarah Palin's New York Times Lawsuit a Litmus Test

Image: Sarah Palin's New York Times Lawsuit a Litmus Test
Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican Party nominee for Vice President Sarah Palin speaks at the 2016 Western Conservative Summit at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2016, in Denver, Colorado. (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

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Wednesday, 05 Jul 2017 11:38 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Former GOP vice presidential candidate and political personality Sarah Palin has taken umbrage with the staff at The New York Times, according to a lawsuit filed recently.

According to Palin, the editorial in question "falsely portrays" her as responsible for inciting the 2011 shooting that severely wounded Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords.

The suit requests more than $75,000 in damages. Palin’s attorneys were quick with a quote for the media, when asked about the case: "Today, Sarah Palin took a stand against The New York Times Company by filing a lawsuit which seeks to hold The Times accountable for stating that Governor Palin is part of a 'sickeningly familiar pattern' of politically motivated violence and that she incited the horrific 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords…"

The article in question, which followed the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, said Palin was guilty of "political incitement" prior to the 2011 Giffords shooting. So… isn’t that free press and freedom of expression? Palin is certainly a public figure. But … Here’s the rub: in the article, Palin's political action committee placed "Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized crosshairs." But the accusation was inaccurate. The Times issued a correction the following day, explicitly saying the map "depicted electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers, beneath stylized crosshairs" and that "no link was established" between the graphic and the shooting.

Comments by a Times employee added that the mistake didn’t "weaken the argument of the piece."

In other words, sure, we made a mistake, but…maybe not really too much of one.

As you may imagine, Palin and her attorneys feel otherwise. The suit claims the Times’ "conduct was committed knowingly, intentionally, willfully, wantonly, and maliciously, with the intent to harm Mrs. Palin, or in blatant disregard of the substantial likelihood of causing her harm, thereby entitling Mrs. Palin to an award of punitive damages…" The Times is certain to defend its position in this case, but in this case, the court of public opinion will also play a role. Palin, of course, has a built-in fan base. There are just as many folks who feel the opposite about her that nothing she says holds water in their world. The people in the middle are who will determine which side gets the most social or consumer pressure from this case.

Likely, most publications will side with the Times, but that may not matter. Regardless of the facts, this case could be a real litmus test to how much power the press still has, as well as how much it has lost.

Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent PR Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.

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Former GOP vice presidential candidate and political personality Sarah Palin has taken umbrage with the staff at The New York Times, according to a lawsuit filed recently.
sarah palin, new york times, gabby giffords, steve scalise
498
2017-38-05
Wednesday, 05 Jul 2017 11:38 AM
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