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Friday, August 11, 2017

Palin wins a battle in her war with the New York Times

The headline in the New York Times read:
New York Times Editorial Writer Must Testify in Sarah Palin Lawsuit
What did I tell you? "She has a case and she and her lawyers can have a field day in discovery and deposition."

I'm not alone is recognizing how devastating her lawsuit is. She has good lawyers (the team that destroyed Gawker Media), a good case, and all the time in the world.

Lawyer John Hinderaker at Power Line is boasting about his prescience in the case.

He knows the law.

I know editorial writing. Did it for 27 years. The writer decided to deflect the very serious political assassination attempt on a group of Republican congressmen by a Democratic Party activist -- one of the many resistance marchers that have hung around Washington since the inauguration.

So the writer tried moral equivalence -- repeating a provable lie about Sarah Palin that was debunked six years ago.

Palin read the editorial. She lawyered up. She sued.

She has an excellent case. The editorial was false and harmful. As for malice, the New York Times drips with malice toward Palin because she is a woman who opposes abortion on demand.

Less than two months later, the libelous editorial writer has to testify under oath.

From the New York Times:
The author of a New York Times editorial will have to testify under oath in a defamation lawsuit filed by the former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.
The Times filed a motion last month seeking to dismiss the case, and the judge, Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, said the testimony was necessary to help him determine whether to grant that motion. Mr. Rakoff set the hearing for Aug. 16. Mr. Rakoff said last month that he would rule by the end of this month on the motion to dismiss the case.
A spokeswoman for The Times said in a statement that the news organization would provide the testimony the judge had ordered. David McCraw, deputy general counsel for The Times, said the witness would be James Bennet, The Times’s editorial page editor.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in June, Ms. Palin contends that The Times “violated the law and its own policies” when it linked her in an editorial to a mass shooting in January 2011. The editorial was published online on June 14, the same day that a gunman opened fire at a baseball field where Republican congressmen were practicing, injuring several people including Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
The Times later published a correction and issued an apology on Twitter.
Ms. Palin said in the lawsuit that the editorial conflicted with other articles The Times had published about Ms. Palin’s political activities and the 2011 mass shooting by Jared Loughner in Arizona. It cited several articles in The Times that dismissed the notion that there was any link between Ms. Palin, political rhetoric and the rampage.
“The Times had ample facts available that established that there was no connection between Mrs. Palin and Loughner’s crime,” Ms. Palin said in the lawsuit.
I really do not see how the Times can defend against this suit. She definitely will not settle for anything less than what she demands in the suit.

Now over at Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds linked the Hinderaker piece -- and offered a quip: "TO BE FAIR, WHO REALLY BLAMES THEM? You Heard It Here First: NY Times Editors Deny Reading Their Own Newspaper. I mean, if they want to know what’s going on they can always read InstaPundit."

But Hinderaker got a bigger dig in:
One last observation: it may be shocking that members of the Times editorial board don’t read their own newspaper, but I can guarantee that very few Times reporters read the paper’s editorials–the most boring, predictable, ill-informed left-wing screeds in print. If their current ploy fails, the Times may try a second line of defense: Ms. Palin shouldn’t be awarded much in damages, since hardly anyone reads their lame editorials.
Libel is a tort.

Just as we would expect any other company that ruined your life to make amends, so we should expect news organizations to pay for the damage they cause.

News organizations have enjoyed special protection from product liability -- libel -- suits for the past 50 years, since Sullivan vs. the New York Times (it concerned an ad and the newspaper was not sued for libel, but rather the people who took out the ad).

Invulnerability is powerful. And power corrupts. And the Times abused its power for so long that the courts must rein that power in.

I think the U.S. Supreme Court may eventually be asked to review Palin vs. the New York Times.

There is a big difference between holding a public official accountable, and hounding her relentlessly with a reckless disregard for the truth.


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  1. ...the New York Times drips with malice toward Palin because she is a woman who opposes abortion on demand.

    It's not just that she opposes abortion on demand; it's also because she dared to have a Downs baby and call him a blessing.

    1. And more than one child (OH! The Eco-system!!)

  2. Don: just discovered your blog and I like your moxie. I've been thinking that the james damore/google incident is a sting operation that is just getting started. what do you think?

  3. Michelle Malkin says the times will have to prove their editors don't read the paper. So, they will change their current motto of “The Truth is More Important Now Than Ever” to the Sgt Shultz line "I know nothing."

  4. Go get them Sarah! They deserve it.

  5. I wonder what she will do with the building.

  6. Carlos Slim's wallet gonna get slimmer, I do believe. Couldn't happen to a bunch of nicer guys.

  7. If Hulk Hogan can win 100 million dollars in the GAWKER lawsuit, I hope Sara Palin can double this. I despise the NEW YORK TIMES and the Democrat Party. They are trying to take our freedom away, make no mistake.

  8. You need to read Hinderacker's comments on the legal issues carefully. An evidentiary hearing is not the same as "discovery." Discovery, in which Palin's lawyers could gain access to the emails of the editorial staff, would almost certainly prove malice by the NYT. However, without such access the hearing makes for no slam dunk case for Palin's lawyers, who will have to prove the NYT editors DID know about the reporting on the news side of the paper. The hearing could well be the prelude to a dismissal of the case by the judge.

    1. Yes, different matter. They have sought all communiques about her since 2011 in discovery.

      As for whether they knew or not, I would say it does not matter. You are supposed to know.

    2. It will matter to the judge, who will likely want to see proof the editors DID know. That they should have known will not count. That they DID know but that it cannot be proved during the hearing, will matter.

  9. Having had some experience with the courts in NY I would say that the judge in this case is under Many forms of private pressure to dismiss the case, so is doing this so as to appear he was "fair minded" if he does dismiss. Naturally I hope I'm wrong. Palin deserves redress big time.
    Also Hinderaker is right about NYT editorials. Even Karl Marx who earned a PhD in a language not his own would be embarrassed to consider someone his defender writing with such an orthodox Stalinist poverty of thought and expression. Don's were much better, fun to read, and non Marxian too.

    1. As one person commented on Instapundit yesterday, the judge in this case may be trying to build a record of the legal proceedings that favors the NYT upon appeal once he dismisses the case. In other words, it's a show hearing that will not only end with a dismissal in his court but will also diminish the success of any appeal of his ruling by Palin's lawyers.

    2. This would be typical of NY where Friendship and gratitude are more powerful than anything.

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