Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is considering leveling a libel lawsuit against the New York Times after the paper ran an editorial associating her with the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.). The piece, entitled America’s Lethal Politics, addressed the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and was published by the New York Times editorial board, stating:
Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Liberals should of course be held to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.
However, at another point in the article, the Times may have overstepped the line when they directly linked Palin to the Giffords assassination attempt. The paper noted that Palin’s political action committee “circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords under crosshairs.” A number of journalists swiftly condemned the article including the National Review’s David French, who called the Times’ piece “cruel, vicious, and — above all — dishonest […] it may even be libelous, a term I choose carefully.”
The Times added a correction to their article on Thursday, reading, “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.”
But Palin might not let this issue go that easily. On Thursday morning, she wrote on Twitter “am talking to attorneys this AM and exploring options.”
Libel convictions are generally hard to come by. Palin will have to prove that the New York Times purposefully defamed her, but they’re also not impossible. On Tuesday, Rolling Stone magazine agreed to pay $1.65 million to a University of Virginia fraternity to settle a defamation lawsuit stemming from a 2014 article in which a writer described a number of sexual assaults that were later proven to be almost entirely fictitious.