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Palin calls New York Times “Goliath” in libel dispute – The Journal

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Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin compared The New York Times to ‘Goliath’ and herself to ‘David’ in their dispute over a 2017 op-ed

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told a jury Thursday that she felt at the mercy of a “Goliath” when she first learned that a 2017 New York Times editorial suggested his campaign rhetoric helped incite a mass shooting.

Palin used her second day on the witness stand to accuse the Times of deliberately fabricating lies that damage her reputation – the basis of a lawsuit accusing the newspaper of defamation that culminated in a trial in federal court in Manhattan.

“It was devastating to read a false accusation that I had anything to do with a murder,” Palin said. “I felt helpless – that I was against Goliath. The people were David. I was David.

She added: “When you know lies are being told about you… it causes some stress. It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep. »

Palin sued The Times for unspecified damages in 2017, about a decade after bursting onto the national scene as a Republican vice-presidential candidate. She alleged that the newspaper had harmed her career as a political commentator and consultant with the gun control editorial published after US Representative Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, was injured when a man with history of anti-GOP activity opened fire on a congressman. baseball team practice in Washington.

In the editorial, the Times wrote that prior to the 2011 mass shooting in Arizona that critically injured former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords and killed six others, Palin’s political action committee had contributed to a atmosphere of violence by circulating a map of electoral districts that put Giffords and 19 other Democrats under a stylized crosshair.

On Thursday, Palin said her view was as follows: “The New York Times, the alpha and omega, the loud voice in the media, had…taken a knee-jerk reaction and tried to score political points, trying to politicize horrible violence. ”

In a correction two days after the op-ed was published, the Times said the op-ed had “incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting” and that it had “incorrectly described” the card.

The jury will have to decide whether former editorial page editor James Bennet acted with ‘actual malice’, meaning he knew what he was writing was untrue, or with ‘reckless disregard’ for the truth when he inserted the disputed wording into the article.

A contrite Bennet testified on Wednesday that he botched the edit – “I’ve regretted it pretty much every day since” – but meant no harm.

Lawyers for the Times argued that Palin’s brand was not harmed by the episode, pointing out that she still appears on Fox News, is hired for speaking engagements, and sometimes has paid gigs on TV shows like ” The Masked Singer”.

Asked about the show during cross-examination on Thursday, she said, “It was the funniest 90 seconds of my life.”

Palin, 57, admitted she never asked The Times for a correction, retraction or apology before filing the complaint. She said she didn’t care because “it was common sense. They knew they had printed a lie.

Shortly after Palin’s testimony ended, both sides rested. Closing arguments have been set for Friday.

FILE – Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin reacts to a reporter’s question as she leaves federal court on February 4, 2022 in New York City. Palin took the witness stand on Wednesday in her libel suit against The New York Times, giving the jury folksy insight into her family life in Alaska and her rise in Republican politics. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)