Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wants to know what the reporters and editors of The New York Times have been saying about her.
Palin is suing The Times for defamation over a June 14 editorial that linked Palin to the 2011 shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz.
Court documents obtained by the New York Post said that The Times is objecting to a Palin’s plan to subpoena “23 non-party current and former Times reporters, editors and other employees — most of whom had nothing to do with the editorial issue.”
Palin’s lawyers also want The Times to give her “every internal communication it has had about her since 2011,” to obtain “documents that might reveal, among other things, their ‘negative feelings’ toward her,” lawyers for the newspaper told a judge last week.
“We raised our concern about the subpoenas in a section of the brief that quotes Judge Robert Bork as saying ‘a freshening stream of libel actions, which often seem as much designed to punish writers and publications as to recover damages for real injuries, may threaten the public and constitutional interest in free, and frequently rough, discussion,’” a spokesperson for The Times told Fox News.
“We are confident that the First Amendment protects publishers in these circumstances, and we intend to defend the action vigorously,” the spokesperson added.
The editorial in question, headlined “America’s Lethal Politics,” was published the day House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot at a Republican baseball practice.
“The Times used its false assertion about Mrs. Palin as an artifice to exploit the (Scalise) shooting,” the lawsuit read.
The editorial linked Palin’s fiery commentary to the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting by Jared Loughner that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords.
It also said that Palin’s political action committee put Giffords in its cross hairs.
“Before the shooting,” the since-corrected editorial read, “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.”
No link was ever proven between Palin and the shooting. The Times later corrected its reference to “cross hairs,” noting that the map targeted “electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers.”
Palin’s lawsuit said The Times knew what it was printing was wrong but published it anyhow.
“The Times published and promoted its Editorial Board’s column despite knowing … the false assertion that Mrs. Palin incited Loughner to murder six people,” the suit said. “In doing so, the Times violated the law and its own policies.”
It also said The Times should have done more when it was called out on its mistake.
“Given that the entire premise of the Palin Article was the ‘disturbing pattern’ of politically incited violence emanating from a non-existent link between Mrs. Palin and Loughner’s 2011 crime, which the Times conceded did not exist, the entire Palin Article should have been retracted — not minimally and inadequately corrected — and the Times should have apologized to Mrs. Palin,” the suit said.
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