June 28, 2017

So The Quitter with a Twitter™ is going to sue the NYT — and surely lose


Sarah Palin has either reached a new level of moral stupitude (riffing off moral turpitude) or else she's that badly addicted to one more hit on the crack pipe of her Warholian 15 minutes of fame.

She's suing the New York Times. But, not over a news story. Over an editorial.

The Daily Caller, the highbrow turd-polisher for the RWNJs who drink tea party tea without their pinky on the cup, has the details.

First of all, it's "interesting" that Peter Hasson, the writer for the Daily Hackster who breathlessly reports this, doesn't link to the actual editorial.

The NYT story on the suit also doesn't link to the editorial. It does note it's been corrected.

And here is that editorial, edited, but without the original text shown, though the general nature of the edits is shown.

Fortunately, the Wayback Machine has the original version. And so I start analyzing, looking at the general gist of the original, and the edits.

Why's she going to lose?

First, Sullivan, in a case involving this very same newspaper. And, Palin is a public person. That's regardless of whether the Times edited the original editorial or not.

Second, the issue of whether Gabby Giffords and 18 other Members of Congress, or their districts instead, were targets, is itself a matter of opinion. It's also true no connection was established, and that Jared Loughner was already mentally ill. But, "absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence."

Frankly, unless the NYT has squeamish lawyers, while I would have made the second correction, about no connection established, I'm not sure I would have made the first.

Third, the Times edited the editorial before the suit was filed. That may, but not for sure, give it an extra cushion.

Fourth, in general, courts have recognized that editorials, as matters of opinion, have an even higher bar of protection in general, whether with public figures or not, versus libel suits.

Proof that comes from here in Texas, when then Fort Worth city councilwoman, later state senator, then gubernatorial candidate, Wendy Davis sued the Star-Telegram. She got her head handed to her on a legal platter, and as a lawyer herself, definitely should have known better.

It's noteworthy that the Times wrote an editorial just a few years ago on the 50th anniversary of Sullivan. We shall see if our courts stand by it.

I'm guessing Palin is hoping that newspapers, having less deep pockets than in the past, might cave for that reason alone.

On the other hand, Carlos Slim is one of the world's richest people, and he might relish a fight back even more than Punch Sulzberger.

Finally, the DC Caller writer probably has a good idea of what "smearing" is based on his own style, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, National Review, in its turd-polishing, seemingly falsely claims James Hodgkinson was Democrat down the line. No, reportedly he loved some Ted Cruz at one time.

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