Free Speech and Defamation: Why the Sarah Palin v. New York Times trial will be an ‘excruciating experience’ for the paper

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Sarah Palin

CNN

Analysis by Oliver Darcy, CNN Business

Updated 6:18 AM ET, Sun January 23, 2022

The next two weeks will not be very enjoyable for The New York Times.

Monday marks the start of jury selection for a trial over Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the newspaper. A quick recap: Palin sued the paper in 2017 over an editorial that incorrectly linked the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords to a map circulated by Palin’s PAC that showed certain electoral districts under crosshairs. The Times corrected the error and apologized for it, and a judge initially dismissed the case. But a federal appeals court revived it and, as a result, a trial will now take place.

The case is, at its heart, about the limits of First Amendment protections and the standard set in the landmark New York Times vs. Sullivan case. Specifically, the standard that a public figure must prove an outlet operated with “actual malice” when it published defamatory information. Palin has argued The Times did, and The Times has said it made an honest error.

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Categories: Free Speech

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