US & Canada

Sarah Palin's defamation case against New York Times thrown out

Former Governor Sarah Palin speaks during the 'Climate Hustle' panel discussion at the Rayburn House Office Building on April 14, 2016 in Washington, DC Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mrs Palin ran as a vice-presidential candidate in the 2008 election

A federal judge has dismissed former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's defamation case against the New York Times newspaper.

Mrs Palin had sued the Times after it published an editorial, which she claimed linked her to the 2011 shooting of 19 people.

The newspaper had previously apologised and corrected the article within a day.

"Negligence this may be; but defamation of a public figure it plainly is not," Judge Jed Rakoff wrote in his decision.

The editorial in question was published earlier this year, after a gunman opened fire on Republican congressmen during baseball practice Washington DC.

The Times editorial, in discussing links between violence and "heated political rhetoric" cited a map published by Sarah Palin's political action committee, which it said featured crosshairs "targeting" 20 Democrat politicians.

Those included Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously injured in the 2011 shooting.

But the newspaper later clarified those crosshairs were centred on electoral districts, not photos of individual people, and issued a correction saying there was no established link between the committee's published material and the violence.

Judge Rakoff said that while an error had been made, Mrs Palin had failed to prove the mistake was made maliciously - a hurdle which public figures must overcome in US defamation law.

Instead, he said, the editorial "included a few factual inaccuracies somewhat pertaining to Mrs Palin that [were] very rapidly corrected".

In the New York Times' own coverage of the case, a spokeswoman for the paper said the ruling was "an important reminder of the country's deep commitment to a free press and the important role that journalism plays in our democracy".

Mrs Palin made no immediate comment.

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