Federal judge dismisses Palin libel suit against NYT

Federal judge Jed Rakoff has dismissed Sarah Palin’s libel suit over an unfair and inaccurate swipe at her in a New York Times editorial [Eriq Gardner/Hollywood Reporter, Tim Cushing/TechDirt, Jacob Sullum/Reason, Tom Rogan/Washington Examiner]

We are rightly proud of the broad sweep of First Amendment protection our constitutional law gives to wide-open discussion about public figures, even when, as in the Times’s reference to Palin, it results in commentary that the Times itself recognized within a day was grossly off base and retracted. If the New York Times expects professional respect, however, it needs to hold itself to standards higher than the ideological schlock merchants of both sides, which would mean not printing such things in the first place.

Maybe the best outcome in the case would be if the Times paid $0 damages, but the editor who wrote the false words resigned in shame.


  • If a Times editor doesn’t bother to read his paper, why should I?

  • Resigned in shame? HAHAHA.
    The editor will be toasted at every cocktail party in Manhattan for the rest of his natural life, for really sticking it to that Palin woman.
    Of course, when the readership of the NYT is down to a couple elderly grandees, maybe there will be no need for this editor.

  • Not resign in shame, rather “Apologize to the Emperor Governor”

  • The opinion dismissing Palin’s lawsuit didn’t well address (a) Bennet’s statements, under oath, that he didn’t really mean to say that there was a link (which is relevant to the plausibility analysis–i.e., if Bennet denies the plain meaning of what he wrote in testimony, then his credibility is less than stellar) and (b) the idea that information asymmetry should push towards discovery.

    I think ultimately, Judge Rakoff probably got the facts right–Bennet swallowed a meme and penned it without conscious awareness that it was false–but Bennet’s testimony that he didn’t mean what he plainly said is at odds with Rakoff’s conclusions, and that’s not how things are supposed to work in the pleading stages.

  • It was not “commentary.”

    • So what. What’s that got to do with anything?