Did Sarah Palin Slip Up in Testimony Against Times?

One part of her testimony prompted a legal sidebar
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2022 10:54 AM CST
Did Sarah Palin Slip Up in Testimony Against Times ?
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin arrives at federal court with former NHL hockey player Ron Duguay in New York on Friday.   (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)

Sarah Palin is in a Manhattan courtroom this week testifying in her libel suit against the New York Times, and one line in particular from Thursday caught the attention of observers who think she hurt her case. (Granted, these are observers from the mainstream media, which the former Alaska governor says is biased against her.) Details:

  • The lawsuit: All of this stems from a Times editorial that baselessly accused Palin of inciting violence that led to the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011. The Times admitted the editorial was wrong and ran two corrections, though Palin says it irreparably hurt her reputation.
  • Testimony: Asked about her reaction to the 2017 editorial, Palin said she was upset the newspaper had lied about the incident "again." It's the word "again" that caused a fuss in the courtroom, writes Erik Wemple of the Washington Post. The lawsuit is about a specific editorial, one instance of alleged libel, not a pattern. But Palin suggested otherwise.

  • Elaborating: "What did you mean by 'again'?" asked Judge Jed S. Rakoff. "They lied before," said Palin. "About this?" Rakoff asked. "My view was the New York Times took a lot of liberties and wasn't always truthful," she said. "That's what I meant by 'again.'" She later added, "I don't have the specific articles ... in front of me."
  • Mistake? At Slate, Seth Stevenson writes about this under the headline "the moment Sarah Palin's testimony fell apart." Palin was doing impressively on the stand before this, he writes, but the "again" comment triggered a sidebar of the judge and lawyers on whether it should be stricken from the record. "When they returned, everybody just moved on, with no mention of the previous flub. But the spell had been broken." Wemple also sees it as a misstep: "Adoring audiences at Fox News don't stop and ask for citations, specifics, supporting evidence. But that's precisely what happens in a courtroom."
  • Ending soon: The above isn't the only criticism of Palin. At NPR, media writer David Folkenflik has found her to be a "a less-than-commanding witness" on cross-examination in regard to how the editorial was damaging to her. We'll know soon whether the critics are right: Closing arguments were set for Friday, per the AP.
(More Sarah Palin stories.)

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