Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube

More: InnerCityPro
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On Palin Judge Rakoff Said Jury Could Find Malice by NYT Which Now Cites Anti SLAPP

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Aug 28 –   In the ongoing case of Sarah Palin versus New York Times and James Bennet, on July 24 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff held oral arguments. Inner City Press live tweeted them, below.

 On August 28, Judge Rakoff issued an order denying summary judgment and finding, inter alia, that "there "there is sufficient evidence to allow a rational finder of fact to find actual malice [by NYT / Bennet] by clear & convincing evidence." So, trial Feb 1, 2020. Inner City Press will cover it - having previously reported Judge Rakoff jokingly perhaps offering that time slot to a criminal case and saying, Ms. Palin may just have to wait.

Now on November 25, the day before Thanksgiving, the NYT and Bennet have filed notice of motion to seek reconsideration in light of NYS' after-arising anti-SLAPP law: "Defendants The New York Times Company and James Bennet will file a motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 54(b), requesting that the Court modify its earlier Opinion and Order, Dkt. 117, and rule that, pursuant to the recently amended Anti-SLAPP statute, New York state law requires that Plaintiff establish actual malice by clear and convincing evidence. Defendants’ moving papers (up to 5 pages) are due on November 30, 2020, Plaintiff’s answering papers (up to 5 pages) are due on December 7, 2020, and Defendants’ reply papers (up to 2 pages) are due on December 9, 2020. The Court will inform the parties if it decides to hear oral argument on the motion." Watch this site.

In July, NYT lawyer, Jay Brown of Ballard, says Bennet - since ousted or resigned - is able to bring this motion. Judge Rakoff: I was not persuaded by plaintiff's argument on that. NYT lawyer: This is Palin's contention that a jury might disbelieve Mr Bennet's testimony

 NYT: There's no need for the court to make credibility determinations. There's no dispute of material fact. Let me turn to the merits. Did Bennet act with actual malice when he wrote the sentences? Did he accuse her of inciting shooting? We say no, not with malice

 NYT: Bennet was unaware that his words would be interpreted that way. Judge Rakoff: Isn't it partly a function of what a reasonable jury could infer where the language is essentially unambiguous, like if the Defendant  said, "Mr Jones is a cold blooded murderer"

 Judge Rakoff: .. the jury could draw an inference. NYT: The defamatory statement can't be considered in isolation. "Under NYT v. Sullivan, the statement must be judged entire based on what the publisher intended it to mean."

 Judge Rakoff: But I'm to follow case law, and not treatises, no? Let me go back to my rather over-simple hypo. Supposing the defendant at his deposition, When I said Jones was a cold blooded murderer, I didn't mean that literally, I just meant he's nasty

 Judge Rakoff: Cannot a jury say, That's preposterous. The words were so without qualification we don't believe you didn't mean it literally? Can't that be part of the mix?

NYT: The language of the publication is part of the mix -- [then NYT lawyer is cut off]

 Judge Rakoff [after NYT lawyer is cut off]: I interpret that to mean he thought his rhetoric was so electric...

 NYT is back: Elizabeth Williamson prepared a draft of the editorial... In her draft, she said, "Just as in 2011, the rage in Virginia was nurtured," etc. Mr. Bennet removed the Virginia reference, there, but kept in "link to political incitement was clear."

NYT lawyer: Let's consider the 5:08 am email by Bennet: "I don't know what the truth is here... We may have relied too much on our own earlier editorials."

Judge Rakoff: Plaintiff says Bennet committed at his deposition that he had read a report in The Atlantic   Judge Rakoff: Why couldn't a jury infer that he had read it, and knew what he wrote was false, but after criticism was trying to cover his read end? NYT: Let's compare what Mrs. Palin said and what the Second Circuit ruled.

 lawyer: Mr. Bennet did not click on hyperlinks in [his] editorial... He relied on fact checkers to ensure his editorials were accurate

 Palin's lawyer: There's nothing binding from the Supreme Court imposing the defendant's standard here. Judge Rakoff: Even under your approach you have to show reckless disregard, no? Palin's lawyer: Correct.

 Palin's lawyer: The decision was already made to write about gun control, and "hate speech" of people on the Right.  Judge Rakoff: You're saying he started with a bias? Palin's lawyer: Yes, your Honor.

 Palin's lawyer: The NYT was already under fire, sponsoring Shakespeare in the Park portraying Trump as Caesar, some advertisers were pulling out. So Bennet was back pedaling. Palin's lawyer: They resorted to framing, to pre-conceived notions.

This is a case of willful avoidance of the truth. He published the editorial without re-acquainting himself with what the Atlantic [he is or was affiliated with] published

 Palin's lawyer: Bennet has a narrative he wanted to tell and he didn't care what the fact checkers said. It's purposeful avoidance of truth. Bennet insisted on persisting with narrative even after corruption came out, he told CNN it didn't undercut the editorial

Palin's lawyer: Bennet was still insisting that the piece was justifiable. The international edition cut out the defamatory terms, but Ms. Cohen claimed it still conveyed the same message. So Bennet was engaged in political score-keeping

Palin lawyer: There were 3 to 4 other editorials ready that could have run that day. All of this could have been avoided. But this falls in line with Bennet's pre-determined narrative. There was recklessness. So the summary judgment motion should be denied.

Judge Rakoff: I'll give the defendant nine minutes, then I have to head up to my courtroom for a proceeding.

NYT's lawyer: This may have been negligence, but it is not defamation of a public figure.

Judge Rakoff tells the lawyer the history of "malapropism," promises an end of August ruling before Feb 2021 trial.

 The case is Palin v. The New York Times Company, 17-cv-4853-JSR (Rakoff)


Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.

Feedback: Editorial [at]
SDNY Press Room 480, front cubicle
500 Pearl Street, NY NY 10007 USA

Mail: Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station NY NY 10017

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2020 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] for