Via America’s Lawyer: The New York Times finds itself embroiled in a libel lawsuit brought forth by Sarah Palin. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Sarah Palin’s libel lawsuit against the New York Times could usher in a new era of accountability for the media and that’s not always a bad thing. Um, okay. You know, we’ve said time and time again. Okay. How are they gonna prove the case? How is Sarah Palin gonna prove the case of the libel? The libels real simple. There was an advertisement where she put crosshairs on, on, you know, on, on certain issues. New York Times comes out and says when, when there’s a killing, when there’s a mass murder that takes place. Was it a couple of days after?

Farron Cousins:                  Right. It was the Gabby Giffords shooting.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Well you pick it up from there.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. And they said, because Sarah Palin sent this out, put a crosshair on that district along with 19 other ones, this is why this shooter went and shot up Gabby Giffords and several other people. They, they said without a doubt, this is because this happened.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  So they blamed her directly for the shooting and that’s absolutely not true. And I, I hate to defend Sarah Palin, but she’s in the right.

Mike Papantonio:             How many, how many ugly stories did we do on Sarah Palin? Okay.

Farron Cousins:                  Oh God, I wish I knew.

Mike Papantonio:             I, I lost count.

Farron Cousins:                  There was so many.

Mike Papantonio:             So that’s the problem the New York Times has. If I’m trying this case to get past the New York Times malice issue, the intent ,malice is just, what is the intent here? Was it malice? All I do is I take a parade of stories where New York Times is every time she can, every time they can turn around, they’re going after her. Why did that happen? It happened because the media has become so tribal. They have lost sight of reporting the news, even the New York Times. The New York Times if I’m to describe them, it’s like Home Alone right now. Nobody’s in charge of what’s coming out of New York Times right now. So is she gonna win this case? I think she’s got a very good chance to win this case and turn New York Times versus Sullivan on its head, which is dangerous for journalism across the board. But New York Times set themselves up for it.

Farron Cousins:                  They, they did.

Mike Papantonio:             This is a winnable case. I gotta tell you.

Farron Cousins:                  Oh, I, I, I agree with you a hundred percent. And listen, outlets need to be accountable when they do things like this. When they blatantly state this politician is responsible for this individual getting shot. That’s false. They need to be held accountable. But then the other side of that coin, unfortunately, is if we loosen these libel laws like they want to do, then you’re opening up all of the independent media outlets.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  To get sued. Because New York Times they can afford the lawyers. They can afford a loss here. But if they want to appeal any loss, go to the Supreme Court and they change these rules, it’s the independent outlets that are gonna suffer for it.

Mike Papantonio:             Here another part of the story is this. When is journalism going to understand we’ve got to get away from tribalism? You have to report the frigging news again. CNN what a great story. You know what their primetime viewership is? Less than 500,000 people. Why did that happen? Because they became so tribal that the only people watching them is what they’re spoonfeeding those people. New York Times has the same risk here. She has a good possibility of winning this case because of that kind of tribalism. If I’m, if I, if I’m handling the case, buddy, there’s story after story where the New York Times is going after her. And when they try to say, there’s no malice involved, that’s a difficult leap for the New York Times.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.