Today, at a federal courthouse in downtown Manhattan, in one of those Brutalist buildings made famous by Law & Order, Sarah Palin finally stepped into court to prove to a jury that The New York Times defamed her with an editorial that partially, and nevertheless incorrectly, blamed her for inciting a 2011 shooting that injured a member of Congress. The showdown, as the advance hype goes, may achieve a MAGA dream: Making it easier to sue over Fake News.
In the weeks leading up to this prize fight, I’ve heard from quite a few antsy media lawyers who note how rare it is to see a major news outlet face trial. They’ve also heard the buzz how this could be the one that overturns the “actual malice” standard set a half-century ago in Times v. Sullivan. And very quietly, quite a few of them are musing, “Who exactly is funding this lawsuit?”