Sarah Palin lost her libel trial against The New York Times on Tuesday but a question lingers about whether she was treated fairly.
Palin, a 2008 GOP candidate for vice president, is not beloved by the powers that be. She is a gun-toting hick from Alaska who is not well read and who makes hokie references to “hockey moms” and “lipstick on a pig.” Palin, a former Alaska governor, is especially loathed by Harvard grads and urban elites.
Still, the beauty of the American justice system is that even the most despised are entitled to basic fairness and justice under the law.
It rankles that U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, 78, the semi-retired judge who presided over the trial, announced Monday that Palin had not met the high standard for malice to prevail in the case. He said he would dismiss the case regardless of the jury’s verdict.
The jury was deliberating at the time. Reuters reported Wednesday that jurors received phone notifications that the judge had decided to dismiss the case regardless of their verdict. Clearly Judge Rakoff’s pronouncement could have prejudiced the jury.
Timing Is Everything
It was Judge Rakoff’s job to tell the jury what the law is and the jury’s job to apply the law to the facts in the case.
The jury was in the process of deciding whether the NYT showed actual malice in 2017 when it published a preposterous allegation that a political ad by Palin’s political action committee incited the 2011 shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and 18 others at a constituent meeting in Tucson. Indeed, the editorial said “the link to political incitement was clear.” The editorial was written by two NYT editorial writers and cleared by a NYT fact checker.
What possessed Kyle Rittenhouse, a baby-faced 17-year-old, to pick up an AR-15 style rifle and head to Kenosha, Wisconsin in the first place?
There has been a lot of discussion about the harm caused by social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to American youth but very little discussion about the role of violent videogames, where teens arm themselves with massive weaponry to maim and kill.
Rittenhouse claims he and a friend volunteered to go to Kenosha to protect a car dealership that was set upon by rioters the night before. Rittenhouse, who is now a nursing student, wore a medical kit and said he intended to provide medical care. At one point he also carried a fire extinguisher.
It all seems hopelessly naïve, but not altogether implausible for a 17-year-old teenager, especially one who testified Wednesday to playing violent video games.
Rittenhouse ended up killing two men and grievously wounding a third. He’s claiming self-defense. Cell phone videos of the action that evening in Kenosha show Rittenhouse lying on the pavement, while protesters/rioters attacked him and attempted to wrestle the gun away from him. The only reason they didn’t succeed is because it was strapped on his shoulder.
A few decades years ago, a teenager like Rittenhouse might be working to become an Eagle Scout.
Healthline reports that more than 90 percent of kids play video games and more than 90 percent of popular games portray violence.
Memorial Day is intended to honor the sacrifices of soldiers who fought and died for American values like freedom and equality.
But the new race narrative being promulgated by the New York Times’ The 1619 Project effectively rejects this concept with respect to the Revolutionary War.
The Biden administration is promoting the teaching of The 1619 Project, which claims America’s real founding year was 1619, the year African slaves arrived in Virginia, instead of 1776, the year the Declaration of Independence was signed.
The central tenet of the project, which is being distributed in curriculum form by the Pulitzer Center at Columbia University to schools around the country, is that Americans fought the Revolutionary War to protect slavery and slavery has been at the heart of everything America has done since then.
It seems to matter not that Gordon Wood, the premier historian of the American Revolution; James McPherson, the dean of Civil War historians; and Sean Wilentz of Princeton University say there is absolutely no evidence that slavery was a factor in the Revolutionary War. “I don’t know of any colonist who said that they wanted independence in order to preserve their slaves,” said Wood.
It says something about the state of affairs of the U.S. media when even Project Censored appears to have censored the Hunter Biden laptop story.
Project Censored is a media research group founded in 1976 at Sonoma State University in California that produces an annual list of 25 stories that were ignored or covered up by the media in the past year.
Project Censored’s 2020 list omits perhaps the most egregious instance of media censorship in modern history – the media’s blatant pre-election censorship of the discovery of Hunter Biden’s laptop at a computer repair shop in Oct. 2019.
The laptop contains emails and information that show Biden’s family, including his father, the GOP candidate for president, may have engaged in foreign influence peddling when Biden was vice-president.
Project Censored Director Mickey Huff agreed in an email Tuesday that the Hunter Biden laptop story was censored but denied the Project has engaged in censoring. He said the Project’s list was compiled in March, prior to the discovery of the laptop, and the book was published in December. He said the laptop story will be considered for next year’s book.
“[W]e can’t cover what did not happen yet lol,” he wrote.
However, a search Tuesday morning of “Hunter Biden” on the Project’s web site produced only one article written on Nov. 25, 2019. It makes no claim of censorship. It fleetingly refers to the Democratic Party’s disregard of the activities of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in Ukraine during the Obama administration.
GOP President Donald Trump is getting some company in the ranks of vilified American politicians – Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi, the face of the Democratic Party in on-going coronavirus relief negotiations, is widely blamed for blocking adoption of a relief package until Republicans’ agree to several controversial provisions, including sending stimulus checks to illegal immigrants.