Back in June, Sarah Palin filed suit against the New York Times for publishing an op-ed tying her to the Gabby Giffords shooting. In an editorial inspired by the shooting attack on the House Republican baseball team, the Times editorial board had alleged that Palin had incited Jared Lee Loughner back in 2011, only later correcting the piece to read that “no connection to the shooting was ever established.”

On Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed Palin’s suit, writing that in the “rowdy” world of American political journalism, “mistakes will be made.”

Well … the judge might be right about there being no malicious intent; whoever dropped in that tidbit about Palin probably remembered only the left-wing spin at the time, which was that a map depicting targeted electoral districts was responsible for inspiring Loughner’s shooting spree. That was the talking point, and the media made sure everyone was aware of it.

Knowing the scenario involving the map was fictional would have required the editorial writer to have, you know, read unbiased news reports, some of which the Times itself had run — something the paper admitted in arguing that the case should be dropped.

Even though it’s been dismissed, maybe Palin’s suit will motivate the Times to not make similar “mistakes” quite so often? Reporting just the facts could be a start.

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