Judge Jed Rakoff has tossed the defamation lawsuit that Sarah Palin filed against the New York Times. However, in so doing, he affirmed that she had nothing to do with the mass shooting that Jared Loughner committed that maimed then Rep. Gabby Giffords and that the Times was “negligent” in its editorial that suggested otherwise. Unfortunately, Judge Rakoff ruled that the case did not achieve the standard of proving reckless disregard for the truth.

Why the lawsuit was dismissed

According to Judge Rakoff, Palin and her lawyers had to show that James Bennet, the editor who wrote the offending piece, had personally displayed a reckless disregard for the truth.

There is no such thing as institutional recklessness, in the judge’s opinion. Bennet had written the editorial claiming the link between Palin’s crosshairs graphic and the mass shooting even though just a modicum of fact checking would have refuted that supposition. However, he covered himself by correcting the editorial the moment the error was brought to his attention.

Also, the Judge ruled that Palin had failed to prove malice on the part of Bennet. To be sure, the New York Times has it in for the former governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate. And Bennet’s brother happens to be a Democratic senator from Colorado. However, political bias does not prove malice, in the Judge’s opinion.

What happens now?

Palin and her lawyers can certainly appeal. The theory behind an appeal is that Bennet would not have been as sloppy in writing the offending editorial had he been dealing with a politician whom he approved of. According to Hot Air, the bias caused the malice which in turned caused a reckless disregard for the truth, according to Hot Air.

Judge Rakoff has believed that the case presented by Palin merited an evidentiary hearing into the matter. Why, then, not just put the issue to a jury?

Liberal bias in the media on trial

If Palin files an appeal and if her appeal is accepted, then the defamation case can go to trial anyway. The case will be decided on the strict guidelines that a public figure like Sarah Palin has to meet to prove defamation, actual malice and a reckless disregard for the truth.

That standard will be a tough one to prove. However, liberal bias in the media, something that has been a complaint on the right for generations, will be put on trial. Conservatives and their causes are judged by a different standard than those on the left. Having the question argued in a court of law would be useful no matter what the outcome is.