Sarah Palin's lawyer is threatening to sue journalist Joe McGinniss and his publisher for "knowingly publishing false statements" in McGinnis' book The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, which was released last week. Attorney John Tiemessen says the book, which contains tales of adultery and cocaine use, is nothing but a collection of "tawdry gossip" intended to harm the Palins. Crown Publishing, a division of Random House, has not responded, nor has McGinniss. Would it be wise for Palin to take McGinniss and his publisher to court?
Absolutely. Palin should sue them: Random House has it coming, says Robert Stacy McCain at The Other McCain. "A journalist has to screw up pretty bad to lose a libel case," and McGinniss did just that by emailing Jesse Griffin — a rumor-mongering, Palin-bashing blogger — to say that he lacked sources to back up his most "salacious stories." You just don't publish that kind of garbage unless you are out to destroy someone's good name.
"Not a 'threat': Palin lawyer gives McGinniss, Random House legal notice"
No. Palin has better things to do: The urge to sue is understandable, says William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, but it's extremely hard for a public figure to prove actual malice in a case like this. Besides, lawyers for Random House and McGinniss would get to grill Palin's family, friends, and political consultants. "Palin has better things to do. Like running for president, or if not, working to elect Republicans." And "if McGinniss is able to distract Palin from her goals, McGinniss will have accomplished far more than the smears in his book."
"Sue, Sarah, sue? No"
For Palin, there are risks either way: Some people might assume the smears are true if Palin doesn't sue, says Aaron Worthing at Patterico's Pontifications. But taking McGinniss to court might be riskier still. If the jury finds McGinniss' gossip is untrue but "not maliciously published," the anti-Palin media "might very well spin it as vindication" for Palin's stalker and his tawdry tales.
"Palinageddon!!! Sarah sicks (sic) her lawyers on Crown Publishing/Random House!"