It is abundantly clear that the New York Times is attempting to use its journalistic resources to destroy the conservative movement.
Despite the Times’ repeatedly misreporting that O’Keefe was dressed or posed as a “pimp” while meeting with ACORN employees in those videos, and even after being shown in no uncertain terms that he did not, the Times’ Public Editor has declined to recommend the paper retract its reporting on this story.
At the end of the remarkable email exchange between Hoyt and myself (published in full at the end of this article), he says he recommended only that “Times editors …avoid language that says or suggests that O’Keefe was dressed as a pimp when he captured the ACORN employees on camera.”
That, even though…
- former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, whose investigation [PDF] of the edited versions of the videos found no illegal conduct by ACORN staff and observed that “at each and every” ACORN office visited by O’Keefe with his partner Hannah Giles (who was dressed as a “prostitute”) he was “dressed like a college student – in slacks and a button down shirt,” and;
- ACORN has stated on the record, based on interviews with their employees, that [emphasis in original] “O’Keefe was not wearing that absurd costume when he visited our offices,” and;
- Giles herself has now twice admitted on the record (once on video tape), that O’Keefe never wore his 70’s-era blaxploitation pimp costume in those offices, and;
- O’Keefe and Giles’ benefactor, Andrew Breitbart, who published and promoted the videos (and misrepresented them himself in his own Washington Times column) also finally acknowledged the pimp outfit was only used as a marketing gimmick, and;
- while the Times’ Scott Shane first reported on September 15th of last year that O’Keefe “visited Acorn offices…dressed so outlandishly that he might have been playing in a risqué high school play” and, on September 18th, as traveling in “the gaudy guise of pimp and prostitute through various offices of Acorn,” and;
- the paper had reported similarly time after time since then (without noting the existence of Harshbarger’s report even once), and;
- even though I directly debunked several pieces of “evidence” that Hoyt originally proffered for his original assessment that he “would not recommend a correction, based on the available evidence,” and offered him much more corroborated evidence along with it, and;
- even though he acknowledges his original evidence was, indeed, inaccurate, and;
- even though Congress voted to defund ACORN just days after the New York Times’ first inaccurate report;
…Hoyt nonetheless wrote in his final communication to me: “I still don’t see that a correction is in order, because that would require conclusive evidence that The Times was wrong, which I haven’t seen.”
Then NYT throws in a little Clintonian parsing just in case this isn’t completely absurd already.
The most recent article in dispute, a January 30th feature article by Jim Rutenberg and Campbell Robertson, following on O’Keefe’s recent federal felony arrest for allegedly attempted to “maliciously interfere” with the phone system of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), described O’Keefe as having “made his biggest national splash last year when he dressed up as a pimp and trained his secret camera on counselors with the liberal community group Acorn.”
Hoyt appears to have looked at only that one article initially, and stood behind it because, as he wrote [emphasis his]: “The story says O’Keefe dressed up as a pimp and trained his hidden camera on Acorn counselors. It does not say he did those two things at the same time.”
After a week or two of back-and-forth in which Brad Friedman drops a metric fuckton of ACORN reporting right in the ombudsman’s lap, Clark finally concedes that it may have been “journalistically unethical” of O’Keefe to fabricate his story and doctor the evidence to support it — but at any rate he still won’t be recommending a correction.
As is typical of the BRAD BLOG the post is so ridiculously long and detailed that it would make Glenn Greenwald red with envy. The lunacy I’ve quoted is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have a couple years to kill take a look.