Multiple times since the ACORN video story broke last September, The New York Times erroneously reported (and/or suggested) that James O'Keefe was decked out in his outlandish pimp costume while he met with ACORN's community organizers.
That's not true. The pimp costume was a prop used by O'Keefe, Andrew Breitbart, and Hannah Giles (along with their friends at Fox News) to purposefully confuse people about what really went on inside the ACORN offices. The Times, like lots of news orgs, got duped and pushed that false storyline.
The Times did it in September and then again in January, following the news that O'Keefe had been arrested in New Orleans. To date, there is no evidence O'Keefe ever wore his pimp outfit inside ACORN workplaces. Indeed, the three ACORN ringleaders now concede that fact.
So why won't the Times acknowledge that fact and correct its previous articles? And is it just me, or does it sometimes seem like the Times' public editor, Clark Hoyt, acts like his job is to figure out why the newspaper shouldn't post corrections? Especially when the requests come from the left.
Blogger Brad Friedman took it upon himself to seek answers from the Times about its ACORN coverage. Go read his entire post, and especially his extended back-and-forth emails with Hoyt. It's a true eye-opener.
Bottom line: Hoyt now agrees that, contrary to the Times' earlier reporting, there's no proof O'Keefe ever wore the pimp getup while meeting with ACORN employees. But -- and boy, this is a big “but” -- Hoyt doesn't think the Times needs to post corrections.
UPDATED: Here's a key question for the Times newsroom: Will the daily cover the news that a key talking point of the ACORN sting tapes (the pimp costume) has been revealed as a hoax?
UPDATED: Please recall that this is same Clark Hoyt who devoted an entire column last year in order to scold the Times news team for not reacting fast enough to the all-important ACORN story. The failure was so severe that the Times assigned a staffer to monitor opinion media so the daily would never again be caught so flat footed when a hugely important story broke from the right-wing blogosphere.
But now, when we discover that ACORN story wasn't entirely what it appeared, Hoyt begs off.