New York Times Corrects Its ACORN Coverage

The New York Times today ran several corrections relating to its coverage of conservative activist James O’Keefe’s dealings with community group ACORN.

Times Ombudsman Clark Hoyt on Saturday criticized the Times for its failure to correct its ACORN coverage, saying the paper has “has played into the hands of a campaign that has pushed the group near extinction.”

Today, the Times issued its corrections.

Several articles since September about the troubles of the community organizing group Acorn referred incorrectly or imprecisely to one aspect of videotaped encounters between Acorn workers and two conservative activists that contributed to the group’s problems.

In the encounters, the activists posed as a prostitute and a pimp and discussed prostitution with the workers. But while footage shot away from the offices shows one activist, James O’Keefe, in a flamboyant pimp costume, there is no indication that he was wearing the costume while talking to the Acorn workers.

The errors occurred in articles on Sept. 16 and Sept. 19, 2009, and on Jan. 31 of this year. Because of an editing error, the mistake was repeated in an article in some copies on Saturday.

O’Keefe’s video created quite a stir in the media, and brought additional heat to ACORN, which had already been the subject of much criticism, particularly among conservatives. ACORN will be shutting down by April 1.