On Saturday, Arthur S. Brisbane, the New York Times' new Public Editor, filed his debut column. He takes his difficult post following the reign of the former Public Editor Clark Hoyt, the disastrous 'weasel' (cartoonist Tom Tomorrow's infamous depiction, not ours, though we have no quibble) whose contract ended last June.
In the first column of his new thankless role, Brisbane mentions among others, as part of his description of the Times' "substantial infrastructure for responding to public complaints," Senior Editor/Standards Greg Brock. Readers of The BRAD BLOG will remember Brock for helping to kick off what became a 70-some part series here on the "paper of record's" horrendously damaging and inaccurate coverage of Andrew Breitbart, James O'Keefe, and Hannah Giles' ACORN "Pimp" Hoax.
Brock, as some of you will recall, had responded to a reader's request for correction on a number of stories in which the Times had misreported that O'Keefe had dressed as, and represented himself as a "pimp" in the offices of ACORN, even though, as we reported repeatedly beginning early this year, he never had, as first based on the information in the independent report that had come out several months earlier from former Massachusetts Attorney General, Scott Harshbarger. Though the paper had reported on the "pimp" scam in a number of articles, they had never so much as even mentioned the Harshbarger report [PDF] which accurately stated that O'Keefe never dressed in the "outlandish" outfit the Times (and other media outlets) had reported him as wearing while interviewing ACORN workers.
Worse, the paper continued to misreport that point long after Harshbarger had disabused the world of that notion, by noting clearly 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 even though ACORN had stated on the record, based on interviews with their employees who were there, that "O'Keefe was not wearting that absurd costume when he visited our offices."
The Times' inaccurate reporting directly preceded the passage of federal legislation which was passed overwhelmingly by the Democratic-majority Congress and signed by the President to defund the four-decade old, anti-poverty, pro-democracy community organization, even though it was all a hoax. O'Keefe had never dressed as a pimp --- or even represented himself as one --- but merely edited his videos to appear that way, as acknowledged in at least three subsequent official reports. Nonetheless, lazy coverage in the NYT had bought it all, and reported it all, hook, line, and unverified sinker...