Few things in life are as aggravating as having someone put words in your mouth. Earlier this year, the Washington Post did exactly that to James O’Keefe. They eventually had to admit it — but the L.A. Times, which has unfairly targeted O’Keefe all year, continues to run the false article uncorrected.
The Post article contained this eye-opening claim:
Though O’Keefe described himself as a progressive radical, not a conservative, he said he targeted ACORN for the same reasons that the political right does: its massive voter registration drives that turn out poor African Americans and Latinos to cast ballots against Republicans.
Wow. O’Keefe said that he targeted ACORN because they register blacks and Latinos to vote? Well, of course not. The quote would set off even the least sensitive bullshit-o-meter. Trouble is, many Big Media organizations have failed to invest in this technology. And so, in September, Joel Mowbray took up O’Keefe’s cause, with the help of Power Line, and the Post eventually issued a weak correction:
This article about the community organizing group ACORN incorrectly said that a conservative journalist targeted the organization for hidden-camera videos partly because its voter-registration drives bring Latinos and African Americans to the polls. Although ACORN registers people mostly from those groups, the maker of the videos, James E. O’Keefe, did not specifically mention them.
He didn’t generally mention them either. The word “specifically” was inserted, not for accuracy, but as a slippery move to disguise just how starkly the Post had manufactured this allegation.
But at least the correction was issued.
Here’s the thing: months later, the L.A. Times version of the article still remains uncorrected. The Times reprinted the Post article in its entirety. But the correction never made it into the version reprinted by The Times. You may view the L.A. Times version of the story at this link. It still bears the false claim that O’Keefe targeted ACORN as an effort to suppress the minority vote.
In essence, the article suggests that O’Keefe is a racist. That’s a hell of an allegation to level at someone when there is no evidence to support it. When your accusation is based on a quote that you made up.
The L.A. Times should finally correct this — and institute a mechanism so that when they reprint articles from other publications, they receive notice of corrections to those articles. This is a systematic problem that demands a comprehensive solution.
People’s reputations depend on it.
In the meantime, help me get this corrected. Baby steps. It starts with your e-mail to the Readers’ Representative. Write to Readers.Rep@latimes.com.