James O’Keefe 3, Big Media 0

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As soon as James O’Keefe’s explosive video footage was unveiled two weeks ago — shaking ACORN to its core — various leftists and their allies in the mainstream media have fixated on a singular mission: smearing the messenger.

O’Keefe was not just targeted by MSM backbenchers, but the Big Three: New York Times, Washington Post, and the Associated Press.

The results weren’t even close. It was a lopsided victory for O’Keefe, as all three titans of media issued corrections on damning allegations.

According to the Big Three, O’Keefe was a racist who targeted ACORN because they register minorities to vote, and he’s already been proven to use editing tricks to deceive in his attacks on Planned Parenthood.

Oops.

In a front-page story, the Washington Post used a paraphrase to toss out what would be a bombshell admission by O’Keefe, specifically that “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 against Republicans.”

As could be expected, left-wing bloggers and Daly Kosiacs pounced on this with giddy abandon. The blogosphere was abuzz with liberals who felt vindicated, as they just knew that someone who rocked the very foundation of such a pristine and virtuous organization as ACORN had to be a racist.

What should as more of a surprise is that the AP jumped on this bandwagon, apparently without hesitation. Yet there was plenty of reason for pause.

Had O’Keefe actually stated racial motivations, it probably would have been the lead or at least near the top of the story. But it was buried about two-thirds of the way down. And there were no quotations; it was the paper’s paraphrase. Especially considering that ACORN had been crying racism from the moment that the first tape was released, it would seem important to nail that down before republishing the claim with no double checking.

This journalist became very interested in pursuing the possible racial motivations within moments of reading the Post story. So what does a responsible journalist do? Naturally, I called the Post reporter, Darryl Fears.

The next morning, the Post ran its correction. Later the same day, the AP followed suit (after I e-mailed one of the bylined reporters, Pete Yost, the Post’s correction).

As for the New York Times, the “paper of record” tried to undermine the credibility of O’Keefe’s ACORN exposes by quoting an acquaintence who said he played fast and loose with Planned Parenthood, whose workers agreed to earmark money for abortions of black babies. The article spent a great deal of time on the Planned Parenthood investigation, so that quote was indeed to de-legitimize it directly, while simultaneously calling into question O’Keefe’s ACORN work.

Except it was the New York Times that de-legitimized its smear job. Turns out that Liz Farkas wasn’t talking about O’Keefe’s Planned Parenthood investigation at all.

None of the above was a small mistake, either in terms of relevance or harm to reputation. Between the Big Three’s articles, there were a total of seven reporters on the byline or listed as contributors, most of whom were veterans. That’s not even counting editors or the ample resources available to the MSM journalists.

One wonders if the MSM reporters with egg on their faces realize the irony: the 25-year-old, self-described “skinny nerd” with scarce resources has outclassed deep pocketed media titans. He has no corrections, and each of the Big Three has one — and that’s just in the past few days.

Public trust in the mainstream is at an all-time low. Its reaction to the ACORN revelations and ham-handed attacks on O’Keefe will only accelerate the downward spiral.

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