On Twitter yesterday, Andrew Breitbart issued a confrontational “correction“ stating that James O’Keefe wasn’t actually dressed like a pimp when he interacted with ACORN employees. I am unsure whether a correction has been posted to Big Government, where the video sting initially ran. I can’t find one.
Obviously, Mr. Breitbart or editor Mike Flynn should run a correction if they haven’t already. Corrections should also be run by The Washington Times, where Mr. Breitbart’s column gave an inaccurate impression of when Mr. O’Keefe wore the pimp suit, and Fox News, where Mr. O’Keefe said nothing to disabuse his hosts of that inaccurate impression. Analysis of all that, plus a roundup of other news sources that were misled by the video can be found here. None of this excuses the abhorrent behavior of some ACORN employees whose actions were inappropriate no matter the context, but it does call into question whether or not the video was edited in other misleading ways, and I certainly won’t feel comfortable trusting it until I see an unedited version.
Strangely, Mr. Breitbart says he’ll only release the full unedited video if Eric Boehlert or a couple other Media Matters big shots will debate him after watching the whole thing publicly.
In a recent exchange on Twitter, Mr. Breitbart complained to me that “the media” casts him as a conservative activist, rather than a publisher. In fact, Mr. Breitbart is indisputably an activist and a publisher, having earned both titles, among many others. What I wonder is whether he is a reputable publisher. After watching the ACORN videos, I shared them with several apolitical friends who don’t follow the blogosphere very closely. All assumed Mr. O’Keefe walked into the ACORN offices wearing the pimp suit. A reputable publisher corrects the mistaken impressions of his audience when they’re generated by content that he produced. So here we have a test of professional ethics.