The Times Owes Michele Bachmann a Correction

As I noted here last night, Simon Romero, the New York Times bureau chief in Brazil, repeated on Twitter an utterly false story about Michele Bachmann, based on a “report” from a parody news site that cleverly disguises its nature by not being funny. Mr. Romero still has made no public acknowledgment that the story was false; the tweet has disappeared, but he should own up to having got took. It happens.

This matters because Mr. Romero has thousands of Twitter followers, and his account puts his New York Times affiliation front and center, meaning that there are people who will, bless their hearts, believe falsehoods repeated by him. If Mr. Romero refuses to publicly acknowledge his error, his editors at the Times should insist upon it if they have any regard at all for the intellectual standards of their newspaper. Yes, it’s Twitter, but this is not some kid in mom’s basement — this is a New York Times reporter in Latin America informing his readers that an American political figure proposes to put Latin American children into labor camps. It is a grotesque falsehood furthered by a journalist from an organization that fancies itself the newspaper of record — so let the record be corrected.