The Story Behind The New York Times' My Little Pony Correction

The now-solo Jim Romenesko recently spoke to New York Times writer Amy Harmon, the by-line behind a recent story about autism that ended up with a surprisingly funny correction appended.

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The now-solo Jim Romenesko recently spoke to New York Times writer Amy Harmon, the by-line behind a recent story about autism that ended up with a surprisingly funny correction appended. Or at least the Internet laughed at it, probably because it involved My Little Pony. The backstory is just about as funny as the correction, but interesting because it's just glowing with The Times's sometimes commitment to accuracy, which appears to be even more intense than the original correction suggested. A reader emailed Harmon with a comment about the true identity of a "nerdy intellectual character" on the pink and sparkly teevee series. Harmon told Romenesko about what drove her to formally issue the correction:

When I got the email, with a request to check it out, I had just spoken to the young woman in my story, Kirstin Lindsmith, about the mix-up. Kirsten did not formally request a correction — it came up as we debriefed on the broader response to the story. But the passage was clearly unsettling for someone with her penchant for both Ponies and accuracy. (In a way it looked like SHE had been confused, which I worried would cause other pony devotees in her online forums to give her grief).

The resulting explanation, stuffy Gray Lady tone and all:

An article on Monday about Jack Robison and Kirsten Lindsmith, two college students with Asperger syndrome who are navigating the perils of an intimate relationship, misidentified the character from the animated children’s TV show “My Little Pony” that Ms. Lindsmith said she visualized to cheer herself up. It is Twilight Sparkle, the nerdy intellectual, not Fluttershy, the kind animal lover.

Slow clap, The New York Times. Slow clap.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.