The original New York Times scoop was posted at 5:16 p.m. yesterday and it was titled “American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq.” It was based on reports from Kurdish officials:

DOHUK, Iraq — American military forces bombed at least two targets in northern Iraq on Thursday night to rout Islamist insurgents who have trapped tens of thousands of religious minorities in Kurdish areas, Kurdish officials said.

Apparently the Times hadn’t checked in with the Pentagon, whose spokesman roared on Twitter with this shoutdown:

As the tracking Web site NewsDiffs makes clear, the Times stuck in a change based on the denial:

DOHUK, Iraq — American military forces bombed at least two targets in northern Iraq on Thursday night to rout Islamist insurgents who have trapped tens of thousands of religious minorities in Kurdish areas, Kurdish officials said.

Word of the bombings, reported on Kurdish television from the city of Erbil, came as President Obama was preparing to make a statement in Washington.

Kurdish officials said the bombings targeted fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria who had seized two towns, Gwer and Mahmour. Residents who had fled those areas by car were heard honking their horns in approval. But Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said on Twitter that the reports of the bombings were false.

That change came at 5:36 p.m., 20 minutes after the original.

By 6:11 a.m., the paper had affixed a new headline to the story. It went from “American Forces Said to Bomb ISIS Targets in Iraq” to “Militants in Iraq Hit by Strikes, Kurds Say.” Quite a difference.

The Times was moving fast. By 6:29 p.m., it had redone the top of its story to incorporate the pushback from U.S. officials:

Airstrikes on ISIS Militants Has Begun, Kurds and Iraqis Say
By HELENE COOPER and ALISSA J. RUBIN

WASHINGTON — Airstrikes on towns in northern Iraq seized by Islamist militants began late Thursday in what Kurdish and Iraqi officials called the first stage of an American-led intervention to blunt the militants’ advance and provide emergency aid to tens of thousands of refugees.

The Pentagon firmly denied that American forces had begun a bombing campaign. But Pentagon officials said it was possible that allies of the United States, either the Iraqi or Turkish militaries, had conducted the bombing.

Kurdish and Iraqi officials attributed the bombing campaign to American forces. An announcement on Kurdish television of what was described as an American intervention prompted street celebrations and horn-honking by residents of towns under seige by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

A version at 7:28 p.m. added this key detail: “Anwar Haji Osman, deputy minister of the pesh merga, the Kurdish military force, said in the televised statement that his forces had been in contact with the Americans and that the bombings had been carried out by fighter jets.”

By 7:48 p.m., the piece was in disarray:

Aug. 7, 2014
Airstrikes on ISIS Militants Has Begun, Kurds and Iraqis Say
By HELENE COOPER and ALISSA J. RUBIN

WASHINGTON — Airstrikes on towns in northern Iraq seized by Islamist militants began late Thursday in what Kurdish and Iraqi officials called the first stage of an American-led intervention to blunt the militants’ advance and provide emergency aid to tens of thousands of refugees.

Kurdish and Iraqi officials attributed the bombing campaign to American forces. But the Pentagon firmly denied that American forces had begun a bombing campaign. But Pentagon officials said it was possible that allies of the United States, either the Iraqi or Turkish militaries, had conducted the bombing.

Kurdish and Iraqi officials attributed the bombing campaign to American forces.

A Turkish official said the country’s air force had not conducted any operations. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Turkey had been helping the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq with humanitarian supplies. “There is no such thing,” he said, referring to airstrikes.

Early Friday in Ankara, the Turkish capital, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with the country’s top national security officials to discuss the situation.

Note that noun-verb disagreement in that headline. By 8:50 p.m., that got fixed, and President Obama assumed the lead of the story:

Aug. 7, 2014
Airstrikes on ISIS Militants Have Begun, Kurds and Iraqis Say
By HELENE COOPER and ALISSA J. RUBIN

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Thursday approved airdrops of food and medicine in Iraq to address a humanitarian crisis among as many as 40,000 members of religious minorities beseiged on a mountaintop where they took shelter after death threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to administration officials.

The officials did not say when the flights would begin. Kurdish and Iraqi officials said Thursday night that airstrikes had begun on towns in northern Iraq seized by ISIS, but the Pentagon firmly denied that American forces had begun a bombing campaign. Pentagon officialsThey said it was possible that allies of the United States, either the Iraqi or Turkish militaries, had conducted the bombing.

And so it went. At 11:08 p.m., the story read:

Aug. 7, 2014
OBAMA ALLOWS AIRSTRIKES AGAINST IRAQ REBELS
By HELENE COOPER, MARK LANDLER and ALISSA J. RUBIN

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Thursday announced that he had authorized targeted American airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq, scrambling to avert the fall of the Kurdish capital, Erbil, and returning the United States to a significant battlefield role in Iraq for the first time since the last American soldier left the country at the end of 2011.

The Erik Wemple Blog has asked the New York Times whether the initial report merits a correction or receives a fog-of-war reporting exemption.

In a statement made Thursday night, President Obama said he has authorized military strikes on Islamic State militants if they continue their advancement on the city of Irbil, where military personnel and the U.S. consulate are located. (AP)
Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.