No, James Comey did not make an incognito visit to the 'New York Times'
A photograph of fired FBI Director James Comey entering the New York Times Building in midtown Manhattan took right-wing media by storm Thursday night.
The photographs, in which Comey and his wife, Patrice Failor, can be seen entering the New York Times Building, first emerged in the Daily Mail. The tabloid implied that the "quiet visit" was somehow related to Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month that he had helped set in motion a New York Times report that detailed President Donald Trump's request that Comey drop the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Comey said in his testimony that he instructed a friend to provide information to a reporter with the hope that it would lead to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the request.
"Comey kept his sunglasses on and his gaze forward as he marched through the front entrance of the Eighth Avenue office building which houses the publication," the Daily Mail article read. "He was accompanied by his wife Patrice Failor who also wore sunglasses."
Daily Mail U.S. political editor David Martosko — who has said he was being considered for a White House communications job — amplified the claims on Twitter.
Reprints of the photographs quickly ricocheted across right-wing media, including pro-Trump sites Breitbart, Gateway Pundit and Zero Hedge. Those articles also linked Comey's appearance at the Times building to his Senate testimony.
The photographs even got a special segment on Fox News' morning program Fox and Friends Friday morning, before the show aired an interview with Trump and first lady Melania Trump.
"Wonder what James Comey was doing at the New York Times," co-host Steve Doocy said on the program. "It’s so odd."
"He’s not even trying to hide," co-host Ainsley Earhardt added.
The only problem with all those reports: They were false — or, at best, extremely misleading. Comey did not visit the Times at all, as Times reporters began pointing out almost immediately Thursday night. A spokesperson for the Times confirmed to Mic that he did not visit the Times' newsroom.
The iconic New York Times Building, which is located in midtown Manhattan, houses a number of different businesses other than the Times. The newspaper rents out many of the other floors that it owns, and the Times is currently in the midst of a renovation that will consolidate much of their offices.
Maggie Haberman, a White House correspondent for the Times, reported that Comey was attending a charity event for the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, a nonprofit that advocates for neglected and abused foster children, at the law firm Covington & Burling. Offices for Covington & Burling are housed in the Times building.
Fox & Friends later addressed that its report was, in fact, false.
"There was some speculation because it wasn’t so long ago he gave that Columbia professor his notes so they could leak it to the Times," Doocy said. "It turns out that was not the case."
As of Friday morning, articles on Breitbart, Zero Hedge and the Gateway Pundit had not been updated.
The Daily Mail updated its story to say that Comey did not visit the newsroom, but suggested that the Times' denial "does not rule out the possibility that he met with a Times reporter elsewhere."