Patterico's Pontifications

10/30/2009

James Rainey: Regurgitating One-Sided Claims Is Bad Journalism . . . Except When I Do It!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

Imagine the most hypocritical thing possible. Got it? Are you picturing something?

OK, I can top that.

This is a story about a newspaper columnist who piously denounces those who would simply repeat claims by political activists — and then turns around and does the same thing himself . . . in the same column.

Today L.A. Times columnist James Rainey has a little screed about the one-sided nature of Fox News. This is, to put it mildly, highly ironic, in light of Rainey’s past columns.

In a September 23 column, in language imbued with no small degree of sanctimony, Rainey wrote that Fox News was being one-sided in reporting the ACORN scandal:

Yet no legitimate news organization can claim editorial integrity if it merely regurgitates information from political activists without subjecting the material to serious scrutiny.

So what did Rainey do? He regurgitated information from the political activists at ACORN. Not only did he fail to subject the material to serious scrutiny, he didn’t even contact the other side.

In his judgmental screed against Andrew Breitbart, Hannah Giles, James O’Keefe, and Fox News, Rainey wrote:

[V]isits to other ACORN offices have gone almost entirely unmentioned. Lavelle Stewart, a fair-housing coordinator in the group’s Los Angeles office, told me this week that she tried to get the “prostitute,” who claimed she had been beaten by her pimp, to go to a women’s center.

“The fact she was not taking the help I offered her made me think something was not right,” Stewart said. “It raised a red flag.”

The suggestion, of course, is that ACORN’s Lavelle Stewart righteously refused to help O’Keefe and Giles with their child prostitution ring.

Did that really happen? Well, that’s what Lavelle Stewart says happened. But what did Andrew Breitbart say in response?

Surely James Rainey didn’t regurgitate the claims of Lavelle Stewart at the political activist organization ACORN . . . and fail to contact Breitbart?

Yes, as you have no doubt guessed by now, that’s exactly what he did. I spoke with Andrew Breitbart and asked him if Rainey contacted him before writing his column. Breitbart told me Rainey did not.

Of course, this is a pattern on Rainey’s part. In June, he wrote a column harshly critical of Jill Stewart and the L.A. Weekly, which quoted a host of Stewart critics. Did he quote Jill (a friend of mine)? In an e-mail Jill sent to several friends and colleagues, she said he had not:

I wanted to tell my colleagues and friends in journalism and blogging that James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times did not contact me for his take-down attempt column about me today, published during the very same a week in which news-side stories I assigned and edited blew the Times out of the water at the Los Angeles Press Club awards.

I think you have by now discerned the pattern: presenting one side is good enough, as long as it’s the side with which James Rainey agrees.

By the way, I should add that I didn’t contact only one side in this controversy. Five days ago, I wrote Rainey to ask:

Mr. Rainey,

I just recently stumbled across your September 23 column quoting ACORN worker Lavelle Stewart, who implied that she was onto O’Keefe and Giles and gave them no help.

Two questions:

1) Did you contact Breitbart, Giles, or O’Keefe before writing your column, to ask them about what Stewart said?

2) If, by chance, you turn out to have been wrong about ACORN in L.A. — if it turns out that ACORN in L.A. tried to help Giles and O’Keefe with their purported underage prostitution ring — will you write another column acknowledging that?

Yours truly,

Patrick Frey

http://patterico.com

Rainey has not replied.

See, Mr. Rainey? That’s how you do it.

42 Comments

  1. But he’s a journalist. You’re just a blogger. What do you know?

    Comment by John Hitchcock (3fd153) — 10/30/2009 @ 7:39 am

  2. Crab grass blogger.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407) — 10/30/2009 @ 7:49 am

  3. Too bad you don’t have a TV or Radio show. On TV you could put up a cutout of the Rainey and every other editor or so-called Journalist at the LASlimes and ask the publicly the questions they won’t answer. You might not get an answer, but they’ll get the message.

    Comment by PCD (1d8b6d) — 10/30/2009 @ 7:52 am

  4. He can put it on YouTube.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407) — 10/30/2009 @ 7:58 am

  5. Anyone at the LA Times with a last name beginning with R or H should be immediatelt fired.

    Comment by JD (61528e) — 10/30/2009 @ 8:27 am

  6. James Rainey would not know what journalism is if it reached up and slapped him on the arse.

    Comment by JD (61528e) — 10/30/2009 @ 8:29 am

  7. Maybe the LASlimes can only afford one phone call, or ACORN (with access to billions of unearned tax dollars) accepted the collect call. The Fringe (former MSM) media has no problem contacting liberal democrat liars since there’s and abundance of them. I don’t think they even bother to contact anyone, they can make up the lies themselves and it will be accepted by the known 52% of retarded citizens in America.

    Comment by Scrapiron (4e0dda) — 10/30/2009 @ 8:30 am

  8. You see, they know better than the readers of newspapers do. They are smarter than their readers are. They know more. How can you doubt them?

    Seriously, they have to defend themselves like crazy. Because everyone is getting it: these characters are ignorant and arrogant, which is a bad combination.

    Comment by Eric Blair (dd11cc) — 10/30/2009 @ 8:34 am

  9. Stipes and polka dots are another bad combination.

    Comment by Corwin (ea9428) — 10/30/2009 @ 8:38 am

  10. stripes STRIPES, I meant Stripes.

    Comment by Corwin (ea9428) — 10/30/2009 @ 8:39 am

  11. I hereby nominate James Rainey, douchenozzle extraordinaire, for the award of Douchenozzle of the Day.

    I move to pass by Unanimous Consent.

    All in favor, say “Aye”

    All opposed, “Nay” (shut up DSCSA).

    With no credible opposition, James Rainey is awarded the honor of being Douchebag of the Day.

    Comment by JD (959071) — 10/30/2009 @ 8:43 am

  12. Does anyone here know the difference between a column on the media and journalism? Rainey’s column is an analysis of a media controversy. He is, thus, not required to contact to contact Breitbart, O’Keefe, or Giles to comment. He gives one side, as reported, and then Stewart’s side, as reported by him in an earlier story.

    Ask Cal Thomas and William Kristol how “balanced” a column has to be.

    Comment by timb (449046) — 10/30/2009 @ 8:46 am

  13. Do you try to miss the stated point, or does it happen organically?

    Comment by JD (959071) — 10/30/2009 @ 8:52 am

  14. At The New York Times, “News Analysis” (the exact Times slug) is in the news section, not the editorial or op-ed pages. And if you think opinion columns can be free of facts because it’s only opinion, remember that Times was also forced by a general uproar in the blogosphere to fact-check even its pure opinion columns, after Maureen Dowd insterted ellipses in some George W. Bush quotes.

    As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) quipped, “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.”

    Reporters who promote the liberal agenda with one-sided articles do that not so much because they are ardent leftists now, but because the number of journalism jobs is shrinking rapidly, and they want to stay employed somewhere in the newspaper industry. Producing biased, one-sided copy is their method of obtaining more long-term job security.

    Comment by Official Internet Data Office (a2b4a2) — 10/30/2009 @ 9:15 am

  15. I sent him an e-mail early this morning telling him that I eagerly awaited his column on MSNBC. I lied.

    Comment by Mike K (2cf494) — 10/30/2009 @ 9:28 am

  16. timb – Rainey defended an out of control criminal enterprise with false information. He made no effort to get the correct information which was easily available. He is a partisan hack who defends crimainals as long as they are Democrats.

    In other words hs is a member of our modern Main Stream Media.

    Comment by Have Blue (854a6e) — 10/30/2009 @ 9:30 am

  17. Ouch. Rainey won’t be able to admit the falling-down-on-his-job in violation of his own standards. My guess is that he will stuff his feelings down with a pint of dark chocolate haggen Daz and a loaf of garlic bread, and tell himself to think about it tomorrow.

    Comment by SarahW (692fc6) — 10/30/2009 @ 9:39 am

  18. timb, that’s your defense? It’s ok that he is one sided, because it’s an analysis piece? How stupid. Rainey criticized this very freaking practice when Fox News did it.

    I know it’s really cute to expect the right to live up to impossible rules and laugh whent hat’s demanded of democrats, but James Rainey’s articles are straight up uninformative. They won’t get to the truth. There is no scrutiny or competition of ideas… just the democrat spin, unchallenged. If you think that’s OK, you’re an idiot. James Rainey certainly doesn’t think it’s OK when FNC does it… James just thinks he can get away with it and dupe people. Apparently he can… but the number of dupes drops every day.

    I loved the jokey way this post was written. I think this kind of media dishonestly is serious, but mockery is an easier way to read about it.

    Comment by Dustin (bb61e3) — 10/30/2009 @ 9:43 am

  19. Dustin, timb simply has to defend “his” own side. Period. Full stop. That’s all.

    No matter what they do, or how hypocritical his own statements become.

    Comment by Eric Blair (0b61b2) — 10/30/2009 @ 9:48 am

  20. Doesn’t anyone here know the rules for blog commenters ?

    timb’s comment is an analysis of our comments. He is, thus, not required to proof read to proof read anything he posts here.

    timb’s next step, in homage to James Rainey, will be to quote his own comment(s) (or Rainey’s) as from an authoritative source …

    Comment by Alasdair (205079) — 10/30/2009 @ 11:09 am

  21. Is the glass half empty or half full is a difference of opinion. The underlying fact is the same; the glass is partially filled with a liquid.
    So to quote you:

    “Does anyone here know the difference between a column on the media and journalism? Rainey’s column is an analysis of a media controversy. He is, thus, not required to contact to contact Breitbart, O’Keefe, or Giles to comment. He gives one side, as reported, and then Stewart’s side, as reported by him in an earlier story.

    Ask Cal Thomas and William Kristol how “balanced” a column has to be.

    Comment by timb — 10/30/2009 @ 8:46 am”

    Cal Thomas and William Kristol would argue whether the glass is half empty or half full. A worthless propagandizing hack like Rainey denies there is any fluid in the glass without even bothering to look at it. And an idiot like you simply accepts what he said as an empirical fact. And what exactly is the media controversy? That Giles and O’Keefe uncovered and exposed ACORN or the media’s refusal to ascertain the validity of their reporting?

    Comment by cubanbob (409ac2) — 10/30/2009 @ 11:37 am

  22. Does anyone here know the difference between a column on the media and journalism?

    Does anyone know the difference between a douchebag and timb?

    Answer – the bag.

    Comment by Dmac (a964d5) — 10/30/2009 @ 12:05 pm

  23. Sometimes it seems that demonstrating
    the hypocrisy, the lies, and irresponsibility of the liberals and leftists is of little
    use since they only appear to get worse.
    But I believe they are deteriorating
    before our eyes – that’s why they are
    engaging in such tactics – they are
    doubling down.

    Comment by Colorado (0c9d05) — 10/30/2009 @ 12:55 pm

  24. Recall that a few weeks ago Rainey wrote a column extolling the idea of newspapers assigning ombudsmen who may criticize their work. Left unsaid was the fact that his own newspaper has long refused to create such a position.
    Does that say something about selective reporting?

    Comment by James Fulton (00ba9f) — 10/30/2009 @ 5:26 pm

  25. O/T – But did I hear correctly that the CBO absolutely kneecapped the Pelosi bill today?

    Comment by JD (ebd716) — 10/30/2009 @ 5:40 pm

  26. Patterico – Maybe Cyrus will drop by and tell you how you’re getting this all wrong. That’s always good for a few laughs.

    Comment by daleyrocks (718861) — 10/30/2009 @ 6:50 pm

  27. What’s a James Rainey?
    And, is the LAT still suitable for lining bird-cages?

    Comment by AD - RtR/OS! (d702e6) — 10/30/2009 @ 7:03 pm

  28. And, is the LAT still suitable for lining bird-cages?

    Nope. AD, the name Dog Trainer says it all.

    Comment by Stu707 (0981d5) — 10/30/2009 @ 8:22 pm

  29. So did the ACORN female actually recommend a woman’s shelter to the actress posing as a prositute? You’d thinlk the video would show that.

    Comment by lee (cae7a3) — 10/31/2009 @ 1:57 am

  30. Timmah strikes again!

    Like a de-fanged rattler, he annoys but causes no damage.

    Comment by Icy Texan (4ff1d7) — 10/31/2009 @ 3:10 am

  31. Stu and AD, like I told Cavuto, and he read on the air, I couldn’t use the LASlimes to line my cat’s box. He thoght it was full eventhough I just changed it. Yeah, he crapped on the floor to protest.

    Comment by PCD (3a95e6) — 10/31/2009 @ 4:42 am

  32. [...] ACORN reading: Patterico’s Pontifications: Breitbart to Release Videos on Acorn in L.A. and James Rainey: Regurgitating One-Sided Claims Is Bad Journalism . . . Except When I Do It! US News & World Report: ACORN Story Shows How Internet Reporting Is Beating the New York Times [...]

    Pingback by Shocker: LA ACORN Says “People Do It All the Time” in California, Will Do Research for Child Sex Ring Operation, Has Had Meetings with Porn Magnate Larry Flynt… Another O’Keefe-Giles Exposé (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042) — 11/20/2009 @ 2:24 am

  33. [...] ACORN reading: Patterico’s Pontifications: Breitbart to Release Videos on Acorn in L.A. and James Rainey: Regurgitating One-Sided Claims Is Bad Journalism . . . Except When I Do It! Congress.org: Acorn, and the attorney general of California Gateway Pundit: Breitbart Warns Eric [...]

    Pingback by ACORN Child Sex Sting in Los Angeles: Why Is ACORN Being Protected by Attorney Generals Holder and Brown? Breitbart Will Release More Tapes if No Investigation (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042) — 11/21/2009 @ 7:33 am

  34. You should be careful who you publicly write are your friends in journalism. Jill Stewart wouldn’t know news if it bit her on the ass… nor can she keep email addresses straight. Know that 2008 Press Club Award for Political Jounalist of the Year awarded to her MiniMe, Daniel Heimpel?

    Seem ole Jill forgot to submit a political favor she and MiniMe did for the US Chamber in the 2008 body of political work by Heimpel.

    In 2005, I was the first to write of how a fraud in science promoted by the US Chamber impacts litigation and public health policy over the mold issue.

    Jill accidently sent an email to me that was meant for the Press Club Executive Director (and apparently secretary for Jill) asking that she verify the following malcious false light political writing by Heimpel was not submitted in his body of 2008 work.

    http://www.laweekly.com/2008-07-24/news/the-toxic-mold-rush/

    Opps! Seems Heimpel and Stewart backed the wrong horse. I have emails to prove Heimpel KNEW he was helping to promote a fraudulent science paper by the US Chamber of Commerce when he wrote the fraudulent article above.

    Want to see a video of the matter of what Heimpel and Stewart knew they were promoting when writing award winning political journalism in 2008?

    http://www.blip.tv/file/2878576/

    Jill Stewart is a piece of shit as an journalistic editor in my book. She is a danger to society. Ask her and MiniMe what the were willing to write in false light of a young, legally handicapped, girl to help promote a fraudulent paper that the US Chamber promotes in the courts. Ask her about the hang up calls I got in the middle of the night and how I was fearful for the safety of my children each time the phone rang from what that piece of shit, Jill Stewart, and her MiniMe Heimpel did.

    Not worried one bit that she would sue me for me enlightening her friends that she is a piece of shit as a journalist and editor, because I have the documents to prove it.

    I also have the documentation to show that she did not submit the above fraudulent political writing of Heimpel’s (bur really Jill’s) to the LA Press Club in his body of political work of 2008.

    Gosh, seems maybe Moms Are always right..and they don’t tolerate it when you harm their babies by KNOWINGLY and maliciously portraying their babies in false light to help the US Chamber of Commerce promote false science.

    Jill Stewart is SCUM!!!

    Sharon Kramer

    Comment by Sharon Kramer (9d1bb3) — 11/21/2009 @ 9:29 am

  35. [...] Not to Worry Patterico’s Pontifications: Breitbart to Release Videos on Acorn in L.A. and James Rainey: Regurgitating One-Sided Claims Is Bad Journalism . . . Except When I Do It! Andrew Breitbart, Big Government: Thanks for Paying Attention Big Journalism Congress.org: Acorn, [...]

    Pingback by Lord Almighty, More ACORN Corruption… San Diego ACORN Caught on Tape Dumping Confidential Documents (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042) — 11/24/2009 @ 6:29 am

  36. [...] Not to Worry Patterico’s Pontifications: Breitbart to Release Videos on Acorn in L.A. and James Rainey: Regurgitating One-Sided Claims Is Bad Journalism . . . Except When I Do It! Andrew Breitbart, Big Government: Thanks for Paying Attention Big Journalism Congress.org: Acorn, [...]

    Pingback by Lord Almighty, More ACORN Corruption… San Diego ACORN Caught on Tape Dumping Confidential Documents (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042) — 11/24/2009 @ 6:29 am

  37. [...] James Rainey Digs Himself an Even Deeper Hole and Breitbart to Release Videos on Acorn in L.A. and James Rainey: Regurgitating One-Sided Claims Is Bad Journalism . . . Except When I Do It! Frugal Café Blog Zone: Lord Almighty, More ACORN Corruption… San Diego ACORN Caught on [...]

    Pingback by Rush Limbaugh: “ACORN Is Obama… Obama Is ACORN” « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042) — 12/2/2009 @ 6:46 pm

  38. [...] James Rainey Digs Himself an Even Deeper Hole and Breitbart to Release Videos on Acorn in L.A. and James Rainey: Regurgitating One-Sided Claims Is Bad Journalism . . . Except When I Do It! Frugal Café Blog Zone: Lord Almighty, More ACORN Corruption… San Diego ACORN Caught on [...]

    Pingback by When Congress Majority Voted to Not Fund ACORN, You Didn’t Believe That Democrats Wouldn’t Fund ACORN, Did You? « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042) — 12/10/2009 @ 7:40 am

  39. [...] suggesting that she had turned Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe out of her office. Rainey hadn’t bothered to contact Breitbart — or Giles or O’Keefe — to ask their side of the story. I predicted that Rainey [...]

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  40. [...] James Rainey Digs Himself an Even Deeper Hole and Breitbart to Release Videos on Acorn in L.A. and James Rainey: Regurgitating One-Sided Claims Is Bad Journalism . . . Except When I Do It! Are you Freaking Stupid?: Who would leave computers behind which contain incriminating evidence, [...]

    Pingback by Breaking… Journalist James O’Keefe Arrested in Louisiana on Wiretapping Charges « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042) — 1/26/2010 @ 2:36 pm

  41. [...] James Rainey Digs Himself an Even Deeper Hole and Breitbart to Release Videos on Acorn in L.A. and James Rainey: Regurgitating One-Sided Claims Is Bad Journalism . . . Except When I Do It! RightWingSparkle: Please Let This Be The End of [...]

    Pingback by No Bugs, No Wiretapping Devices: Media’s LA Exposé of James O’Keefe Mired in Speculations & False Reporting (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042) — 1/28/2010 @ 12:20 pm

  42. [...] O’Keefe out of her office. Rainey (who today lambasts Breitbart for failng to contact Sherrod)hadn’t bothered to contact Breitbart — or Giles or O’Keefe — to ask their side of the story. If Rainey had bothered to do his [...]

    Pingback by » James Rainey of the L.A. Times Still Stumbling Over Sherrod, ACORN, Breitbart - Big Journalism (d59464) — 7/27/2010 @ 4:03 am

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