Above: James Carville shows James Rainey his future.
In September, L.A. Times columnist James Rainey wrote a column in which he uncritically quoted ACORN worker Lavelle Stewart suggesting that she had turned Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe out of her office:
[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.”
Media Matters gloated: LA Times report further undermines ACORN videographers’ credibility.
I wasn’t so sure — and I publicly declared that Rainey had likely been suckered and would end up with egg on his face. I wrote Rainey and asked him:
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?
When Rainey failed to respond, I contacted Breitbart (he’s very easy to reach) and asked him. Breitbart confirmed that Rainey hadn’t bothered to contact Breitbart — or Giles or O’Keefe — to ask their side of the story. I asked Breitbart what he would have told Rainey about Lavelle Stewart’s denials, and Breitbart said he would have told Rainey:
As an empathetic being, I urge you to think twice before accepting the word of an ACORN employee for anything. Because every journalist who has done so has ended up with egg on his or her face.
It’s too bad Rainey never received that warning. Because guess who is the star of Giles and O’Keefe’s latest ACORN video?
I mean, I think you have to hook up with someone who is on that international sex business level. . . . 14 and 15 year-olds been traveling overseas for years. that’s not something that’s brand new. You know what I mean? . . . I could do research for you I could find out what we can do — how to get you in that door. . . There are ways, people do it all the time.
(Breitbart tells me that Rainey is now claiming he did try to contact Breitbart. Breitbart told me he can find no evidence of the attempted contact. Breitbart told me that tonight. It was very easy to contact Breitbart, as it always is.)
The best part: Rainey recently criticized Fox News for uncritically accepting only one side of the story. I mean, there are so many levels to the irony, you need an elevator to visit them all.
I now publicly ask the question Rainey would not answer privately: having written a misleading column that falsely suggested that ACORN in L.A. was clean — and that Giles and O’Keefe were dishonest — is James Rainey now going to write a new column and correct the record?
P.S. Time to confess. Good guesses are good. Certainty is better. It’s easy to be Karnak when you already know the future. See what I mean?
UPDATE: Breitbart is upping the stakes. Details here.