Patterico's Pontifications

11/27/2009

James Rainey Digs Himself an Even Deeper Hole

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:57 am

The first rule of holes is: stop digging. Today, James Rainey, the egg still fresh on his face, is digging furiously, with a column titled Guerrilla stings of ACORN don’t meet standards of journalism.

Where to start? How about with the part Rainey apparently made up:

So what sort of creature does this make O’Keefe? I don’t disagree with his observation in a previous interview with The Times that he follows the mold of filmmaker Michael Moore, using confrontation to get at his version of the truth.

In an e-mail, O’Keefe told me that Rainey’s statement is a “complete fabrication” that “borders on defamation as Moore uses apparent fancy cutting and pasting to make subjects look bad.” O’Keefe says Rainey’s statement “warrants a correction.”

And indeed, a search of the L.A. Times‘s archives reveals exactly one piece that uses the terms “Michael Moore” and “O’Keefe.” That would be Rainey’s column from today:

Rainey Lie Documented

I have written Rainey to ask for a link to the source of this alleged quote, but as far as I can tell, the source is Rainey’s nether hind region. If he documents otherwise, I will let you know.

In the same column where he has seemingly made up a quote from O’Keefe, Rainey insults O’Keefe, haughtily proclaiming of Giles’s and O’Keefe’s stings: “sorry folks, please don’t call this journalism.” Rainey then whitewashes the nature of Lavelle Stewart’s statements of her willingness to aid and abet Giles’s and O’Keefe’s purported underage prostitution ring. Here it’s worth quoting Rainey at length. Note how he begins by portraying himself as the victim:

Alinsky recommended, among other things, relentless and persistent attacks on an enemy, giving no quarter, with the “conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”

I’ve managed to get caught up in such a drumbeat myself in recent days by suggesting in that September column that the video stings couldn’t be fully understood without more context.

Poor baby. No, you embarrassed yourself by uncritically reporting an ACORN worker’s assertions without checking with Breitbart, Giles, or O’Keefe.

I provoked particular wrath by writing about the videographers’ visit to another ACORN office in L.A., quoting Lavelle Stewart, a fair housing coordinator there who told me she had not offered any direct assistance to the “prostitute.”

Stewart said back then that she tried to redirect the young woman — who described being abused by her pimp — to a neighboring agency that helps the victims of violence.

The latest video, taken during an August visit to the ACORN office on South Grand Avenue, shows Stewart guiding Giles toward a door down the hall from ACORN, labeled Program for Torture Victims, an agency that focuses on aiding the victims of state-sponsored terror but that maintains a referral list for other abuse victims.

But that’s not all the video shows. It also shows an apparently untroubled Stewart listening to the undercover duo’s unsavory and inappropriate schemes. At one point, the ACORN worker suggests that Giles might seek a business arrangement with porn magnate Larry Flynt. At another, responding to O’Keefe’s query, Stewart seems to puzzle over how he might hide the source of his “girlfriend’s” prostitution income.

“Seems to puzzle over”? Mr. Rainey, it goes much further than that, as you well know. As O’Keefe said to me: “her willingness to do independent research to help us get our underage prostitution business started was not mentioned in Jim’s column.”

Watch the video. Giles and O’Keefe tell Stewart that they are trafficking in 14- and 15-year-old girls as prostitutes, and that O’Keefe might want to use the profits to find a political campaign — but he doesn’t want to have a paper trail. Stewart specifically offers to do “research” for the couple on that issue: “That’s the research that I would have to do, to find out how we could do that, without it being so in the open. There are ways, people do it all the time.” This active offer to help goes beyond Rainey’s watered-down portrayal — and contradicts her assertion to Rainey that she offered no assistance.

Rainey continues:

When I called Stewart to ask why she would offer such suggestions, she said that the duo kept persisting and that she had groped for a way to satisfy them enough to get them to leave.

Viewers of the video will doubtless reach varying conclusions about Stewart’s credibility and the dynamics in the office that day. But, clearly, the new video helped reinvigorate the campaign of embarrassment.

Ah, but Mr. Rainey. You asked Lavelle Stewart in September if Giles and O’Keefe had declared that they were running an underage prostitution ring — and if she had offered to help them. She told you she had not — but in fact, she had. And you would have learned that if you had simply contacted Giles, O’Keefe, or Breitbart. Speaking of which:

I regret that I didn’t get through in September when I tried to obtain O’Keefe’s response to Stewart’s comments. He said he didn’t receive the e-mail I sent via the website that posts his videos.

This is laughable, and Rainey’s claim that he tried to contact O’Keefe is suspect. Nobody at BigGovernment.com can find any evidence of the alleged attempted contact. Rainey didn’t say in his column that he tried to contact O’Keefe, which is what journalists usually do when they try to contact someone. And when he did a hatchet job on Jill Stewart, Rainey didn’t try to contact her. These facts cast doubt on Rainey’s claim to have contacted O’Keefe.

But even if we were to accept at face value his claim to have tried, his method of attempting to contact O’Keefe was pathetic. Rainey is on Twitter (@LATimesRainey) and so is O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII). You want to know how hard it is to find O’Keefe on Twitter? Put in “James O’Keefe” into the search box and he is the top result. And yes, O’Keefe was on Twitter back in mid-September, when Rainey wrote his column. O’Keefe also forwarded me an e-mail from L.A. Times writer Robin Abcarian back in March 2009. She reached him on Facebook!

Amazing, the ways there are to contact people . . . when you really want to.

Either Rainey is lying, he is incompetent, or he didn’t really want to get O’Keefe’s side.

Rainey owes us a link to O’Keefe’s comparison of himself to Michael Moore — or he owes O’Keefe a correction. He owes his readers a column that doesn’t whine and whitewash the facts.

And Big Media owes the public an investigation of ACORN. But if Rainey’s column sets the standards for “journalism” in Big Media, then don’t hold your breath.

UPDATE: This is rich. Rainey is apparently claiming that O’Keefe made the statement to an L.A. Times reporter — it just wasn’t published. Here is his Twitter message to O’Keefe sent moments ago:

I’m sure you recall telling that to robin abcarian in your interview w her. She has a record of it.

Well, Abcarian’s story has no trace of it — so Rainey must be talking about something she didn’t publish. Since Rainey is demanding O’Keefe’s unedited video, I think we need to see Abcarian’s unedited notes. I have sent Rainey a Twitter message requesting that, and will be contacting Abcarian as well.

UPDATE x2: More on Rainey’s defense in this post.

37 Responses to “James Rainey Digs Himself an Even Deeper Hole”

  1. I guess he’s auditioning for either a promotion to the New York Times or MSNBC, now McClatchy does give the LAT a run for their biased money, hence my sunny disposition down here in S. Fla

    bishop (83bf97)

  2. For some journalists, loyalty triumphs truth.

    LoneStarJeffe (728204)

  3. What bothers me more than anything about the MSM is that they actually believe that the consuming public is stupid. Rainey actually believes that the tripe he just published will satisfy the readers.

    rls (e58293)

  4. rls,
    Precisely. Worse, the MSM doesn’t connect the dots of that contempt for the public with the plight of journalism.

    Bradley J. Fikes, C. O.R. (a18ddc)

  5. Either Rainey is lying, he is incompetent, or he didn’t really want to get O’Keefe’s side.

    All of the above. Without a doubt.

    It’s quite obvious he did *not* want to get O’Keefe’s take on anything. And ask yourself this, precisely who would be easier to contact if you were an LAT reporter: Breitbart, O’Keefe, Giles, Big Government or a fairly anonymous citizen named Lavelle Stewart? Four options vs. one… He did not want to talk with them because it would not support his narrative. This isn’t rocket science. Although he would like us to think otherwise.

    Dana (e9ba20)

  6. —– Forwarded Message —–
    From:
    To: “Chris Fusco” , “jchase” , “jskass” , “rolmstead”
    Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2009 5:58:40 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
    Subject: Fwd: Mail Delivery Problem-Carol Marin

    Gentleman,

    It appears as though, Carol Marin has made a decision that she no longer wants any information about Dr. Ronald Michael and his pals.
    This does not bode well for the state of journalism in Chicago. As many of us know, Dr. Michael is a close friend of Tony Rezko. One of my sources informed me that Dr. Michael’s family met Tony in Lebanon, before he came to the U.S. to live with the Michael family. This story gets better everyday, so you can imagine my dismay that a veteran like Carol Marin would want to be excluded.

    Anyone else want out of their responsibility as a journalist?

    xxxxxxxxxx
    (—) ——–

    —– Forwarded Message —–
    From: “Mail Delivery Subsystem”
    To:
    Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2009 5:08:37 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
    Subject: Mail Delivery Problem

    Your mail to the following recipients could not be delivered because they are not accepting mail from ——————net:
    carolmarin

    Whistleblower (73b2f6)

  7. There’s a New York Times article that quotes FARKAS responding to an interviewers Moore comparison. Maybe that’s where Rainey got his head screwed up.

    Or maybe he’s just your basic confabulator model.

    SarahW (692fc6)

  8. I’ll go with No. 5 “all of the above”.

    James Rainey is almost as bad as Tim Rutten, but neither have yet sunk to the depths of Michael Hiltzik.

    I caught Rainey’s line that what O’Keefe et al did “was not real journalism” and thought B.S.! Rainey is in no position to lecture anybody about what is, and is not, real journalism in the pursuit of a bloody good story!

    Mike Myers (3c9845)

  9. Rutten, I was trying to remember who thinks himself
    the definitive AQ expert, leaving out John Miller.
    Than again they tower over the LA Times columnist
    and GeorgeTown Law professor, now over at the Pentagon, Rosa Brooks

    bishop (83bf97)

  10. in other news, the Times is calling around with even lower rates for subscriptions….. and are trying to contact potential business advertisers via direct mail.

    they sound a wee bit desperate, no?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  11. people are on to the tatics the lame stream media keep putting out there.shows how desperate they’re getting.

    your mama (805957)

  12. I thought the Media was for the “little guy”?

    Rainey is emblematic of the Big Media covering for Big Corruption in Big Government.

    Mondo Frazier (f8a800)

  13. I wants my free money! I’s earned it by’s being oppressed and sittin in fronts o my tv watchin the Oprah!

    Jasper (46dad7)

  14. I know from bitter personal experience that J. Rainey is a dishonest hitman (metaphorically speaking) for powerful entities. He is no more a journalist than the PR staff for an elected official would be. During Riordan’s administration, his behavior was widely understood to be unconscionable given his relationship with a key staffer there. Rainey is a water-carrier, the only question is, for whom? I’m not saying he’s corrupt, not alleging payoffs. It’s worse than that. He actually likes toadying up to the powerful. It’s deviant behavior for a journalist, but the Times keeps him around, albeit on a page few notice.

    Area Man (7b457a)

  15. Rainey and Rutten illustrate dramatically why I am no longer a liberal Democrat. They will go to ridiculous lengths in futile attempts to prove a point. I continue to subscribe to their paper out of loyalty and only that.

    mhr (bb8b98)

  16. Rainey’s article states that O’Keefe & Giles’ secret videotaping does not constitute journalism (“sorry, folks, please don’t call this journalism”). As I read the article he supports his proposition by referring to O’Keefe & Giles’ possible motive (referencing O’Keefe’s comments about his fury at ACORN for breaking into foreclosed homes), and O’Keefe & Giles’ not releasing the entire, unedited video.

    My point: has any mainstream “journalist” ever criticized CBS (60 Minutes), ABC (20/20) & NBC (Dateline NBC) for not releasing the networks’ unedited film & video of their sting operations? I don’t think so. Also, self-described investigative journalists don’t pick the objects of their exposes at random. That is, there’s a reason the journalists go after them & its not because the journalists expect to be giving them a clean bill of health and & bouquet of roses when all is said & done. And what difference does motive make if the facts revealed are clear & unambiguous as they are on the released O’Keefe & Giles’ videos?

    DWC (06ea11)

  17. Excellent article. It always helps to shine a light on the thrashing bottom-feeders as we slowly flush them down the toilet.

    I thought it was hilarious that he’s appointed himself the arbiter of what real journalism is. Speaking of that, has he EVER practiced it?

    InRussetShadows (1a2592)

  18. Either Rainey is lying, he is incompetent, or he didn’t really want to get O’Keefe’s side.

    Do I get to choose “all of the above”?

    The lying and weaseltry of the left never ceases to amaze. The left wing blogs STILL do not acknowledge that anything happened to AGW last week. All is on course for Copenhagen.

    The ACORN scandal exists only in the minds of people who know about it. A tree fell in the forest and the legacy media didn’t hear it.

    Mike K (addb13)

  19. Do not cease to hammer this dirty so-called columnist. We readers patiently wait for more on this story.

    Metallica (e4735c)

  20. [...] My Free Press: CA Attorney General Tells ACORN Not to Worry Patterico’s Pontifications: 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 [...]

    Lord Almighty, More ACORN Corruption… San Diego ACORN Caught on Tape Dumping Confidential Documents (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  21. [...] ACORN reading: Patterico’s Pontifications: 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 [...]

    Shocker: LA ACORN Says “People Do It All the Time” in California, Will Do Research for Child Sex Ring Operation, Has Had Meetings with Larry Flynt… Another O’Keefe-Giles Exposé (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  22. “Outcome-based, agenda journalism” at its bias worse.

    Great hit again, Patrick.

    redspotincd14 (85929e)

  23. Mr Rainey wrote:

    but, sorry folks, please don’t call this journalism.

    Absolutely right. If journalism is to be defined by the content of The Los Angeles Times and the other members of the professional media, then Mr O’Keefe’s work is absolutely not journalism; the exposé of ACORN would never have been Fit To Print if it hadn’t already been exposed to the public through the non-professional media.

    The Dana who wrote for the Kentucky Kernel, but was not a journalism major (474dfc)

  24. In related news, the NY Times is reporting that Holder’s Justice Department has ruled that federal funds should keep flowing to ACORN to avoid breaching existing contracts, something clearly not contemplated when Congress acted a couple of months ago.

    “Since 1994, Acorn, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has received about $53 million in federal aid, much of it grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for providing various services related to affordable housing.

    But the group has become a prime target for conservative critics, and on Oct. 1, President Obama signed into law a spending bill that included a provision that said no taxpayer money — including money authorized by previous legislation — could be “provided to” the group or its affiliates.

    A Housing and Urban Development Department lawyer asked the Justice Department whether the new law meant that pre-existing contracts with Acorn should be broken. And in a memorandum signed Oct. 23 and posted online this week, Mr. Barron said the government should continue to make payments to Acorn as required by such contracts.

    The new law “should not be read as directing or authorizing HUD to breach a pre-existing binding contractual obligation to make payments to Acorn or its affiliates, subsidiaries or allied organizations where doing so would give rise to contractual liability,” Mr. Barron wrote.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/28/us/politics/28acorn.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

    The decision was reached apparently in October and only recently released.

    What a freaking surprise!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  25. [...] and whining you would expect. I give a fuller synopsis of Rainey’s deceitful tactics at my blog. But what I want to bring to your attention is the following passage — in which, as best as I [...]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » LA Times’s James Rainey just making up quotes now? (e2f069)

  26. In a sense, Giles and O’Keefe are not “real” journalists, for the “real” journalists are simply bereft of decency, honesty and rationality. A “real” journalist would have simply ignored the story, as so many “real” journalists are doing about so many things. And so, sure, not real journalists, and thank heaven for that — and dare I say, we need a lot more unreal journalists and lot fewer “real” ones. If I was president I’d enquire as to what booze the two young’ins are drinking and ship all the “real” journalists a case, for obviously they need courage to separate the facts from the fiction “real” journalists propagate like cockroaches.

    Jim Hlavac (5d99c6)

  27. Today, James Rainey, the egg still fresh on his face, is digging furiously, with a column titled Guerrilla stings of ACORN don’t meet standards of journalism.

    Standards?! HA! That’s a joke coming from someone of the left who often dumbs down every standard imaginable. But Rainey is merely Example One Billion in how various forms of corruption are nurtured and then allowed to flourish when people of liberal bias are determining the agenda and the goodness or badness in the people and situations they’re scrutinizing.

    What I really dislike about such “progressives” is their habit of making a big stinkin’ slop pile of things, and then — like the stereotypical limousine liberal — packing their bags, getting in their car (or buying a one-way ticket and boarding a plane, train or bus) and moving the hell out of the morass they’ve had some hand in creating or exacerbating.

    Mark (411533)

  28. [...] there’s another story on Patterico about the LA Times’ James Rainey’s weird assertion that the ACORN stings [...]

    Postmodernism: Why the Legacy Media Is Losing their Legitimacy | The Crowbar (7acac5)

  29. [...] was nevertheless made to an L.A. Times reporter. I posted about this yesterday in an update to the James Rainey post, but I think it deserves a new post with further [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Rainey: O’Keefe Made That Statement . . . It Just Never Got Published. So You’ll Have to Trust Us on This One. (e4ab32)

  30. “Journalism” strikes again.

    Skip (d51408)

  31. He would be laughable if his kind were not so dangerous to the republic! His disrespect for the intelligence of the public is breathtaking. His absolute bias, disregard for facts and complete lack of any journalistic ethics is astounding! I wonder how it feels to be one of the leading causes in the publics complete loss of faith in the profession he claims to believe in and pursue but actually is destroying? May I suggest Mike Penner as a journalist he may want to emulate.

    Lee (f750cb)

  32. [...] My Free Press: CA Attorney General Tells ACORN Not to Worry Patterico’s Pontifications: 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 [...]

    Rush Limbaugh: “ACORN Is Obama… Obama Is ACORN” « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  33. [...] Christian: Eric Holder, ACORN, and Cloward Piven justice Patterico’s Pontifications: 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 [...]

    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)

  34. [...] Christian: Eric Holder, ACORN, and Cloward Piven justice Patterico’s Pontifications: 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 [...]

    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)

  35. [...] it didn’t end there. Rainey then wrote an ass-covering column that minimized his error — and which included a purported quote from O’Keefe. After I [...]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2009 (e4ab32)

  36. [...] L.A. Times Issues Months-Overdue Correction on Quote from Anti-ACORN Activist James O’Keefe and 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 [...]

    Breaking… Journalist James O’Keefe Arrested in Louisiana on Wiretapping Charges « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)

  37. [...] L.A. Times Issues Months-Overdue Correction on Quote from Anti-ACORN Activist James O’Keefe and 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 [...]

    No Bugs, No Wiretapping Devices: Media’s LA Exposé of James O’Keefe Mired in Speculations & False Reporting (video) « Frugal Café Blog Zone (a66042)


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