Unflappable Los Angeles media watchdog Patterico reminds us why we're lucky to have James Rainey to kick around. L.A. Times media columnist Rainey is the Gale Gordon of newspapermen: an absurd figure whose absurdity comes from his taking himself with absolute, scowling seriousness. No matter how much ridiculous writing he generates or how many ethical pickles he gets himself into, Rainey is never less than 110 percent convinced of his own rectitude.
And when you know you're right, you don't need to check any facts. Back when the still-unfolding ACORN hidden camera story started breaking, Rainey condemned the conservative media's unseemly race to the bottom. If he had been content merely to bury all signs of life under the reliably heavy snowdrifts of his prose (sample: "No legitimate news organization can claim editorial integrity if it merely regurgitates information from political activists without subjecting the material to serious scrutiny"), Rainey would have been OK. Sadly, in his zeal to exonerate ACORN, Rainey uncritically regurgitated some self-exculpatory quotes from local ACORN employee Lavelle Stewart, who asserted that she had sent Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe away after they claimed to be, respectively, a prostitute trafficking in underage sex slaves and a pimp with congressional aspirations.
Now the James and Hannah show has come to the City of the Angels. Patterico, who was skeptical of Stewart's claims from the start, takes up the narrative:
When Rainey failed to respond, I contacted [Andrew] 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?
The new video is up at Big Government, and as always, I find it kind of moving the way these ladies at ACORN seem to treat Hannah Giles with real sisterly affection. Here, when Stewart senses Giles is depressed, she gives the fake human trafficker a nice you-go-girl pep talk. (She also offers to provide research and networking assistance to Giles and O'Keefe in setting up their "international sex business.")
Last year, Nick Gillespie had fun with a gaseous Rainey column on editorial cartoonists, which reminds me of the first time I fell afoul of Rainey—by making fun of a completely awful Times editorial cartoon in Rainey's glaring, glowering presence.