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Rolling Stone, Campus Rape, And A Collapse Of Journalistic Ethics

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Last fall, Rolling Stone published an explosive report about a woman who claimed that she had been raped at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia and, in the process, set off a firestorm that once again brought the issue of campus sexual assault to the forefront. The initial report, for example, led women to come forward with their own stories of sexual assault, and the University of Virginia itself responded by suspending the fraternity in question, and all other fraternities,  from all activities pending an investigation. Very quickly, though, the tale told by “Jackie,” the woman reportedly making the accusations, began to fall apart. The fraternity in question vehemently denied that the assault that she related ever took place, and follow-up reporting by other reporters uncovered facts that seemed to indicate that many of the details set forth in the story could not have happened the way that Jackie and Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the reporter behind the story, related them. In December, The Washington Post published report based on a detailed investigation that pretty much established that the assault that was described in the story never took place, and that even the friends of Jackie referenced in the original report had doubts about what their friend had been telling them for some time now. Within less than a month, the story that had appeared in Rolling Stone had been thoroughly discredited, and many observers were left wondering how such a basic breach of journalistic good practices and ethics could have happened in the first place.

Last night, the Columbia School of Journalism released the results of a months-long audit it performed of the original story, and neither Eardy or her editors come out looking good:

 Rolling Stone magazine retracted its article about a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity after the release of a report on Sunday that concluded the widely discredited piece was the result of failures at every stage of the process.

The report, published by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and commissioned by Rolling Stone, said the magazine failed to engage in “basic, even routine journalistic practice” to verify details of the ordeal that the magazine’s source, identified only as Jackie, described to the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

On Sunday, Ms. Erdely, in her first extensive comments since the article was cast into doubt, apologized to Rolling Stone’s readers, her colleagues and “any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a result of my article.”

In an interview discussing Columbia’s findings, Jann S. Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone, acknowledged the piece’s flaws but said that it represented an isolated and unusual episode and that Ms. Erdely would continue to write for the magazine. The problems with the article started with its source, Mr. Wenner said. He described her as “a really expert fabulist storyteller” who managed to manipulate the magazine’s journalism process. When asked to clarify, he said that he was not trying to blame Jackie, “but obviously there is something here that is untruthful, and something sits at her doorstep.”

The Columbia report cataloged a series of errors at Rolling Stone, finding that the magazine could have avoided trouble with the article if certain basic “reporting pathways” had been followed. Written by Steve Coll, the Columbia journalism school’s dean; Sheila Coronel, the dean of academic affairs; and Derek Kravitz, a postgraduate research scholar at the university, the report, at nearly 13,000 words, is longer than the 9,000-word article, “A Rape on Campus.”

After its publication last November, the article stoked a national conversation about sexual assault on college campuses and roiled the university.

The police in Charlottesville, Va., said last month they had “exhausted all investigative leads” and found “no substantive basis” to support the article’s depiction of the assault. Jackie did not cooperate with the police and declined to be interviewed for the Columbia report. She also declined, through her lawyer, Palma Pustilnik, to be interviewed for this article. She is no longer in touch with some of the advocates who first brought her to the attention of Rolling Stone, said Emily Renda, a rape survivor working on sexual assault issues at the University of Virginia.

In a statement responding to the report, the University of Virginia’s president, Teresa A. Sullivan, described the article as irresponsible journalism that “unjustly damaged the reputations of many innocent individuals and the University of Virginia.”

Mr. Wenner said Will Dana, the magazine’s managing editor, and the editor of the article, Sean Woods, would keep their jobs.

In an interview, Mr. Dana said he had reached many of the same conclusions as the Columbia report in his own efforts to examine the article, but he disagreed with the report’s assertion that the magazine had staked its reputation on the word of one source. “I think if you take a step back, our reputation rests on a lot more than this one story,” he said.

After the Post had effectively decimated the factual allegations of the original story, the conclusions of this report aren’t really all that surprising. Notwithstanding the allegations made by “Jackie” in the article, there was simply no evidence that there had ever been an event at the fraternity in question during the time period that she claimed that the assault had occurred. Her story was also discredited by the fact that her description of the building that the attack allegedly occurred in, and her tale of how she finally managed to escape, given the fact that pretty much every single fact she related in this part of the story did not match up with the physical layout of the fraternity house, or apparently of any other building on campus. The friends to whom Jackie had related some details of this attack prior to ever talking to the reporter were incomplete and contradictory to the point where several of them doubted that an attack had ever happened at all, at least not on the campus of the University of Virginia. At one point Jackie became alarmed when Erdely told her that she would be following up with others to confirm details of the story, including possibly the accuser or others affiliated with the fraternity where this attack allegedly took place. Instead of seeing this as a red flag, as she should have, Erdely apparently went along with the request not to contact others about the claims she was making.

Indeed, there’s nothing in the report that can be characterized as being the slightest bit redeeming for Eardy or Rolling Stone:

The first misstep during the reporting process, the Columbia report said, was that Ms. Erdely did not seek to independently contact three of Jackie’s friends, who were quoted in the piece, using pseudonyms, expressing trepidation at the idea of Jackie telling the authorities that she had been assaulted. The quotes came from Jackie’s recollection of the conversation. Those friends later cast doubt on Jackie’s story in interviews with The Washington Post and denied saying the words Rolling Stone had attributed to them. The three told the report’s authors that they would have made the same denials to Rolling Stone if they had been contacted.

Rolling Stone, the report said, also did not provide the fraternity with enough information to adequately respond to questions from the magazine. Later, when the article had been published, the fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, said it did not host a function on the weekend Jackie had specified.

And the magazine failed to identify Jackie’s attacker, the report said. It was content to give him a pseudonym, Drew, when Jackie resisted Ms. Erdely’s request to help find him. The fraternity, The Post and the police have been unable to find anyone who matches Jackie’s description of Drew.

The reporting errors by Ms. Erdely were compounded by insufficient scrutiny and skepticism from editors, the report said. And the fact-checking process relied heavily on four hours of conversations with Jackie.

Ms. Erdely, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone who has also written for GQ and The New Yorker, declined to be interviewed for this article. She said in her apology that reading the report was “a brutal and humbling experience.” She also acknowledged that she did not do enough to verify Jackie’s account.

Rolling Stone’s fundamental mistake, Mr. Dana said, was in suspending any skepticism about Jackie’s account because of the sensitivity of the issue. “We didn’t think through all the implications of the decisions that we made while reporting the story, and we never sort of allowed for the fact that maybe the story we were being told was not true,” he said. That was compounded by the fact that any reporting on any purported crime that has not been reported to the authorities is difficult, he said.

“Ultimately, we were too deferential to our rape victim,” Mr. Woods, the article’s editor, said in the report. “We honored too many of her requests in our reporting. We should have been much tougher, and in not doing that, we maybe did her a disservice.”

Ms. Erdely, Mr. Wenner said, “was willing to go too far in her effort to try and protect a victim of apparently a horrible crime. She dropped her journalistic training, scruples and rules and convinced Sean to do the same. There is this series of falling dominoes.”

There’s really not much one can say beyond the report itself. Obviously, Erdely, her editors, and the entire magazine dropped the ball here in a most egregious, some would say outrageous manner. It’s still not clear why it happened, but one can imagine that it was likely the case that they became too sympathetic to the accuser that was the subject of their story to the point where they simply abandoned the need for journalists to approach a story like this with the kind of objectivity that requires them to, at least initially, be skeptical about what they’re being told. At the very least, steps should have been taken to attempt to verify the claims that Jackie was making regarding the attack itself. That investigation would have uncovered discrepancies in her story that should have led them to go back to her to try to figure out what the truth might actually be here. Doing so would have endangered the apparently, “friendly” relationship that the magazine in general, and Erdely in particular, had developed with Jackie but given the nature of the allegations she was making it was a necessary step that any decent journalist has to take. Instead of doing all of that, though, Erdely in particular appears to have become an advocate for the subject of her story, and the piece read like something that would be written by someone on a political mission than a journalist trying to get at the truth.

There’s no doubt that sexual assault on college campuses is a serious problem that deserves better attention that it often receives. Among other things, the manner in which universities often try to sweep these stories under the rug by conducting secret internal disciplinary investigations rather than referring the matter to the police as it should has the potential to harm both victims and those accused of such crimes. As with every other report of a crime, though, that does not mean that the allegations of a victim should be accepted as face value or that there should not be further investigation to attempt to verify the claims that they make. A criminal trial conducted after such an investigation would be an affront to justice, and the same goes for a journalist’s “investigation” of such a story. The only good thing, perhaps, is that the original story never purported to release the identity of any of the alleged attackers, because what can only imagine  would have happened in that case. In any event, whether it was because she went into the story with an agenda from the start or because she let her sympathy for Jackie’s story get to her, Eardely has ended up harming actual victims of sexual assault by providing fodder for those who will claim that those allegations are often fabricated after the fact. In addition to every else that has resulted from this travesty, that fact alone makes what happened here even more egregious.

Going forward, there’s still much that could come from this disaster. Notwithstanding her apology, which notably does not include an apologize for the unnamed “attack,” Eardely remains employed at Rolling Stone as do her editors. That alone seems to be rather egregious given the nature of what happened here, and the fact that the magazine seems to think that what basically amounts to a promise not to do this again is all that’s necessary. Instead, I would suggest that it will be a long time before anyone should take any reporting from Rolling Stone seriously again, especially if any of the players involved in this story are connected to that reporting. Additionally, Rolling Stone may find itself subjected to libel suits in the not too distant future, a possibility that Eugene Volokh explored in a post back in December and in a follow up post last night. Beyond that, though, it strikes me that there are lessons for all journalists in what happened here. Whether your a national reporter or just a local crime reporter, it’s crucial that you don’t simply take what you’re being told at face value. Follow up, investigate, test the premises of the story, and question your sources critically. If you fail to do that, you’re just going to end up embarressing yourself and your profession.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Cheryl Rofer says:

    There’s no doubt that sexual assault on college campuses is a serious problem that deserves better attention that it often receives. Among other things, the manner in which universities often try to sweep these stories under the rug by conducting secret internal disciplinary investigations rather than referring the matter to the police as it should has the potential to harm both victims and those accused of such crimes.

    Colleges and universities are required, by law, to investigate if a student requests them to. They are also, by law, required to keep the proceedings secret.

    The student may (may – that’s in the law too) also go to the police. Many decide not to.

    The intent of these laws is to allow an investigation without criminal charges and to protect students’ reputations on all sides. The setting-up of a parallel system to the justice system and insisting that colleges and universities maintain and use that system, without clear guidance on how that system interacts with the justice system, is a problem for everyone.

    But it’s the law, not the desire of colleges and universities to sweep the stories under the rug, although it has sometimes turned out that way.

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  2. legion says:

    Mr. Wenner said Will Dana, the magazine’s managing editor, and the editor of the article, Sean Woods, would keep their jobs.

    This is really the problem. Fish like this stink from the head down. We’ve seen it all over the place in police departments and corporations, and it’s the same thing here: Those in charge don’t take their responsibilities seriously. They themselves are not capable of living up the the expected standards of their industry, and they create an atmosphere where lapses in professionalism and attention to detail in those below them are not only accepted, but the norm. They don’t notice that their organizations are failing to meet even schoolhouse standards for performance.

    Then, when something hits the news that embarrasses the organization on a national level, they shrug their shoulders and say “Who coulda known?” and the process repeats.

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  3. Slugger says:

    I don’t think that Rolling Stone is that important of a venue. I stopped reading it in 1970 or so when it had clearly overrun its 15 minutes of relevance. Let’s focus on the impactful media. No one was fired for cheerleading the war against Iraq for example.
    And yes, campus rape is a big deal. Whether it happens to 20% or 2%, it is completely unacceptable. And yes, speaking as a fraternity brother and now the father of a daughter, the frat culture has an unacceptable Madonna/whore vision of women; twenty year old men under the influence of alcohol are liable to make poor ethical choices without outside wiser counsel.

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  4. Pinky says:

    @legion: In the article above, Woods is quoted as saying, “Ultimately, we were too deferential to our rape victim”. If he’d at least said “alleged”, I could hope that he’d learned his lesson. Or maybe calling her a rape accuser? He goes on to say, “we honored too many of her requests in our reporting. We should have been much tougher, and in not doing that, we maybe did her a disservice.” You did the fraternity, the school, and your readers a disservice.

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  5. Facebones says:

    The worst part is that this article will be held up as proof by the MRA idiots – for at least 20 years – that all women are liars who fake rape claims to smear innocent men.

    The fact that this happens extremely rarely is immaterial. One person did it and the reporting was botched. Therefore, you can’t trust those hysterical women.

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  6. Pinky says:

    @Slugger:

    I don’t think that Rolling Stone is that important of a venue.

    I generally agree with you, but this story did garner a lot of attention before the questions about it were raised. Rolling Stone is, or was, prominent enough to inspire broad reaction. In the continuum between 60 Minutes and some dude’s blog, a RS story is somewhere near the middle, neither ensured of an impact nor assumed to be nonsense.

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  7. gVOR08 says:

    While this is reprehensible, and people should have been fired, I’ll save any serious outrage for the likes of Judith Miller and her bosses. Her stenographing for the Bush administration had a lot more serious consequences than a bunch of frats being temporarily unfairly punished.

    The press are, for the most part, lazy careerists who value controversy and drama over truth and fairness. The Rolling Stone UVA story is one of their lesser sins.

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  8. C. Clavin says:

    Whether your a national reporter or just a local crime reporter, it’s crucial that you don’t simply take what you’re being told at face value. Follow up, investigate, test the premises of the story, and question your sources critically. If you fail to do that, you’re just going to end up embarrassing yourself and your profession.

    You mean like the Nat’l press did in the lead-up to the Iraq War? Or in the fight over Obamacare? Or in stories about Climate Change?
    Today’s 4th Estate is a joke. A nat’l tragedy.
    The RS story is just a symptom of a wide-spread disease.

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  9. Gustopher says:

    Quite simply, people should be fired. Bad reporting will be cited by those who have some vested interest in hiding something as if it is all a hoax — its destructive to society as a whole.

    MRA slime already are pointing to the Rolling Stone report to claim that women make false rape claims all the time.

    I think it is reasonable to compare this to the reporting in the buildup to the Iraq War (except no one seemed to have taken any lessons from that, good or bad), or the Bush AWOL papers. Reporters weren’t checking their sources, and just weren’t doing their jobs.

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  10. Jack says:

    “@Cheryl Rofer:

    The intent of these laws is to allow an investigation without criminal charges and to protect students’ reputations on all sides. The setting-up of a parallel system to the justice system and insisting that colleges and universities maintain and use that system, without clear guidance on how that system interacts with the justice system, is a problem for everyone.

    Can anyone explain to me why a 17-23 year old student on a college campus should have more rights and avenues afforded to them via this parallel system of justice? Should the estimated 21 million college and university students be afforded special justice over the remaining 290 million Americans?

    Colleges and Universities need to get out of the criminal justice system completely and leave it to the “professionals”. If/when the accused is found guilty in a court of law, then the college and/or university can take appropriate action.

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  11. @Cheryl Rofer:

    It seems to me that this creates a perverse incentive. Colleges want this to be as quiet as possible or risk tarnishing their reputation, subsequently harming their enrollment and endowment.

    I understand, and applaud, the desire to protect the victim, but I worry that going to this extreme to do so inhibits progress in any investigation.

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  12. @Pinky:

    My first thought when I read that was, “they still believe her story.”

    Incredible. Says a lot about their level of skepticism and inquiry at Rolling Stone.

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  13. Hal_10000 says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    One quibble: colleges and universities are required to report how much crime is going on and the nature of such crimes, even if they keep the personal details secret.

    Rolling Stone’s response is pretty awful. They are claiming they were taken in by a skilled liar. Well, guess what guys? A lot of stories involve people lying — maybe it’s the victim; maybe it’s the perpetrator. Figuring out who is telling the truth is, like, your job.

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  14. Modulo Myself says:

    @Pinky:

    Not so sure about that. Story was crazy and a fabrication. But UVA is apparently like Dartmouth. It has a terrible reputation caused by actual events and not feminazi lies.

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  15. Modulo Myself says:

    The lack of firing is surprising. Unless the editors and writer weren’t exactly as confident with Jackie as they claim and they’re taking one for the team. There’s a lot of good reporting to be done on campus rape. It’s not Iraq in that regard. I do wonder if Jackie’s story was pushed because it was sensational despite the qualms of Erdedy.

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  16. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Jack and others:

    Colleges and universities would be only too happy to get out of this parallel system. I’m on the Board of Trustees of one of them, so I am quite aware of this. But the regulatory/legal system insists on these investigations, and colleges and universities are seriously penalized (financially and via publicity) if they don’t have a procedure and do things “correctly.”

    And yes, they do report crimes, which is a reasonable legal requirement.

    The way to end this dual system is to change the laws. Colleges and universities can’t do that.

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  17. grumpy realist says:

    The fact that all the so-called “professionals” involved with this fiasco are still employed at Rolling Stone show exactly how much regard they actually have for uncovering the truth. Zip. I’d compare them to the National Enquirer except the National Enquirer would have done a better job.

    So what is this gullible little idiot going to do when she runs into someone who claims to have been kidnapped by the CIA and turned into a brain-washed sex slave?

    This is the problem with the Fourth Estate now in the US. Most of the real news reporters left the field in disgust when newsrooms were axing all the foreign correspondent jobs, cutting salaries to the bare bones, and turning everything into People-lite.

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  18. Modulo Myself says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I agree with everything you say about people-lite. But a lot of what has gone wrong with journalism is due to journalists mouthing the official line while writing about institutions like the CIA and ignoring everything else.

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  19. DrDaveT says:

    @legion:

    We’ve seen it all over the place in police departments and corporations, and it’s the same thing here: Those in charge don’t take their responsibilityies seriously.

    Fixed that for you.

    Our leaders (of all sorts) have completely forgotten what it means to be responsible for something. It means that, if it goes wrong, you both take the blame and are assigned the task of making it right, to the extent possible.

    I still remember the day that George W. Bush told America that he took full responsibility for the farcical screwups by various federal agencies before, during, and after hurricane Katrina. I was heartened; I eagerly awaited the following sentences in which he would explain the tangible form that responsibility would take. Would he resign? Would he contribute from his personal fortune to the dispossessed and homeless? Would he devote his post-Presidential career to undoing the harm and helping make sure it never happened again?

    Of course not. He did nothing at all, beyond mouthing the words. What did he think those words meant?

    Back on the initial topic, I’m not sure why people expect journalists (or, more precisely, their employers) to be either ethical or careful. Once “news” became a competitive private-sector entertainment industry, it was inevitable that the demands of audience share would eventually drive out considerations of professionalism. Fast and exciting sells soap; methodical and factual does not.

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  20. Modulo Myself says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    The more I read, the more suspicious I get. The fact-checker says that the sourcing of the story was made above her pay grade. The legal department’s investigation of the story was not disclosed to CJR.

    Erdely did a terrible job reporting the story. Perhaps she is a credulous idiot. Or perhaps she had no confidence in the story but given that long-form magazine writing as a career is tanking like everything else associated with publishing, felt she had no choice but to go with the angle that the higher pay grade wanted. Still it’s weak-minded BS.

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  21. Mikey says:

    The least surprising news so far today:

    Fraternity pursuing legal action against Rolling Stone

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  22. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    When did Rolling Stone become a source of real news? When I was young, it was about what TMZ is now. Mind you, I like celebrity gossip/music features as much as the next guy, but…

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  23. Pinky says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Fast and exciting sells soap; methodical and factual does not.

    Methodical and factual sells more soap in the long run. The problem is, slightly faster and more exciting always sells more in the short run. All the benefits of a well-earned good reputation but with a little more splash. Just like saving money is the best strategy in the long run, but credit cards are more fun. Losing weight feels good in the long run, but marshmallow peeps taste good today. Long-term relationships versus quick hook-ups.

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  24. C. Clavin says:

    This is why you see so many news aggregation websites, and so few outlets doing any real reporting. Real Journalism is expensive. Could RS have chased down the 3 sources? Sure…but it would have taken time and money. Easier for Wenner to now sit back and play victim. It’s worked for Republicans for years.

    We are not bigots, we are the victims of bigotry. We are not intolerant, we are the victim of intolerance.

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  25. John425 says:

    Main Stream Journalism is at an all-time low. Their “Reporters” merely reproduce the PR releases handed to them and call that investigative journalism. When the daily news is too bland or of little interest, they make shit up, like Brian Williams did at NBC. Or go on a rant regardless of the newsworthiness. Just like the commentators at MSNBC.

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  26. Mikey says:

    @Mikey: Damn you, WTOP, for changing the linked story. Why would you do that?

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  27. Tillman says:

    @DrDaveT: @Pinky: I think it’s a bit different from either of you: methodical, fact-based news will always have an audience, but that audience will never be as big as that for sensationalistic news. Hell, you’ll catch consumers of good news with the poorly-sourced stuff as well with the right headline and tantalizing mix of trash.

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  28. Moderate Mom says:

    Sabrina Erdely suffers from a confirmation bias as regards men, fraternities, Southern schools and rape culture. Because of her bias, she went shopping for the most lurid story she could find. She looked at Harvard, Yale, Penn and a number of other schools, but none of them “felt right”. Then she found Jackie, her perfect victim, and UVA, her perfect campus.

    In her zeal to prove what she just knew had to be true, using the most sensational story she could find, she trashed a fraternity, a school, and some school administrators, by name, that support women who have been victimized, and caused untold damage to the women that are truly assaulted on college campuses. And then she issued a non-apology apology that didn’t bother to apologize to the people that suffered the most damage from this work of fiction, the men of the fraternity that she and Jackie accused.

    If there was any justice in this world, Sabrina Erdely and her editors would be run out of Journalism.

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  29. Modulo Myself says:

    @John425: Or like Bill O’Reilly or your average climate skeptic, anti-Obamacare hack, supply-side moron, or neocon with paranoid fantasies about the Middle East. What’s notable about Rolling Stone is that they admitted the story was bogus, and they did it pretty quickly.

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  30. DrDaveT says:

    @Tillman:

    methodical, fact-based news will always have an audience, but that audience will never be as big as that for sensationalistic news

    Sure. But another way of saying that is “Methodical, fact-based news will not compete directly with sensationalistic news outlets”. The Economist still exists, but it doesn’t have much market share and it doesn’t have a time slot on MSNBC or CNN or Fox News or a ‘broadcast’ network. Most people are never exposed to its contents, either directly or indirectly.

    It’s no accident that my favorite bloggers don’t post every day. (In fact, my favorite blog of all has only seen 3 or 4 posts in its 2-year history.) The demands of timeliness and volume are incompatible with quality. It is a feature of OTB that no one of its authors posts every day. If they are feeling pressure to find things to post in order to keep up the volume, I encourage them to chill out and choose their targets more selectively. If that causes problems with ad revenue for the site… well, we’re back to my original assertion.

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  31. grumpy realist says:

    Yah, they’re clueless….

    A whole bunch of circle-the-wagons and rationalization. I don’t like frats, but a nice big fat whopping lawsuit is just what these clowns at RS deserve. If you don’t want to put the time and care into researching your stories carefully, then don’t write the articles.

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  32. Grewgills says:

    @gVOR08:

    The Rolling Stone UVA story is one of their lesser sins.

    As others have pointed out, this story will do considerable harm to the victims of campus sexual assault. It is being used and will be used as ”evidence” that claims of campus abuse are made up by women seeking attention and special treatment. It isn’t on the scale of the Iraq war stenography, but it is doing considerable harm.

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  33. Tyrell says:

    @C. Clavin: What we have is a news media that is mainly entertainment and propaganda. The fact that this woman did not go to the police and file charges should have been a giveaway that something was wrong. All facts should have been checked thoroughly before one word written. I would say that Rolling Stone’s future is short. It would seem that some laws were broken here.

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  34. DrDaveT says:

    @Tyrell:

    The fact that this woman did not go to the police and file charges should have been a giveaway that something was wrong.

    You can’t possibly be that clueless about rape, can you?

    There were all kinds of red flags associated with this ‘story’. That wasn’t one of them.

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  35. wr says:

    @Tyrell: ” It would seem that some laws were broken here.”

    Name one.

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  36. bill says:

    maybe the stone is in it’s death throes and needed something to sell print? it’s not like they’ve been relevant since the hst and pj days.
    not to veer off topic but look at the common thread of the last few “rape” fantasies concocted by the media ( this one, that dunham chick and the columbia u.one) and spoon fed to the eager masses to rile up the lame “war on women” bs.
    all the fake perps were privileged white guys, the msm just loves that kinda stuff- too bad they were all faked and had to be swept under the rug.
    if you want to take a walk down memory lane we could toss in the duke lacrosse scammer ( who killed her boyfriend a few years ago).
    now what will all the apologies in the world do for the alleged perps? and the credibility to those women who actually are raped?

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  37. wr says:

    @bill: Thank God you’re here to remind us there’s no such thing as rape, that priveleged white boys never do anything wrong, and all those sluts are just trying to trap guys into marriage. With a bold crusader for truth like you, we need never fear being fooled again.

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  38. John425 says:

    @Modulo Myself: … they admitted the story was bogus, and they did it pretty quickly.

    Not hardly- keep apologizing for the left wing hacks- National Socialists, International Socialists and other anti-capitalists, anti-democracy tools. You’ll soon be frothing at the mouth when people of freedom reject your slop.

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  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Obviously, this thread is just screaming for me to weigh in.

    1) If I had a son of college age, I’d spell out to him some facts of modern college life. For one, if he’s accused of rape, he’s pretty much guilty until proven innocent — and even then, he’s still stigmatized. Then I’d explain to him that in consensual sexual encounters, the responsibility is evenly split between both partners. But as they both get more and more intoxicated, the responsibility shifts to him. Even if he’s drunker than she is, he’s fully responsible for both their conduct, and she’s not responsible for any of it.

    2) Let’s look at the “one in five women are sexually assaulted during their four years of college” statistic, and apply it to the University of Virgina. According to their web site, UVA has has 15,100 undergraduates (let’s round it down to 15,000), and 54% of them are women. That words out to 8100 women.

    If one in five women are sexually assaulted during their college careers, that means that 1,620 of those women will be assaulted. And if each woman is in a four-year program, that means that 405 women will be assaulted each year.

    That is more than one a day.

    So, how does that stack up to reality? In 2013, UVA police had 15 sexual assaults reported to them.

    Assuming both numbers are accurate, then for every sexual assault reported to campus police, 26 went unreported.

    Let’s assume the “1 in 5” number is accurate, at least as far as UVA is concerned. What would be appropriate responses to such a fact?

    1) No parent in their right mind would send their daughter to UVA.

    2) The campus police force should have its budget expanded radically.

    3) The local police should have its resources expanded radically, and have a huge presence on campus.

    One final point: colleges should recognize that sexual assault is a serious crime, not just an offense committed by the young and foolish, who need to be educated and corrected. And they should get out of managing such cases like that. They need to be handed over to the criminal justice system, who can impose far more appropriate penalties for such serious crimes than suspension or expulsion.

    Rapists are criminals, who commit horrific crimes. And they need to be held accountable for those crimes. Colleges simply can’t do that, and need to stop trying.

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  40. bill says:

    @wr: read whatever you like into that- a stroll through the fbi crime stats wouldn’t hurt you would it?
    how is faking a story about rape “crusading” anyways? they were all made up and are a disservice to women who actually are raped.

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  41. Eric Florack says:

    what journalistic ethics? This stuff has been going on for quite some time, and now suddenly that it’s been cut out again, it’s become fodder? Doesn’t anybody remember Duke University?

    it’s as I said earlier today.
    see Jason Mc Whorter saying in part, out of all places the Daily Beast

    To many, the Columbia Journalism School report on Rolling Stone’s account of an alleged University of Virginia rape case will seem to be a story about media addicted to seeking sensationalism over accuracy. But the whole sordid affair has been about something much larger: the idea that the pursuit of justice can be separated from facts; that metaphorical truth can be more important than literal truth.

    Well, it certainly has been to left as politicians for years and years. That’s how these things get started. That for example is George Soros dumping a couple of million dollars into the riots in Ferguson, to fan the flames.
    This is not to say that it doesn’t happen on both sides of the political isle. But it shouldn’t escape your notice that it does tend to happen more often when people have the power of government backing them. There is the key. And it is a key that you often gets ignored.
    Another example of story over fact, is the laurels being thrown at the current occupant of the White House over the around deal which even the president admits is doing nothing more than kicking the can down the road, and that’s assuming the Iranians hold up their end of the deal.
    Let’s face it, this was all about establishing a legacy, and the White House understanding that the press is all ready and willing to help him do it by spreading the myth, and not the fact.
    A few other examples… A.pizza place in Indiana that has never done catering, decided to not cater to someone because of their religious beliefs…. And the world supposedly is hurt by this.
    Anti gun laws work so well, and yet the places with the strictest gun laws on the planet, say, Chicago and Detroit for example, are sheer slaughterhouses. our economy is recovering splendidly we are told, yet 92 million Americans are still out of work, haven’t given up looking for a job in this Obama economy.
    Now we find out the salt is not as bad for us as they said it was. Wait, I thought this was settled science, like global warming. By the way, hand me my parka, would you?
    We were told that we can’t drill our way to less expensive fuel. Yet the fracking boom has brought fuel prices down in spite of the best efforts of this administration.
    If you look closely, you may notice a trend here. We’re being lied to, kiddies.

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