On November 19, Rolling Stone magazine published an lengthy article detailing the brutal gang rape of a young woman in a fraternity house at the University of Virginia. As the story circulated, feminists found it a powerful story for everything they hate about men, college administrators went to DEFCON LEVENTY… an a small number of people began to question the story because of what the reporter didn’t do in the way of documentation. (Perhaps the best source is Richard Bradley’s Shot in the Dark blog, he’s certainly the guy attracting the most Jezebel hate.)
A few days ago Bradly noted that the reporter was suddenly incommunicado and Rolling Stone was being circumspect in their defense:
This is a crucial statement in what it says—and what it does not say.
It does not say, “We stand by our story 100 percent.” It does not say, “Jackie’s story is true.”
It says, “We found Jackie to be entirely credible and courageous, and we are proud to have given her disturbing story the attention it deserves.”
This is sleight of hand. Rolling Stone is shifting the discussion away from errors it might have made in its reporting, edition, fact-checking and editorial judgment—away, in other words, from its own responsibility—onto Jackie.
This is “her” story. It is “one woman’s account”a characterization which absolves the magazine for its failure to corroborate that account. Rolling Stone found her to be “entirely credible”—a word which is subtly different than, say, “truthful.”
In other words: This is all on Jackie. Not us, for failing to corroborate her story.
Now via The Washington Post:
A lawyer for the University of Virginia fraternity whose members were accused of a brutal gang rape said Friday that the organization will release a statement rebutting the claims printed in a Rolling Stone article about the incident. Several of the woman’s close friends and campus sex assault awareness advocates said that they also doubt the published account.
Officials close to the fraternity said that the statement will indicate that Phi Kappa Psi did not host a party on Sept. 28, 2012, the night that a university student named Jackie alleges she was invited to a date party, lured into an upstairs room and was then ambushed and gang-raped by seven men who were rushing the fraternity.
The officials also said that no members of the fraternity were employed at the university’s Aquatic Fitness Center during that time frame — a detail Jackie provided in her account to Rolling Stone and in interviews with The Washington Post — and that no member of the house matches the description detailed in the Rolling Stone account.
But the Post buries the lede:
Will Dana, Rolling Stone’s managing editor, also released a statement with new doubt. “In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced,” he said in a statement.
This is a rather late date for the Rolling Stone to be discovering discrepancies and we don’t really know what those discrepancies are. We have to assume they are more significant that the low level stuff the fraternity’s lawyer tossed out today. This is just another example of the fake but accurate culture that exists in a media that tries to drive a social narrative rather than actually report the facts.