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Rolling Stone Rolls Off Cliff

Mag apologizes for rape story. Lawyer up, Jann Wenner!
<i>Rolling Stone</i> Rolls Off Cliff

Rolling Stone magazine apologizes for the UVA rape story. Excerpt:

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. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

If they were taking this seriously, heads would roll at that magazine. It is staggering that they made such a huge and damaging story rest on the word of a single person, whose point of view they agreed not to subject to questioning. They allowed their cultural politics to take priority over a search for the truth.

Think of the damage to the University of Virginia’s reputation, and to the accused fraternity! I regret too that I suppressed my own initial questions about the journalistic practices in the reporting of the Jackie story. Kudos again to reader Ryan Booth for calling B.S. on this story from the very beginning.

From the Washington Post‘s latest report on the unraveling scandal:

Earlier this week, Jackie revealed to friends for the first time the full name of her alleged attacker, a name she had never disclosed to anyone. But after looking into that person’s background, the group that had been among her closest supporters quickly began to raise suspicions about her account. The friends determined that the student that Jackie had named was not a member of Phi Kappa Psi and that other details about his background did not match up with information Jackie had disclosed earlier about her perpetrator.

The Post determined that the student Jackie named is not a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

Emily Renda was a U-Va. senior when she first met Jackie in the fall of 2013. In an interview, Renda said she immediately connected with Jackie as they discussed the bond they shared as rape survivors. Renda said she was raped her freshman year after attending a fraternity party.

Jackie told The Post that she bawled as she spoke to Renda about her own sexual assault.

Renda said Thursday that Jackie initially told her that she was attacked by five students at Phi Kappa Psi on Sept. 28, 2012. Renda said that she learned months later that Jackie had changed the number of attackers from five to seven.

“An advocate is not supposed to be an investigator, a judge or an adjudicator,” said Renda, a 2014 graduate who works for the university as a sexual violence awareness specialist. But as details emerge that cast doubt on Jackie’s account, Renda said, “I don’t even know what I believe at this point.”

Rolling Stone‘s reporting and editing was so reckless, and the consequences so damaging, that I don’t see how the magazine can avoid paying a massive libel settlement to the university and to the fraternity.

So, where do the University of Virginia and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity go to get their reputations back?

Finally, this from a UVA professor:




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