The Rolling Stone story about a student named Jackie who said she was ganged raped at a fraternity house at the University of Virginia is a textbook example of journalistic malpractice. Rolling Stone got just about everything wrong. For openers, there was no gang rape. The reporter didn’t even try to talk to the alleged rapists. And now, a review of the botched story by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism concludes that Rolling Stone failed to engage in “basic, even routine journalistic practice.”
But something has been missing from the stories I’ve seen. We know that Jackie made the whole thing up. So shouldn’t there be outrage over the pain and suffering she caused? Incredibly, the editor of the article, Sean Woods says Rolling Stone was unfair – to Jackie.
“Ultimately, we were too deferential to our rape victim,” Woods told the Columbia University investigators.
Rape victim? Who’s he talking about? Jackie lied, remember?
Then he said, “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.” (Emphasis added)
So Rolling Stone believes it did Jackie a disservice — and not that Jackie did a lot of innocent people a disservice? Is this a joke?
And when a reporter asked a Columbia University professor who helped write the report if Rolling Stone’s publisher was on to something when he said part of the blame lies with Jackie, the professor responded: “We don’t believe that in this case Jackie was to blame.”
It’s true that Jackie may not be to blame for Rolling Stone’s abysmal journalism, but Jackie most certainly is to blame for starting the fire that caused so much trouble.
Journalists who are rightly bashing Rolling Stone apparently don’t want to discuss the role of political correctness in all of this. Liberal journalists and academics don’t want to put a supposed victim of rape in the crosshairs even when she’s not really a victim of rape.
Jackie isn’t talking. She didn’t cooperate with Columbia University or the police who investigated her story. She’s the elephant in the room and just about everybody in the world of journalism is making believe Rolling Stone is the one and only villain.
Where are the editorials demanding that she be expelled from school? If she broke the law, shouldn’t she be prosecuted? There’s talk that while the gang rape never occurred something else might have happened to Jackie. Yes, and maybe nothing else has happened to Jackie. She is a liar, after all. She’s not entitled to any benefits of any doubts.
In a statement responding to the Columbia report, University of Virginia’s president Teresa Sullivan described the Rolling Stone article as irresponsible journalism that “unjustly damaged the reputations of many innocent individuals and the University of Virginia.”
Shame on her too. Not a word from the president about how Jackie damaged the reputations of many innocent individuals and the University of Virginia.
Not a word.
Rolling Stone is guilty of monumentally bad journalism. We can all agree on that. But the media watchdogs are guilty too – guilty of cowardice, a cowardice that is so pathetic that they even pander to liars — as long as the liars are women who make claims against men — no matter how outrageous or false.
If a male college student made up some phony story about how a young woman on campus hit him over the head with a beer bottle, the media, the president of the University, and the police wouldn’t let him get away with it.
But Jackie is off limits.
That’s because in a liberal PC culture, women are seen as victims of male oppression. So what if Jackie wasn’t really raped? A mere technicality. She could have been. After all, rape on America’s college campuses is a “plague” — a word used by a former Washington Post ombudsman on CNN. Except, that’s another lie. There is no plague. There is no epidemic of campus rape. Google “Myth of Campus Rape” and you’ll quickly find serious thinkers, scholars like Heather MacDonald and Christina Hoff Sommers, who put a lie to that piece of feminist propaganda.
What we’re seeing here is how little liberal journalists and liberal presidents of places like the University of Virginia really think about women. They’ll look the other way when they lie. They won’t treat them like grownups who should be held accountable. Because if they did, Jackie would have been told to pack her bags and leave school a long time ago.