MRCTV’s Dan Joseph went to the University of Virginia to speak to students about the discredited Rolling Stone piece that delved into the alleged gang rape of Jackie and the school’s response to it. To make a long story short, the school, Jackie’s friends, and Greek life are portrayed in a very negative light.
To make matter worse, the story devolved into an absolute disaster. Other publications, like the New Republic and the Washington Post, noted the shoddy journalism by RS’s Sabrina Rubin Erdely, specifically when it became known that she didn’t contact any of the alleged attackers. Rolling Stone also botched the apology, saying they had “misplaced” trust in Jackie before tweaking it to put responsibility on them for getting it right.
So, what did Dan Joseph find out when he interviewed students on campus? Unsurprisingly, he found that students were angered by RS’s awful journalism. Some felt that this exercise in journalistic negligence didn’t take away from the validity of Jackie’s claims. Then again, while other students refused to question her claims, they didn’t take it as absolute fact either.
One female student said UVA never struck her as a school infested by rape culture. She also felt RS was more concerned with tearing down UVA than supporting Jackie–and that she doesn’t feel for her safety when she goes to parties.
One of the people Joseph interviewed was none other than Alex Stock (“Andy”) from Erdely’s article who noted that the story–and how it reflects on the school–is just not true. He also mentioned that his portrayal in the piece, along with his friends Kathryn Hendley (“Cindy”) Ryan Duffin (“Randall”), is also patently false. Erdely reported them as being distant, apathetic, and more concerned about their social standing at the school on the night of Jackie’s alleged attack. It was actually Jackie who didn’t want to go to the authorities. He also said the school isn’t the rape capital of the country.
When Joseph asked if the accused deserve due process, another female student said, “Well, I think that we need to be careful of believing them over believing the survivor.”
Two other female students in the video noted that there’s anger on campus at RS from the fraternities for not doing their job in checking all the facts; others were mad at RS’s botched apology.
Another freshman said it’s been a stressful time, and noted that not everyone knows the full gravity of the situation.
Well, bad journalism can do that.
Another student mentioned that it’s probably the “darkest semester” he’s experienced since enrolling at the school.
Yet, even when the story began to collapse, some feminists refused to acknowledge the journalistic malpractice that had taken place here. Enter Feministing’s Chloe Angyal, who actually had the audacity to thank Erdely for writing this article. Oh, and society hates women, or something:
I have to thank you, Sabrina, for writing this. I think you've done a tremendous act of public service, and I'm genuinely very, very grateful. It is hard to read an article like this and avoid the conclusion that we live in a culture that hates women, just hates us. It's hard to read an article like this and conclude that the men in this culture, the boys and men in this culture, are raised to see women as not just less than them but in some cases as less than human. But one thing really stood out to me, which is the statistic about how boys and men in frats are three times more likely to commit sexual violence. But I think as Raul says -- you know what, I just used a euphemism there, and I shouldn't do that. They are three times more likely to commit rape. And I think Raul makes a really interesting point. This is not just about party schools. And it would be at our peril to pretend that this is just a frat problem. Yes, it at frats and football teams, but it also happens on the chess team and in dance companies. This is not just a frat problem. This is an American problem.
Angyal wrote a post on Feministing about why women coming forward about being sexually assaulted should be believed since they rarely lie about rape. It’s a somewhat better read that Zerlina Maxwell’s irresponsible piece where she basically says due process be damned. Speaking of statistics, some of the ones relating to rape and sexual assault are incredibly shaky.
Yet, that’s not the issue here. The issue is that Erdely wrote a piece that was insanely inaccurate, it didn’t do activists fighting sexual assault any favors, it will make it harder for women to come forward, and it will distort–or ruin– the reputations of individuals and institutions involved. Now, Erdely's article is indefensible; Angyal has rarely tweeted anything about it since Dec. 11.
Maybe it’s due to the fact that Erdely’s account of the alleged attack comes perilously close to fabrication.
Exit question via Charles Cooke of NRO: does truth matter to the feminist left?
If not, addressing this issue will be like navigating through a minefield.