Summary: The Rolling Stone staff spent months researching the story about Janice’s rape at the U of Virginia. Its publication sparked a process of changes by the University’s leaders to change U VA’s “rape culture.” The story lasted less than two weeks before collapsing. Will the University stop the policy changes, or will this be another example of successful Leftist agitprop? Whatever the result, here we see why the Left loses — as the public chooses between its two mad political parties.
This is a follow-up to the December 3rd post “It’s time to forcibly re-shape America to fight the campus rape epidemic! Even if it’s fake.” It’s the second of today’s two posts.
“Asking whether or not a victim is telling the truth is irrelevant … It’s just not important if they are telling the truth.”
— Sophie Hess, general manager of the Oberlin campus radio station WOBC speaking about Lena Dunham’s rape accusation, quoted by Breitbart, 4 December 2014
On November 19 Rolling Stone published “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA“ by Sabrina Rubin Erdely. As describe in the previous post about this, it told of a violent gang rape with ample physical evidence (no “he said, she said”).
The reaction was swift, providing a rich harvest.
“U.Va. is too good a place to allow this evil to reside” said its President, Teresa A. Sullivan. She suspended all social activities at fraternities until next semester, funded hiring of an additional trauma counselor for the Women’s Center, and promised a bounty of new policies (probably all recommended by feminist activists, perhaps like those at Harvard, setting up a Star Chamber-like tribunal without basic protections for the accused).
Critics quickly picked apart not just the story, but also Rolling Stone’s violations of basic journalist canons — such a contacting the accused for comment (e.g., at Slate and the WaPo). The Left’s response was quick. The New York Times, that stalwart defender of the liberal narrative, quickly found two professors of journalism to say that’s just fine. (For good reason American’s trust in the news media is at a record low). Kat Stoeffe at The Cut wrote a confused defense of the Rolling Stone article. Anna Merlan at Jezebel and Liz Seccuro at TIME published factually inaccurate, often emotional or illogical attacks on one of the critics, journalist and editor Richard Bradley. Others stated their values even more clearly:
— rachelsklar (@rachelsklar) December 2, 2014
— rachelsklar (@rachelsklar) December 2, 2014
Then it all fell apart. Phi Kappa Psi denied the story, contradicting several key specifics. Other reporters subjected the story to real journalism, quickly finding discrepancies. Eventually Will Dana, Managing Editor of Rolling Stone, published an explanation and partial retraction, ending with:
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.
- “Rolling Stone’s disastrous U-Va. story: A case of real media bias“, Erik Wemple, Washington Post, 5 December 2014
- “U-Va. students challenge Rolling Stone account of alleged sexual assault“, Washington Post, 10 December 2014 — WaPo interviews the 3 people who spoke with Jackie after the rape, as described in the Rolling Stone article. Their stories challenge not just key parts of the tale, but the RS reporter’s story of her research.
Political effects of this and similar episodes
Jackie later provided a name for her assailant; he might have grounds for legal action against her and Rolling Stone. The police have begun an investigation, but women making false accusations of rape seldom get punished by courts (or colleges). More importantly, will the university reverse course? My guess: no. Agitprop works by appealing to emotions of the public, allowing powerful groups to advance their agenda. There are no countervailing forces at work here.
The 1% don’t care. They have no economic or business interests at stake; their children have lavish legal defenses against even the most well-found incidents of rape. These social revolutions keep the the inner party in turmoil, divided and weak. The proles don’t care and remain unaffected.
The larger political effect might benefit the Republicans. Both parties support our important institutions — banks, the security services, the military-industrial complex, and multinational corporations. Both are often quite delusions, and sometimes mad. Both serve the 1%. But they differ on social issues. The Republicans vote to leave people alone; the Democrats support a wide range of intrusive government programs. For many people — probably 51% of voters in local and state elections — the choice is easy.
For More Information
(a) Post about the U-Va rape story:
- It’s time to forcibly re-shape America to fight the campus rape epidemic! Even if it’s fake., 3 December 2014
- The University of Virginia “rape culture” story crashes and burns. Will this become a story of failed agitprop? Or a win for the Left?, 5 December 2014
- The University of Virginia shows how change comes to America: through agitprop and hysteria, 7 December 2014
(b) See all posts about
- all posts about women and gender issues
- about reforming America, paths to political change
- Obama, his administration and policies
- the Republican Party
- the Democratic Party