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HomeNewsUSRolling Stone Destroyed Its Credibility With Bogus UVA Rape Story

Rolling Stone Destroyed Its Credibility With Bogus UVA Rape Story


The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at University of Virginia did not host a party on the night of the alleged attack, according to fraternity officials. (Photo: AP)

Rolling Stone Magazine has lost a good deal — if not all to many in the media — of their credibility publishing a bogus story of a campus gang rape at University of Virginia. The magazine initially stood by the story, which faced immediate criticism after it was published in the Nov. 19 edition. However, now exposed as a fraud, they released a statement Friday changing their tone.

“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,” Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana said in a statement. “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.”

The extensive 9,000-word story, titled “A Rape on Campus,” claimed a young female freshman was gang raped at a fraternity party in 2012. The author, freelance writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely, harshly condemned the school, which she criticized for lacking a “radical feminist culture seeking to upend the patriarchy.”

Even though The Washington Post has now begun to scrutinize the account, it was only until alternative online media outlets began to shed light on the vast number of discrepancies that The Post and others joined the party. In fact, a Washington Post profile of Erdely was published in the days following the publishing, in which Erdely admits her goal was to drum up a sexual assault story and that she specifically targeted UVA or others, because “none of those schools felt quite right.”

For what, exactly?

Initially, before the heightened scrutiny of her fabricated story, Erdely refused to even say whether she even knew the names of the alleged rapists. Late Monday, Erdely’s editor said Rolling Stone Magazine “verified their existence” by talking to Jackie’s friends, yet they claimed they were unable to reach them.


The magazine said Erdely and fact-checkers had spent months on the story and concluded Jackie and her story were credible. That may explain some of the enormous lie perpetuated in the story, but if that statement was true, then they would have discovered the multiple — and, easy uncovered — problems with the account.

To begin with, the fraternity named in the story, Phi Kappa Psi, didn’t even host a party on Sept. 28, 2012, the night the sexual assault allegedly occurred. Jackie also alleged the young man who first took her to dinner before they headed back to the frat house was a lifeguard, however, there are no lifeguards in the fraternity.

“First, the 2012 roster of employees at the Aquatic and Fitness Center does not list a Phi Kappa Psi as a lifeguard,” the fraternity said in a statement Friday. “Second, the Chapter did not have a date function or a social event during the weekend of September 28th, 2012.”

It gets worse. The story also claimed that pledges were in the fall and, in fact, initiations were apparently more important than getting Jackie to a hospital with “her face beaten, dress spattered with blood.”

“Andy seconded the opinion, adding that since he and Randall both planned to rush fraternities, they ought to think this through,” Erdely elaborates in the story. “The three friends launched into a heated discussion about the social price of reporting Jackie’s rape.”

Except, there are no initiations in the fall.

“Third, our Chapter’s pledging and initiation periods, as required by the University and Inter-Fraternity Council, take place solely in the spring semester and not in the fall semester,” the fraternity said. “We document the initiation of new members at the end of each spring. Moreover, no ritualized sexual assault is part of our pledging or initiation process. This notion is vile, and we vehemently refute this claim.”

All of this information was easily obtainable prior to the story being published. Jackie’s friends say her story has changed repeatedly and her claims — conveniently — can no longer be verified. But abiding by proper standards of investigative journalism wouldn’t have fit the radical, liberal feminist narrative routinely pushed by Rolling Stone.

“This has been an absolutely devastating blow to Rolling Stone’s credibility,” said Mollie Hemingway, a media critic and senior editor at The Federalist. “[Erdely] has a lot to answer for as well. She literally took the memories of one person who claimed to have been traumatized and built an entire story around it.”

However, even Hemingway admitted that she bought into the story until recently, which underscores a larger problem with elitist media outlets and their so-called critics. Whether Erdely deliberately fabricated details in a story and reported them as facts, is wholly irrelevant. She mixed a fake, unsubstantiated story with figures from the widely debunked 2005-2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study, and pushed it all as a packaged truth.

The so-called online survey of just two schools found that 1 in 5 female college students are sexually assaulted, a claim often regurgitated by the White House that was previously debunked on PPD.

Even the liberal-leaning Washington Post Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, highlighted that the so-called online study yielded a staggeringly low response rate for such a magnanimous claim, though there are far more troubling irregularities.

For starters, two-thirds of the college women cited in the study — and, counted as rape victims — were drug or alcohol related instances, with the victims themselves saying they did not think they were raped. What do you expect when the study counts kissing as rape, despite never asking the female respondents specifically about rape? Further, only a handful out of these particular “victims” even reported suffering from some degree of psychological harm.

“Drug- and/or alcohol-enabled sexual assault” represented roughly 70 percent of all the “rape” incidents in the study, consisting of flat-out cases of intoxication. Just to clarify, getting drunk and making a bad decision is not the same as passing out and being sexually assaulted by a predator, man or woman. Intoxication can blur the lines of consent, as well as result in someone giving it who might have otherwise declined to give it.

The outrage against Rolling Stone Magazine is growing and warranted, though it is unclear whether it will remain at the forefront of readers’ minds or give pause to media seeking to cite their now-untrustworthy work. Considering the setback the fictitious story will cause the real movement to intellectually address campus sexual assault — one that doesn’t include the radical left feminist movement, which cares more for exploiting women and children with wedge issues to expand government — many feel it would be just if their credibility suffers long-term damage.

This story stinks of indoctrination from radicals like Kathleen Hirsch, who in 1990 wrote Fraternities of Fear: Gang Rape, Male Bonding, and the Silencing of Women, a work that serves as a clarion call to leftist feminists who care more about inciting outrage by citing fictitious statistics than they do addressing the real issue.

“But the worst things is that people who are victims of rape will not be believed,” Hemingway said. “That is the worst part of this story. I don’t think the writer or this magazine could have done more damage to victims of rape if they had set out to.”

Written by

Laura Lee Baris is the Assistant Editor at People's Pundit Daily (PPD) and the Producer of "Inside the Numbers" with the People's Pundit. Laura covers politics, entertainment, culture and women's issues. She is also married to the People's Pundit, Richard D. Baris, and a mother to their two beautiful children.

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