(Continuing from my previous post.)
In the past 24 hours, the problems with the Rolling Stone article about a brutal gang rape at UVA have continued to multiply. More and more news sources, watchdog groups, and individuals are pointing out that Erdely clearly engaged in shoddy journalism at best. More likely, it goes beyond that. Erdely is simply making things up. Some more points that should be mentioned:
10. Regarding the credibility of Rolling Stone, here are a couple of relevant examples. Back in 2003 and 2004, the magazine aggressively pushed the theory that the Diebold company, which manufactures voting machines, had rigged its machines so as to steal elections for the Republican Party. Of course in 2006 the Democrats began winning elections, and from that point on Rolling Stone and every other left-wing source became happy to accept the results from those same machines.
In 2005, they published Deadly Immunity, a piece by Robert F. Kennedy claiming that vaccines cause autism and other health problems, and that a massive cover-up had been hiding this information from us for years. A few months later, they removed the piece from their website without a formal retraction. Then they put it back on their website, and claimed that they had never removed it. The scientists that Rolling Stone relied on, Mark and David Geier, are transparent frauds who have faced legal consequences for their bogus research.
11. Returning now to Erdely’s story itself, there are other obvious flaws that no one seems to have point out yet. The largest is simply the idea that such a lengthy, violent rape could have occurred inside a crowded frat house during the middle of a major party. The victim would only have needed to scream for help in order to attract the attention of everyone in the building, and probably many others outside of it. (The Phi Kappa Psi frat house is only a few feet away from other residential buildings.) It beggars belief that a gang of rapists would have carefully planned their crime in a location where scores of people were nearby and the victim could easily get their attention. The claim that frat brother did this repeatedly, as part of an initiation ritual, is just plain impossible.
12. Erdely also tells us that once Jackie left the building, she immediately called her friends. This means that she had her phone with her. Why, then, did she not dial 911, either during the rape or immediately afterwards.
13. Aside from the narrative about Jackie, Erdely does tell one blazingly obvious and undeniable lie. Throughout her article she posts verses from a song called Rugby Road, and she says: “In 2010 Rugby Road was banned from football games–despite a petition calling it ‘an integral part’ of UVA culture. Rugby Road verses are still performed on campus by UVA’s oldest a cappella group.”
As some who attended football games in Charlottesville before 2010 many times, I can testify that I never heard any part of this song. All testimony that I’ve found from students, professors, and alumni confirms that no one else has either. If the verses that Erdely quotes exist at all, they’re clearly not as popular as she claims.
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Summing it all up, things are not looking good for Rolling Stone or for Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s career. Time will tell what becomes of this story in the end.