Another obvious question about this whole mess is: what exactly happened? It seems clear that Sabrina Rubin Erdely went shopping for a story about rich, white guys committing rape. She toured several campuses and was eventually connected to “Jackie”, the UVA student who provided the tale. Erdely published a story chock-full of details, and virtually every detail that can be checked has turned out to be false. The story says that Jackie was raped at a party at Phi Kappa Psi on the date of September 28, 2012. In reality, the frat didn’t hold a party on that date. Jackie says that a particular student named “Drew”–she gave his full name to the Washington Post–dated her for several weeks before taking her to the party and gang-raping her along with his frat buddies. In reality, this man has never even met Jackie, doesn’t belong to that frat, isn’t a lifeguard (another detail that Jackie supplied about him), and in short, is a completely innocent victim of Jackie’s claims. So Jackie certainly lied; shame on her.
But the question is, how many of the lies come from Jackie and how many from Erdely? The logical thing would be to ask both Jackie and Erdely. Unfortunately Erdely seems to have gone into hiding. Jackie doesn’t seem to be saying much either, though her father has given an unimpressive and unhelpful interview to a British tabloid. So it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll be getting a clear picture from the two people who could actually provide answers.
Then there’s the question of what actual events occurred? Was Jackie raped or assaulted? Some people continue to insist that she was, citing friends who claim she told them about such an assault on the night it allegedly happened. Well, that’s something that us mere observers can’t know. Perhaps she was, perhaps not.
On to the next question: why did this hoax happen? Why on earth did Erdely think she could get away with it? Why didn’t Rolling Stone uphold even the slightest bit of journalistic standards?
Well, it’s because of the culture, folks. Brendan O’Neill gives us an excellent article on the ‘Cult of Credulity’. Many sources, including supposedly intelligent sources, are telling us that we should automatically believe any rape accusation. Of course this is atrocious–a flat violation of the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”. But leftists don’t do principles.
And it’s spreading. On the same day that the Washington Post blew the lid on the UVA case, they also help expose the fact that Lena Dunham had made a blatantly false accusation of rape, aimed at an innocent man. Now her publisher is furiously backtracking, apparently having realized that a libel lawsuit is likely to be on the way. It seems like falsely accusing college guys of rape is the trendy new thing to do, at least among wealthy white liberal women.
I leave you today with a link to this essay: Everything is Problematic. In it a college student (amazingly) doesn’t accuse anyone of rape, but instead documents her journey away from the political far left. Among the factors that caused her to flee: anti-intellectualism, dogmatism, and self-delusion. No kidding.