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Posts tagged ‘Rolling Stone’

The UVA rape story comes to its not-so-dramatic conclusion.

It was a hoax.

Shame on Rolling Stone for publishing such slander.  Shame on Sabrina Rubin Erdely for writing it.  I hope that both face several large libel lawsuits as a result.  Is it too much to hope that Rolling Stone will go bankrupt and cease publication as a result?

Shame on other media sources that were fooled by this and spread the story uncritically.  Shame on those at UVA and elsewhere who vandalized the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house and threatened those who were falsely accused.

Congratulations are owed to those with the courage to expose the truth, particularly Richard Bradley and Robby Soave.

More Hoax Evidence

(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.

* * *

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.

Hoax Evidence

(Continued from my previous post)

Okay, so the Rolling Stone article is looking like a hoax.  Nothing sure yet.  It might turn out to be entirely true, but the smart money’d definitely on hoax.  What’s the evidence?  Well, the skeptics that I’ve linked to have already pointed out several things:

1. Supposedly in the room where Jackie was raped, there was a glass table that got shattered, and both her and the rapists rolled around in broken glass for several hours.  Clearly this is not remotely plausible.

2. Afterwards, Jackie supposedly went downstairs, where the crowded party was still going on.  She was supposedly bleeding profusely at the time.  And yet nobody noticed this.

3. The very notion that a group of nine frat boys at a major university would carefully plan a gang rape is quite far-fetched.  Moreover, one line in Erdely’s article implies that this gang rape was part of an initiation ritual, which is even more far-fetched.

4. It’s being alleged, though only in comments on other blog posts so far, that the details don’t add up.  UVA frat boys pledge in the Spring semester, but the alleged assault occurred in September.  Supposedly the frat party was continuing until early morning; in reality, parties don’t last that long.

5. Proper journalism requires names of witness, not anonymity; it requires the journalist to speak with anyone accused of a crime and allow them to respond.  A simple read of the article shows that Erdely made no attempt to reach even these low standards.  The Washington Post has just posted this: “Rolling Stone whiffs in reporting on alleged rape.”

6. Moreover, Erdely doesn’t seem to have any coherent explanation.  When asked about these lapses in her reporting, she’s babbled out incoherent responses full of “sort of’s” and “kind of’s” and “I guess’s”.

On top of that, I’ll add some reasons of my own.

7. Rolling Stone is not a credible source.  It is better known for topless pictures of Britney Spears than for anything resembling journalism.  It’s is shamelessly left-wing and routinely attacks groups that it doesn’t like: Republicans, conservatives, Christians, capitalists, and others.  An attack on a bunch of rich, white frat boys fits perfectly with the magazine’s biases.

8. Erdely provides many direct quotes, supposedly from Jackie and her friends.  They don’t sound remotely like actual college students.  “Her reputation will be shot for the next four years”.  “She’s gonna be the girl who cried ‘rape,’ and we’ll never be allowed into any frat party again.”  This is not what actual college students sound like.  It’s more like what a clueless journalist thinks that college students sound like.

9. What’s true about Erdely’s dialogue is also true about her whole story.  We’re being asked to believe that minutes after a young woman was gang raped and was bleeding badly, her friends cared nothing about her, but only about the reputations and access to frat parties.  This isn’t realistic.  It’s more like a parody of fraternity and sorority culture.  And the reason why it sounds so much like a parody of fraternity and sorority culture is that, in all probability, it is a parody.  In other words, it’s a work of fiction designed to attack and mock certain types of people.

As I said at the start, the whole story might be true.  But certainly at this point, any credible evaluation of the evidence (or lack thereof) would lead to the conclusion that it’s probably a hoax.  If we learn in the future that Erdely made the whole thing up from scratch, that there was no real “Jackie” and no friends of Jackie, that Erdely’s goal was to smear rich, white people and nothing more.  Time, I hope, will bring the truth to light.

(The list of evidence continues in the next post.)

Is the UVA Rape Story a Gigantic Hoax? Probably.

The story goes like this.  Two weeks ago, Rolling Stone magazine published a lengthy article about a brutal rape that supposedly took place in a frat house at the University of Virginia.  According to the magazine, a young woman named “Jackie” was lead upstairs to a darkened room and gang-raped by a group of frat boys for several hours.  Afterwards she fled the house and encountered three friends, who encouraged her not to report the crime or go to the hospital.  Jackie suffered severe mental trauma.  She contacted the university’s officer in charge of sexual assault claims, but nothing came of that.

Now that Rolling Stone has brought the story to light, everyone’s in a tizzy.  Other national media outlets took the story at face value.  Outraged protestors stormed around the UVA campus.  The frat house where the alleged assault took place was thoroughly vandalized.  Administrators promised swift and decisive action, starting with abolishing all Greek life activity at UVA for the next several weeks.  Some commentators speculated that this would be a turning point in the struggle to bring the problem of on-campus sexual assault to light.  The entire country seemed to be marching in lock-step in response to Rolling Stone’s article.

Then reality caught up.

It began when Richard Bradley, veteran journalist and editor, published a skeptical take on the article, noting obvious flaws and logical contradictions.  That was on Nov. 24.  Then, on Nov. 28, the Washington Post dug in, pointing out that the author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, hadn’t carefully interviewed enough witnesses and had made other mistakes.  Yesterday, Reason magazine asked whether the whole story was a gigantic hoax.  Today the floodgates burst open: outlets ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the L. A. Times to The New Republic have started asking serious questions, and Erdely seems to be on the run, not wanting to talk to anyone anymore.

(In my next post, I’ve gathered together some evidence that it is all a hoax.)

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