At the Washington Post, Erik Wemple reports that Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner is seeking the aid of Columbia Journalism School to do an independent audit of their botched story about rape at the University of Virginia: Rolling Stone Farms Out Review of U-Va. Rape Story to Columbia Journalism School.
Rolling Stone magazine has decided to enlist the Columbia Journalism School to audit its handling of a discredited Nov. 19 story about rape on the campus of the University of Virginia, according to a just-released statement from Editor and Publisher Jann S. Wenner, which reads as follows:
In RS 1223, Sabrina Rubin Erdely wrote about a brutal gang rape of a young woman named Jackie at a party in a University of Virginia frat house [“A Rape on Campus”]. Upon its publication, the article generated worldwide attention and praise for shining a light on the way the University of Virginia and many other colleges and universities across the nation have tried to sweep the issue of sexual assault on campus under the rug. Then, two weeks later, The Washington Post and other news outlets began to question Jackie’s account of the evening and the accuracy of Erdely’s reporting. Immediately, we posted a note on our website, disclosing the concerns. We have asked the Columbia Journalism School to conduct an independent review - headed by Dean Steve Coll and Dean of Academic Affairs Sheila Coronel - of the editorial process that led to the publication of this story. As soon as they are finished, we will publish their report.
I noticed our stalker pal Chuck C. Johnson tweeting about this:
OK. I don’t get it. Why is this supposed to be “pathetic?” It sounds like an excellent idea to have an independent review, and who better to do it than a renowned journalism academy? A teaching experience for all involved, if you will.
Seriously, why is this supposed to be a bad thing? It’s usually not difficult to see what wingnuts are getting at when they rant about something, but I’m drawing a blank on this one.
This video report by Touchvision has more details on right wing hatchet man Chuck C. Johnson’s identification of the wrong woman as “Jackie,” the purported victim of sexual assault in Rolling Stone’s now-discredited article. (For some reason they’ve disabled embedding for the video, so you’ll have to click through to YouTube to watch it.)
They’ve actually been in contact with the woman whose picture Johnson published, and she says she’s “pursuing legal action against Johnson” — which would be poetic justice for the sociopath who threatens to sue everyone who criticizes his dishonest tactics.
And we should point out that Johnson’s sleazy “correction” for his post still contains the photo in question, and he still insists “it’s very possible that it is Jackie.”
(h/t: Amory Blaine.)
Yes, folks, hirsute hate-monger Chuck C. Johnson is at it again, still trying to attack and smear the author of that Rolling Stone article about rape at the University of Virginia. His latest is another “BREAKING” report (based on a 2-year old video clip), that attributes the following words in quotes to author Sabrina Erdely:
Here’s a screenshot of this dishonest piece of trash:
I don’t know where he dug up the video that accompanies this article, and I don’t really want to give it hits it doesn’t deserve at YouTube, but I’m including it because if you watch it you’ll see that Ms Erdely never says the words, “I absolutely shop for victims.”
In fact, this discussion has nothing to do with “shopping for victims.” Someone asks Erdely about her writing process; if she’s interested in a particular topic, does she ever “shop around” for concrete examples of it for her story? And she says, yes, she does investigate and try to find specific examples.
That’s IT, people. That’s what Chuck is trying to picture as “shopping for victims.” Here’s Chuck’s video that shows his own post to be a complete and utter lie. He put words in quotes and attributed them to Sabrina Erdely that she neither said nor implied.
I almost have to give Chuck kudos for turning himself into the premier bottom feeder in the very crowded, very fetid right wing swamp.
In his rush to smear, Chuck C. Johnson has now identified the wrong woman as “Jackie,” claiming he has a photo that shows she “cried rape” before: BREAKING: Fraud #JackieCoakley Cried Rape BEFORE #UVAHoax - GotNews.
But, uh, this is actually a woman named Angie, according to the event’s official Facebook page; “Jackie” just posted a comment about it on Pinterest, and Chuck leaped to the wrong conclusion without checking any further.
Just some more award-winning journalism from the Ginger Avenger.
Here’s a screenshot of Angie’s comment on that Facebook page:
Today’s depressing item on the state of US journalism is this very odd retraction by Rolling Stone, whose editors now say they can’t back up their recent story about a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house: A Note to Our Readers | Rolling Stone.
What a train wreck. And it’s made even worse by the way RS editor Will Dana “explains” it.
Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her. In the months Erdely spent reporting the story, Jackie neither said nor did anything that made Erdely, or Rolling Stone’s editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie’s credibility. Her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie’s account. She had spoken of the assault in campus forums. We reached out to both the local branch and the national leadership of the fraternity where Jackie said she was attacked. They responded that they couldn’t confirm or deny her story but had concerns about the evidence.
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.
Not to belabor the point, but if this is supposed to be “transparency” it fails miserably. Unspecified “discrepancies?” This statement is amazingly vague for what’s supposed to be a mea culpa.
But worse, this opens the floodgates for gloating right wing misogynists to call into question other accounts of rape and abuse — and it’s already happening in social media. (Soon coming to a right wing news source near you.) The people who’ve been pushing one false story after another for years will now deliver hypocritical lectures about the right way to do journalism.
RightWingWatch has been keeping track of Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin as he goes from one far right media outlet to the next, pushing a line of persecution and victimhood that would embarrass a spoiled five-year old. Akin is doubling down on his creepy misogynistic statements by claiming the evil left wing media is trying to destroy him because he’s a brave American hero.
This week, Akin also told the Christian Broadcasting Network that he’s being persecuted because he’s on the side of “good” in a spiritual war between good and evil.
After the whole thing blew up and it took maybe a week or two and it was just amazing. It wasn’t just national, it was international news, because people were saying I said something most of the time that I didn’t even say and assigning me motives that I didn’t have. What did I feel like? It’s going to be sort of an odd analogy but I’ll share it with you. I felt sort of peaceful, as though I was in a parachute. I sort of felt that on each side of me were these towering cumulus clouds. On the one side lightning and thunder of evil and the other side brilliant light of good and I sort of felt like I was literally on the front lines and that evil and good were going at each other all around me and I’m thinking, ‘how did I get here so fast? If you want a mental picture, sometimes you just have to sort of think of a bizarre picture but that’s what it felt like. I felt a sense of peace like I was protected but it seemed like there was this intense war between good and evil, which in a way didn’t surprise me because I always felt like I want to be on the side of selling good ideas.
Akin, by the way, was covered at LGF even before his twisted statements about “legitimate rape,” when he announced that he wanted to abolish school lunches and repeal the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
So he’s basically your all-around repellent whining right wing caveman with a raging persecution complex.
I’m going out on a limb to predict that George Will’s attempt to man-splain his recent column on sexual abuse and rape, in which he claimed women report rapes so they can be afforded the “coveted status” of “privileged” victimhood, isn’t going to win anyone over to his weird, heartless argument.
1/25/14 Susan Hutchison & State Representative Liz Pike @ WA Mainstream Republicans’ Roanoke Conference (Ocean Shores, WA)
WA State GOP Chair Susan Hutchison: So I’d like to add to men; Please don’t mention the word ‘rape’ in any way. Also, let’s not talk about anything to do with women’s reproductive cycles or um um women’s sexuality or um. Let’s just leave that to the women to discuss. Could we just, could we just agree on that? And if somebody tries to needle you, if you’re a, if you’re a candidate just, just change the subject. Talk about um, ya, talk about the Seahawks. Talk about something else.
State Rep. Liz Pike (R- Camas): Thank you for your comments, I am a state rep. in the 18th district, just south of the LD here, and I have some advice for male candidates, for Republicans; Don’t talk about anything in the bedroom or the doctors office.
Susan Hutchison: Bingo. Ya.
The best description I can think of for CNN’s coverage of the verdict in the Steubenville rape trial: freakishly distorted and reprehensible.
Earlier today, many people were outraged and disgusted at Candy Crowley’s expressions of sympathy for the rapists, but that was not the end of it; CNN continued with this awful slanted reporting throughout the afternoon.
CNN’s coverage of the verdict in the Steubenville rape case appeared to be curiously weighted on Sunday, focusing on the effect the guilty verdict would have on the lives of the now-convicted rapists and their families, rather than that of the victim and her family.
Steubenville High School football players Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, were accused of raping a severely intoxicated 16-year-old West Virginia girl who also attends the Ohio school. Thousands of text messages introduced in the case presented a picture of teens swapping graphic stories about the assault.
In a Sunday afternoon segment, anchor Fredricka Whitfield followed the straight news of the guilty verdict (which she described as rape occurring “after a night of heavy partying”) by showing the rapists’ parents’ weeping in court. Footage of Richmond, his mother and father offering emotional appeals to the victim’s family dominated the segment.
Whitfield threw the story to reporter Poppy Harlow, but not before reiterating that Mays and Richmond’s “family members tried their hardest to plead for some forgiveness from the victim’s family, as well as from the judge.”
To her credit, Harlow appeared to try and correct the segment’s tone: “That’s true Fredricka,” she said of the tears of the convicted rapist’s families, “but this is an incredibly serious crime, it’s the crime of rape.”
And yet, the effects of the rape on the victim seemed to be an afterthought: “It was incredibly emotional, it was difficult for anyone in there to watch those boys break down,” Harlow said. “[It was] also difficult, of course, for the victim’s family.”
The thing is, I don’t believe these reporters actually are sympathizing with the rapists over their victim; I think it’s more cynical and base than that. Dramatic displays of emotion are what CNN is after, because they’re good for CNN’s bottom line. In their marketing calculations, emotional outbursts draw viewers and sell advertisements. They seek out these kinds of scenes — and in this case, since the victim’s identity is kept secret, the only emotional outbursts they could show were the rapists’. So they exploited those moments to the best of their ability.
And in the process, caused great harm to their reputation. CNN continued with this bullshit even after a storm erupted on social media, condemning their coverage. The sheer contempt they showed for their audience, and for the victim of this terrible crime, was breathtaking.
And one more point: the sentences these two kids got were absurdly, offensively light in view of their crime.
Here’s video of the Candy Crowley segment, via Crooks and Liars.