It’s finally happened. A year after the unbelievably-damaging article that Rolling Stone put out about the University of Virginia and the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi, they finally made an apology. It is an apology that is as insulting as it is too-little, too-late. It totally misses the point, and that annoys me more than anything else. Why? Because, when I see a failure of journalism as bad as this, having just graduated with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and Public Communication, it makes me feel like this entire profession is dead. Or worse. I already have had that feeling, following the endless barrage of SJW bullshit in GamerGate, but seeing it from a publication as venerated as Rolling Stone magazine just makes me so mad. To see them pander to the very worst qualities of modern PC culture is just so pathetic. Seeing what they said in their “apology” (linked here) just makes me even angrier, because it shows that not only have they missed the point, but so has pretty much everyone else. Let’s get stated.
Last November, we published a story, ‘A Rape on Campus’ [RS 1223], that centered around a University of Virginia student’s horrifying account of her alleged gang rape at a campus fraternity house. Within days, commentators started to question the veracity of our narrative. Then, when The Washington Post uncovered details suggesting that the assault could not have taken place the way we described it, the truth of the story became a subject of national controversy.
I remember how much shit The Washington Post took about their questioning of your story. I remember the countless people using the hashtag #IStandWithJackie. People who Tweeted that “‘Evidence’ is an invention of cis white men.” Real winners in that crowd. I could get into how this all came up, but you actually can help lead me into the talking points a lot better than I, so I’ll let your publication start me off.
As we asked ourselves how we could have gotten the story wrong, we decided the only responsible and credible thing to do was to ask someone from outside the magazine to investigate any lapses in reporting, editing and fact-checking behind the story.
Ooo! Can I be the person you ask? Can it be me? Well, let’s see – you started with a terrible reporter – Sabrina Rubin Erdely. She went out with a narrative in her head – that college rape is such an epidemic in this country, and that it isn’t being dealt with. With this narrative in mind, she found someone. Someone who, by some accounts, has a history of making a narrative that she was raped. Your reporter, who clearly was given the story that she was looking for, didn’t do even the most MINIMAL amount of fact-checking with other sources. That’s something that even the most rookie of journalism students are taught to do. Then, her editor at your publication didn’t bother to bring up how she only has one source for the article, probably due to bias within your publication for stories of this kind. Then, you published it and when the public started to expose this story for the fraud that it most certainly is (which has now been confirmed with a police investigation. Not one part of Jackie’s story is credible. It’s all fabricated, from first to last. Jackie is a liar, and she should, in a just world, have been brought up on charges of false allegation), you didn’t own up to it. Add to that – you have not fired the woman who wrote that story (which, if I had been in charge of that magazine, it wouldn’t just be her getting fired. The aforementioned editor would be on the block too) and it has taken you almost a year to FINALLY make an apology. Did I miss anything? You talk about someone you picked and how you are going to feature their entire report in your next issue. I’ll look forward to seeing that.
We are also committing ourselves to a series of recommendations about journalistic practices that are spelled out in the report.
Okay, here are my recommendations – fired Sabrina Rubin Erdely, along with the people who edited her story and didn’t bring up the failures in her journalistic integrity. Next, get on the phone with your lawyers, because if Phi Kappa Psi is listening – sue them! Sue that fucking magazine for all they are worth! Sue them for slander and defamation of character! It’s time for this publication to pay! Next – ditch this PC culture bullshit that has made the authoritarian left vastly worse than the fundamentalist right. How do those recommendations help?
We would like to apologize to our readers and to all of those who were damaged by our story and the ensuing fallout, including members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and UVA administrators and students. Sexual assault is a serious problem on college campuses, and it is important that rape victims feel comfortable stepping forward. It saddens us to think that their willingness to do so might be diminished by our failings.
And there, right there at the end, is the thing that pisses me off. Let’s not talk about the fraternity whose reputation we slandered, along with the people in it. Let’s just give a cursory apology to the victims of this false accusation. Then, let’s make a large portion of our apology about other victims. Why the fuck is this country simply incapable of feeling for the falsely accused?! This was a false accusation! Are we just going to not talk about that?! Jackie lied! Her entire story was a lie! That’s not me saying it. It’s the fucking cops! The police investigation couldn’t find a single corroboration of her story. But wait, we got the likes of Jessica Valenti saying that that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. Can we PLEASE knock off this insanity?! I am so sick of seeing how we can ignore the falsely accused and make it about women who are victims. Sure, this does have some negative effects, but part of the reason that I think that Phi Kappa Psi should sue your fucking asses into oblivion is because you are still barely acknowledging what you did to them! Fuck you and your publication for having to still kiss PC America’s ass! Seriously, Phi Kappa Psi – if you haven’t gotten a lawsuit in the works, now you have to. They have admitted wrong-doing. It’s a nail to put in whatever case they make’s coffin. Oh, who am I kidding. With this much negative exposure, they’ll settle out of court. Still, you can hurt them. Do it. This company needs to be brought to heel. PC America needs to get hurt.
Erdely believed firmly that Jackie’s account was reliable. So did her editors and the story’s fact-checker, who spent more than four hours on the telephone with Jackie, reviewing every detail of her experience.
Wait, did I read that right?! Your editors were complicit in this?! Yeah, this backs up my previous statement – those people need to be fired too. This is garbage. This actually proves my point, about your entire publication being complicit in SJW PC culture. I guess that means that you all are a waste of print, since it’s clear that you have no real standards that you hold yourselves too. An entire editing staff was in on this piece of journalistic farce. Every single person involved in this story should be fired. Seriously, Phi Kappa Psi, all the pieces are right there. Take these people to the cleaners.
Erdely chose this moment to revisit the mystery of the lifeguard who had lured Jackie and overseen her assault. Jackie’s unwillingness to name him continued to bother Erdely.
I love this. You’re trying to white-wash history. Yes, Erdely suddenly had a funny feeling. So all those interviews on places like MSNBC, where she put Jackie and her story on a pedestal as a piece of hard-hitting journalism were just…what? Not for a minute do I buy that she had misgivings about this story. Not with how much she sucked its dick and made herself out to be the hero in a struggle against some metaphorical dragon. I don’t buy this for a minute. You’re trying to justify not firing her. That’s bullshit.
Erdely and her editors had hoped their investigation would sound an alarm about campus sexual assault and would challenge Virginia and other universities to do better. Instead, the magazine’s failure may have spread the idea that many women invent rape allegations.
Fuck it, I’m done. I’m done with this “apology.” It’s so obvious, in this article, that you are trying to paint yourselves still as heroes in the struggle against the metaphorical dragon. You are still trying to make it look like you did the right thing. Amidst your statements that this was your fault, you have statements like this, where it is clear that you still want us to root for you. After all – just because everything your article was associated with was a lie doesn’t mean that women lie, right? Because women aren’t people, right? No, according to the SJW crowd, women are vaunted heroes, standing against the EVIL “patriarchy” that makes society distrust and hate them! And you are their white knights, trying to lead the charge into battle. You just straight-up admitted that you had a narrative to push! That’s the biggest flaw in all of this bullshit! You went into this with a narrative! If you had gone into this objectively, maybe wanting to learn about rape on campuses and seeing how much legitimacy the issue had, then you could have written a truly fantastic article that debunks so much of the canard that is associated with “rape culture.” A canard unto itself. Like how 1 in 5 women in college in America are raped. A number so absurd that it rivals rape stats in the Congo, where rape is used as a weapon of war.
This is so insulting. In their attempt to make amends for their garbage, Rolling Stone just shows off how pathetic their publication truly is. They are a publication that was totally fine with sending a terrible reporter out with a narrative, to get proof for that narrative. And you wonder why you came back with a faulty story? You wonder what went wrong?! Let me count the ways! Phi Kappa Psi, this apology of theirs is garbage. This magazine needs to be made to pa. If you don’t make them, who will? Because I guarantee you, everything they say that they are going to change won’t change shit. This is a canard so that they can try and make the controversy go away. These people need to be punished, and you should be the ones to do it.
What a bad joke. The punch line is – with this apology, they are showing that they are just as bad as they were when they started. They now are just afraid that you are coming for them. Let’s not disappoint.
Until next time, a quote,
“This is not revenge. Revenge is not a valid motive. It is an emotional response. No, not vengeance. Punishment.” -Frank Castle, The Punisher
*Update* Phi Kappa Psi has filed a lawsuit against Rolling Stone. I am so pleased! This needed to happen ages ago! I hope they take that publication for what it’s worth.