A Rape on Campus
|You gotta spin it to win it|
|Stop the presses!|
|We want pictures|
"A Rape on Campus" is a controversial (and ultimately retracted) article in Rolling Stone magazine written by Sabrina Rudin Erdely, which purported to tell the story of a young woman named "Jackie" being brutally raped on the campus of the University of Virginia and then being thwarted in her attempts to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The sensationalistic nature of the story made many doubt it from the start, and then alarm bells rang when virtually nothing seemed to corroborate "Jackie's" account.
Rolling Stone hired an independent investigation by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which confirmed that a shocking lapse in journalistic standards had occurred. The magazine later apologized and retracted the story, though neither Erdely, nor the magazine's managing editor Will Dana, were penalized in any way.
Resulting feminist moonbattery
A small handful of fanatical feminist pundits, like Amanda Marcotte at Salon, uncritically swallowed the hoax like a fat kid swallows cake, demonizing individuals who questioned the story and then refusing to apologize and own up when proven wrong.
Resulting antifeminist wingnuttery
To the surprise of no one, the ever-eager conservative media, frothing antifems (particularly Thunderf00t and TheAmazingAtheist), and general Internet trolls blew the aforementioned moonbattery out of proportion, turning a fringe minority of the feminist movement's hysterics over it into a manufactroversy and opportunistically seizing upon every isolated case of the moonbattery they could find and trumpeting it to the skies as "proof" that modern feminism is stupid and out to get men.
Undeniably, Rolling Stone made serious ethical lapses in allowing the story to be published. But many critics fail to understand that the Rolling Stone story is more the exception than the rule because "false allegations of rape are rare, or at least no more prolific than false allegations of other crimes."
Aftermath of the shitstorm
In 2015, Rolling Stone officially retracted the story after the Columbia University School of Journalism completed an external review of how the story was published. The Columbia review found that Rolling Stone failed to apply "basic, even routine journalistic practice" in verifying details of the accuser's story. This retraction occurred four years after the retraction of "Deadly Immunity", a 2005 story co-published with Salon.com and written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., linking vaccines and autism (in that case, Salon formally retracted the story after Rolling Stone deleted the story without explanation).
Long story short, a good university had a couple weeks of unwarranted bad publicity, a lot of insults were exchanged, college sexual assault education was set back a decade and nobody won, except the just-mentioned manchildren who made hay of it.
- Bradley, Richard (November 24, 2014). "Is the Rolling Stone Story True?". Shots in the Dark. Archived from the original on December 12, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
- Coronel, Sheila; Coll, Steve; Kravitz, Derek (April 5, 2015). "Rolling Stone’s investigation: ‘A failure that was avoidable’". Columbia Journalism Review. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
- Somaiya, Ravi (April 5, 2015). "Rolling Stone Article on Rape at University of Virginia Failed All Basics, Report Says". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 7, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
- Chait, Jonathan (April 7, 2015). "The Unexamined Bias Behind Rolling Stone’s Rape Reporting Disaster". Intelligencer. NYMag.com. Archived from the original on April 21, 2015. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
- Loxley, Tracy Q. (June 9, 2015). "What’s Wrong With the Rape on Campus Discussion". Splice Today. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
- Saunders, Candida L. "THE TRUTH, THE HALF-TRUTH, AND NOTHING LIKE THE TRUTH: Reconceptualizing False Allegations of Rape." The British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 52, No. 6 (November 2012), p. 1152.
- "Salon retracts 2005 Robert F. Kennedy Jr. piece on alleged autism-vaccine link". Retraction Watch. January 16, 2011. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2022.