FULL DEMISE: Rolling Stone’s Cuckoo Bananas Rape Story Exposed as FraudPosted: December 12, 2014 | |
Erik Wemple reports: Even as Rolling Stone’s Nov. 19 story “A Rape on Campus” unraveled last week, the magazine claimed that writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely did her due diligence in investigating an alleged gang rape on Sept. 28, 2012, at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia that had victimized a then-freshman by the name of Jackie. “Dozens” of Jackie’s friends, Rolling Stone told this blog, had spoken with Erdely for the story — some off the record, some on the record.
“Dozens,” of course, means 24-plus.
“Publications can be excused for getting things wrong; that happens all the time. What’s inexcusable, however, is that in this case, Rolling Stone did nothing to stave off catastrophic error…”
As a second heavily reported story by Washington Post’s local staff has revealed, however, Erdely’s reportorial sweep didn’t net three rather critical friends. “Randall,” “Cindy” and “Andy” were identified in the Rolling Stone piece as three eager helpers who came to Jackie’s aid on the night of Sept. 28, 2012, when she allegedly experienced a traumatic situation. The three told The Post that the story reported by Rolling Stone doesn’t match what Jackie told them that night.*
“As The Post reports, the friends were “never contacted or interviewed by the pop culture magazine’s reporters or editors,” meaning that neither Erdely nor the magazine’s fact-checkers lifted a finger to check with the story’s most obvious source of corroboration.”
And perhaps most critically, the latest revelation from The Post casts either account into doubt, as the man that Jackie cited as her date that night appears not to have been a student at the University of Virginia.
“What’s the excuse for the failure to reach the friends? We’ve asked for an explanation on this front as well…”
It all raises a mind-boggling possibility: that Erdely made an exhaustive effort to interview peripheral sources, leaving no time for the central ones. The Erik Wemple Blog has asked Rolling Stone for an inventory of the friends interviewed by Erdely, as well as other information about the reporting. That’s an extravagant request — but presumably Rolling Stone is already compiling such a file, if it’s serious about figuring out how it produced the shoddiest piece of journalism in recent memory. We haven’t heard back from the magazine.
The specifics of The Post’s latest story, titled “U-Va. students challenge Rolling Stone account of alleged sexual assault,” deliver bad news to Rolling Stone on two levels. For starters, the story upends the specifics of what Rolling Stone reported. Not only did the nature of the sexual assault alleged in “A Rape on Campus” not align with what Jackie told the three friends that night, but The Post reports that the man who was reportedly Jackie’s date that night “hasn’t been to Charlottesville for at least six years,” he says….(read more)
- Rolling Stone admits it screwed up big on UVA rape story (laobserved.com)
- Former UVA Fraternity Member Hires Lawyer Who Specializes In Sex Assault Cases (buzzfeed.com)
- Fraternity rebuts claims of UVA gang rape (politico.com)
- So, How Much Fact-Checking Did Rolling Stone Do? (nationalreview.com)
- Meltdown: Rolling Stone Backtracks on Explosive UVA Rape Story, Issues Apology (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- UVA Gang Rape Story Falls To Pieces, Rolling Stone Admits It Was Fooled (dailycaller.com)
- Skeptics are ‘Rape Apologists’ #104,592 (nationalreview.com)