As investigation into Rolling Stone’s sensational story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia continues, the story unravels further. The Washington Post has interviewed the three friends who saw the alleged victim, Jackie, after the alleged assault. They say that their interactions with her were completely different from the utterly implausible callousness described by Sabrina Erdely, Rolling Stone’s reporter.
Most damning is the fact that what Jackie told them about what happened to her was totally different from what Erdely reported. No fraternity was mentioned. Jackie told her friends she was going on a dinner date with an upperclassman that night, but it seems clear that the person she described was an imaginary friend, complete with photographs of someone she barely knew in high school, taken apparently from a social media site. It turned out, too, that the name that Jackie gave for the person with whom she had a date on the night of the alleged rape was not the name of anyone who has ever attended the University of Virginia. Subsequently, she gave a different name for the person with whom she had the alleged date.
It seems obvious that Jackie is fragile if not disturbed. Something bad may well have happened to her on the night of September 28, 2012; after the lapse of more than two years it may be difficult to find out exactly what. Whatever it was may have had nothing to do with the University of Virginia, let alone the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. What does seem clear is that Jackie fell victim to an unscrupulous, activist, agenda-driven reporter, Sabrina Erdely, who by her own admission was shopping for a victim whose story she could tell to make a political point. In the end, Jackie asked Erdely not to print the story the two of them had apparently come up with, but Erdely and Rolling Stone went ahead despite her pleas.
There have been many low moments in the history of modern journalism, but this must be one of the lowest. Michael Ramirez compares Erdely’s gang rape howler to another notorious Rolling Stone effort, Paul Krugman’s paean to Barack Obama as “one of the most…successful presidents in American history.” Click to enlarge: