My dad always said there are few things worse than falsely accusing someone. If you do not know the facts, it is best to not say anything. It is sure that there will never be any incident that we will have all the facts on, but when you are accusing someone of a crime, you better have your facts straight. As I reported earlier, there were many unanswered questions concerning the Rolling Stones report of a gang rape at a U-Va Fraternity. Now that the magazine has detracted their article, Phi Kappa Psi promises a lawsuit.
Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity at the center of the discredited Rolling Stone magazine story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, said Monday it plans to pursue “all available legal action” against the magazine.
This comes on the heels of the magazine’s announcement that it was running an official retraction of the Article.
The Washington Post reports
A months-long investigation into a flawed Rolling Stone magazine article about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia has concluded that the story reflected failures at virtually every level, from reporting to editing to fact-checking.
In a 12,000-word report that reads like a reportorial autopsy, a three-person team at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism called the November article “a story of journalistic failure that was avoidable. . . . The magazine set aside or rationalized as unnecessary essential practices of reporting” that would likely have exposed the story as dubious.
The reason for this rationalizing was done because of the presuppositions of the magazine and its editors. They have a view of most men as insensitive dogs. This story was told because, in the minds of the reporter and her editor, it was plausible.
Now the fraternity is saying
“Our fraternity and its members have been defamed,” chapter president Stephen Scipione said in a statement.
The fraternity called the story “reckless,” saying that the article was viewed by millions, led to members being ostracized and there was vandalism of the fraternity house.
There seems to be a chance that the magazine will have to suffer more than a hit to its reputation. It will have a financial burden to bear for its lack of fact checking. The fraternity recognizes that there has been damage done; both to their reputation and to the reputation of its members. This is something that a detraction article will not fix.
The Post further reports
On Sunday, Erdely said in a statement: “I want to offer my deepest apologies: to Rolling Stone readers, to my Rolling Stone editors and colleagues, to the UVA community, and to any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a result of my article. . . . In the case of Jackie and her account of her traumatic rape, I did not go far enough to verify her story.”
The issue, as I have pointed out before is that this kind of reporting causes two problems. In the first place, these kinds of horror stories tells teens who were actually raped not to tell. Why tell? It will just be like the U-Va case. No one will believe you.
Second, there is the fact that those who are already suspicious of rape victims will be less likely to believe a victim. This has hurt the victims in two ways. Further alienating them from those meant to protect them.
Shame on Rolling Stone.