2014.11.19 UVA Rape on Campus
💩 Rolling Stone magazine published "A Rape on Campus" that describes a purported gang rape of Jackie Coakley by 7 frat brothers (Phi Kappa Psi) at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, Virginia, as part of an initiation rite. This fed a false "Campus Rape" lynch-mob that suspended the fraternity, vandalized their FratHouse, started marches against them (and all men, especially fraternities), and impugned the character of many innocents: who sued and won. A few piled on (HuffPo), but a few other outlets were mixed or skeptical, and later broke stories putting her version of events in doubt. Rolling Stone apologized (5 months later) and retracted the story in its entirety on April 5, 2015, long after the harm had been done. They were sued, and settled.
Some facts that show Rolling Stone was incompetent in their journalistic efforts:
- Charlottesville Police officials told UVA that an investigation had failed to find any evidence confirming the events in the Rolling Stone article.
- UVA President Teresa Sullivan acknowledged that the story was discredited.
- At the request of Rolling Stone agreed to audit the editorial processes that culminated in the article being published.
- Erik Wemple of The Washington Post pronounced the story "a complete crock".
- In the Columbia Journalism Review, Bill Grueskin called the story "a mess—thinly sourced, full of erroneous assumptions, and plagued by gaping holes in the reporting". # The Columbia Journalism Review called the story "this year's media-fail sweepstakes"
- The Poynter Institute named it as the "Error of the Year" in journalism.