Reporting by the Washington Post and ABC News is steadily ripping to shreds the gang-rape story “Jackie” told Rolling Stone‘s Sabrina Rubin Erdely. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has a good summary of how the story is unraveling. It seems clear that editors at Rolling Stone did not adequately vet the story and, as Eric Wemple says, “Erdely’s mission appears to have been to present as sensational and damaging an account of fraternity excesses as she could gather.”You could ask, of course, but don't expect a sensible answer. The point is not the crime, but the narrative.
Ah, but if the story is not true, this doesn’t mean that feminists are prepared to abandon their precious narrative about how college girls live under a regime of sexual terror caused by savage males who brutally impose their phallocratic supremacy on helpless victims. At Slate.com, Amanda Hess coins the phrase “rape truthers” to describe “social media misogynists” she uses in a straw-man argument:
There are people on the fringe who believe that any rape story with any discrepancies is evidence of a vast feminist conspiracy aimed at inventing rapes and vilifying innocent men, but these rape truthers are not reasonable people, nor are they most people, and it is unwise to mold the conversation around their fantasies. I am, however, concerned with how some feminists and progressives have responded to the ever-expanding holes in Rolling Stone’s story.You can read the rest, but notice what Hess has done here:
At this point, it is clear that Rolling Stone failed to meet its basic journalistic requirements many times over. There is also compelling evidence that Jackie herself fabricated all or parts of her story. Neither of these scenarios serves to dismantle the anti-rape movement. Journalists have messed up reporting on rape since they began reporting on rape. In addition, there have been false rape allegations in the past, and there will be false allegations in the future. Any successful anti-rape activist or movement must be willing to accept that false accusations are not a “myth” and grapple with how to handle them appropriately. Whatever really happened at UVA one Saturday night in 2012 cannot possibly undermine a social justice movement because any understanding of justice must accommodate the truth. . . .
Could somebody ask Amanda Hess to identify the pro-rape forces in society which necessitates this kind of anti-rape movement?
- Imputed irrational paranoia to those of us “people on the fringe” who see evidence of “a vast feminist conspiracy” in the interminable campaign against “rape culture” that has, among other things, imposed a weird “affirmative consent” law on California campuses. To say that feminists engage in propaganda campaigns, and that they do this in an organized manner with the assistance of politicians and journalists, is merely to state a fact. Feminist rhetoric routinely vilifies innocent men, as the whole point of the “rape culture” meme is to say that any word or deed that offends feminists — from caustic sarcasm to “the male gaze” — makes men complicit in rape. And, as far as this Rolling Stone UVA story is concerned, whether or not a rape was fictionalized out of whole cloth, feminists did manage to turn an egregious example of biased agenda-driven “reporting” into a hysteria that caused the university to shut down fraternity life on campus. Like the old joke says, it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
- Accepted as valid the need for an “anti-rape movement” organized around the concept of “social justice,” which is exactly how we get episodes like this UVA fraternity witch-hunt.
This is not the only case where the facts have failed the narrative in the recent past. The Trayvon Martin story turned out much more complicated than the preferred media story of the cute black child murdered by the white (hispanic) vigilante for no reason. The Michael Brown tale of a black "gentle giant" shot down in the back or while surrendering with his hands up by white Ferguson Missouri policeman Darren Wilson wilted under the light of forensic evidence that showed him charging the officer, and video evidence of his strong arm robbery immediately beforehand. Then Eric Garrison was allegedly killed by an illegal choke hold at the hands of a white policeman while trying to break up a fight. But a closer look showed that the police were arresting a well known offender of a nanny state rule against selling loose cigarettes (a way to avoid New York's high cigarette taxes), and he died not from an illegal choke hold, but of positional asphyxia as a result of being obese and being restrained face down, while a black female sergeant oversaw the take down?
No one (or at least very few people) want the police kill harmless blacks, or that people want college co-eds raped by students. However, most of us acknowledge that while bad things happen, the alleged perpetrators deserve the initial presumption of evidence, and a requirement that the evidence of a crime be shown beyond a reasonable doubt.
It it interesting that the examples the left has recently chosen to exemplify the narrative for which they demand the rule of law be dispensed with, have all proven to be false, Does this mean that the problems of police brutality to black, and campus rape don't exist? No, but the do show that what appear to be the best examples at first blush often prove misleading, and the crimes are much rarer than the Social Justice Warriors would have us believe.
But never mind the truth; damn the torpedo's, full speed ahead, and Save The Narrative!