Rolling Stone finally issued a formal retraction of their shocking–and shockingly inaccurate–story about a University of Virginia fraternity’s gang-rape of a fellow student, “Jackie.”
But it looks like they’re not sorry.
Despite a scathing report from Columbia University’s School of Journalism about their widespread failures in writing, reporting, and fact-checking, Rolling Stone doesn’t think it did anything wrong. In fact, the magazine is not punishing a single staff member over the fallout from the article.
“These are mistakes I will not make again,” said the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, in a statement that truly defines the phrase “too little too late.”
Rolling Stone’s staff–especially Erdely–has been accused of negligent reporting. Not only did they believe the narrative told to them by “Jackie” wholesale–which has now been widely discredited as a complete fabrication by the misguided student–but they neglected to complete basic reporting safeguards.
Erdely never interviewed the accused rapists or the the three friends “Jackie” claimed to have told about her rape. She provided too few details to Phi Kappa Psi–who could’ve refuted the charges had they known more, since they later proved didn’t have a party that night or have any brothers who worked with Jackie, as she claimed. Erdely also did not try hard enough to find the person Jackie accused of leading the assault, who was apparently not a real person.
The article was immediately pounced on by liberals as evidence of a so-called “rape culture” in American universities, bolstered by the often-repeated but wildly-inaccurate statistic that 20% of female college students are victims of sexual assault. (It’s really around 2%, according to a 2013 study.)
But it turned out, in this case, the real victims were the men of Phi Kappa Psi, the accused fraternity, and the students both male and female at the University of Virginia, who saw their school’s reputation tarnished by a fake story and bad journalism.
Unfortunately for Rolling Stone, their problems aren’t going away quite yet. Phi Kappa Psi recently announced it would “pursue all available legal action against the magazine.”
Stephen Scipione, the president of the UVA chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, had some strong words for Rolling Stone: “The report by Columbia University’s School of Journalism demonstrates the reckless nature in which Rolling Stone researched and failed to verify facts in its article that erroneously accused Phi Kappa Psi of crimes its members did not commit.”