I know that there is intelligence in the military. But it is now clear there is no ethics in journalism.
Please update your hackish oxymoron jokes accordingly.
Confessions of a Vulture Journalist
The big finale to the latest college rape fable, Rolling Stone's whimsical "A Rape on Campus," about a fraternity gang rape at the University of Virginia that never happened, is the Columbia Journalism Review's "investigation" of the story, released Sunday night. It's more of a house of mirrors than a finale, inasmuch as CJR's report is so preposterous that it demands its own investigation.
The CJR treats "reporting" as if it is some sort of learned craft, requiring years of study, as opposed to basic common sense. For example, if someone has an incredible story that he's dying for you to publicize, but loses interest every time you try to confirm any of the facts, a normal person would say: Oh, that's because it's probably a lie.
Without even knowing that the rape accuser, "Jackie," had refused to let Rolling Stone check the most basic elements of her narrative, every human being who read Sabrina Rubin Erdely's piece knew it was nonsense by around the second paragraph. It was like a Lifetime TV version of a fraternity rape.
The Washington Post knew. Slate magazine knew. Much-maligned journalist Richard Bradley knew.
But the CJR diligently ticks off Rolling Stone's failures to follow the "essential practices of reporting," including "editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking." Rolling Stone's Reporter of the Year, Erdely told CJR, "I wish somebody had pushed me harder." Her managing editor, Will Dana, admitted that he should have "pull(ed) the strings a little harder ... question(ed) things a little more deeply."
Yes, maybe the editors were just not pushing hard enough.
It's as if a doctor attacked his patient with an ax, and the Columbia Medical Review responded with a forensic report concluding that the procedure failed to follow clinical protocols on hand hygiene, scrubs and restricted areas, while the doctor gallantly admitted that mistakes were made.
R S McCain
All reporters stand around and bullshit at the scene of a tragedy. What else can we do? Constantly nod our heads somberly and repeat, “Man, really sad, isn’t it?” It’s the same kind of gallows humor employed by medical examiners standing over a dissected corpse. They don’t, we don’t, really give a shit about these dead people any more than we do for the other dead people we have written hundreds of stories about over the years. We’re numb to it; it’s how we do our jobs.
What we really care about are stories, especially exclusives that no one has ever seen or heard before and, we hope, will remember for years to come. We’re here for a powerful interview with the sobbing relative of a plane crash victim, or, better yet, a harrowing account from an eyewitness who saw the plane burst into the Alps. The reason Bill O’Reilly and Brian Williams embellished their experiences in journalism is because they wereand we all are, to some degreedesperate for exclusives like this, for the next viral clip, link or prestigious award that validates us, solidifying our brands and reputations. We are desperate to stand out in a journalism field that is crowded with cheap replacements. Until 2012, journalism school admissions had risen every year for two decades, while the number of actual jobs in the field has been sliced in half. In this jungle, there are simultaneously more hyenas and fewer wildebeest for us to eat….
Yet the noble pursuit of this story is often lost in the cynical quest for a “get.” When I’m trying to lure a grief-stricken widow into talking to me, I invariably try some version of the old “I want people to know what your husband meant to you” trick. I’m not lying when I say this; I really do want that, and I really do believe the world is well served by remembering someone’s life in a poignant way. But this line I deliver is still a trick, because what I really want is to pick apart your grieving soul for a good story, a story I can use to catapult my own career.
Rolling Stone was grossly negligent, but this has been true of the entire profession of mainstream journalism in dealing with the claims made by feminists about the “rape epidemic” on America’s college and university campuses. These claims are as fictional as Jackie’s imaginary boyfriend “Haven Monahan.”
According to the Department of Justice, the incidence of sexual assault in the United States has declined significantly in the past two decades, down 64 percent from 1995 to 2010 and remaining stable at that lower rate. Feminists and their political allies, including both President Obama and Vice President Biden, have repeatedly claimed that 1-in-5 female college students are victims of sexual assault. However, according to DOJ statistics, “the actual rate is 6.1 per 1,000 students, or 0.61 percent (instead of 1-in-5, the real number is 0.03-in-5).” And, in fact, female college students are less likely to be raped than are females of the same age who don’t attend college. Feminists have fomented a fictitious crisis because, as Wendy McElroy has explained, “Political careers, administrative jobs, government grants, book and lecture contracts are just some of vast financial benefits that rest upon continuing the ‘rape culture’ crusade on campus.”
We therefore know that (a) Jackie is a liar, (b) feminist claims of a campus “rape epidemic” are false, and (c) Rolling Stone was willing to publish a libelous article based on Jackie’s lies in order to “prove” that there is what the Associated Press called “a hidden culture of sexual violence” at one of our nation’s leading public universities.
Lies, lies, all lies, a baseless fiction from start to finish.
What has actually been exposed is an “epidemic” that few members of the media are willing to acknowledge, namely the pervasive liberal bias that has crippled and discredited the profession of journalism in America, turning reporters and editors into political hacks who are willing to publish fiction if this is what is necessary to advance the agenda of the Democratic Party. It is certainly no secret that claims of a Republican “war on women” helped Barack Obama win re-election in 2012, nor is it a secret that Hillary Clinton is likely to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016.
What better way to exploit the political “gender gap” than to claim that college girls are being raped en masse, and then to suggest that the solution to this problem could be summarized in two words: “VOTE DEMOCRAT!”
This is clearly the narrative the Rolling Stone article was intended to confirm: “Rich frat boys are raping your daughters and those evil sexist Republicans are part of the problem, so let’s elect Hillary Clinton and finally put a stop to this Republican Rape Machine!”