Should we “automatically believe rape claims” even if they are proven false?

There was a story about an alleged gang rape published in the Rolling Stone, which is an ultra-left wing magazine, which came under scrutiny from left-wing news sources like The New Republic and The Washington Post because it was not fact-checked and disagreed with known facts.

Yahoo News reports:

Rolling Stone has clarified its apology over a story that had reported a female student was gang-raped at a University of Virginia fraternity, telling readers the mistakes were the magazine’s fault, not the alleged victim’s.

[…]The magazine said that it shouldn’t have agreed to Jackie’s request not to contact the alleged assailants to get their side of the story, out of sensitivity to her. “These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie,” wrote the magazine’s managing editor, Will Dana. “We apologize to anyone who was affected by the story and we will continue to investigate the events of that evening.” The decision not to contact the alleged rapists prompted criticism from other news organizations.

[…]The allegations rocked the campus and elevated the issue of sexual assault, leading to protests, a suspension of fraternity activities and an emergency Board of Visitors meeting.

Dana’s updated message added some details calling into question the magazine’s original story. He noted that Phi Kappa Psi has denied the assault, and said it didn’t host an event on the night Jackie alleged she was raped. And Dana said that Jackie is now unsure that the man who allegedly lured her into a room to be gang-raped by seven men, identified as “Drew,” was a member of Phi Kappa Psi.

“According to the Washington Post, ‘Drew’ actually belongs to a different fraternity and when contacted by the paper, he denied knowing Jackie,” Dana wrote in the new note. “Jackie told Rolling Stone that after she was assaulted, she ran into ‘Drew’ at a UVA pool where they both worked as lifeguards. In its statement, the Phi Psi says none of its members worked at the pool in the fall of 2012.” Dana also cited the Post’s account of several of Jackie’s friends doubting her “narrative,” although Jackie told the Post she stood by the account she gave to Rolling Stone.

False rape charges actually occur quite frequently – remember the Duke University rape hoax or the Lehigh University rape hoax or the Hofstra University rape hoax? The left-wing media loves to cover them because it makes men look bad, and makes women think that they need to vote for bigger government in order to protect them from dangerous men.

But what’s been fascinating is the reaction of feminists on the left to the Rolling Stone’s apology. Do they care about fact-checking rape charges, or do they think that all rape charges are “automatically” true?

Here’s a story from the Washington Post with the title “No matter what Jackie said, we should automatically believe rape claims”. (archived here, H/T Mackenzie)

Tweet by the author captured: (H/T The Right Scoop)

Zerlina Maxwell "automatically believe rape claims"
Zerlina Maxwell “automatically believe rape claims”

She later changed the title of the article, but the URL still contains the word “automatically”. Automatically – believe the charge before checking the facts.

She writes:

Many people (not least UVA administrators) will be tempted to see this as a reminder that officials, reporters, and the general public should hear both sides of the story and collect all the evidence before coming to a conclusion in rape cases. This is what we mean in America when we say someone is “innocent until proven guilty.” After all, look what happened to the Duke lacrosse players.

In important ways, this is wrong. We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist. Even if Jackie fabricated her account, UVA should have taken her word for it during the period while they endeavored to prove or disprove the accusation.

The author’s bio:

Zerlina Maxwell is a political analyst, speaker, lawyer, and writer. She typically writes about national politics and cultural issues including domestic violence, sexual assault, and gender inequality.

This is how people on the left form their beliefs in college. They listen to what professors tell them, and insult anyone who questions what they believe by calling them names like “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobe” or “Islamophobe”. This is a college education – at least in non-STEM fields. People pay money to be indoctrinated like this. Lots of money.

Well, maybe this is just a lone outlier, though. One bad feminist who doesn’t care about truth.

Nope! Here’s famous feminist Jessica Valenti, tweeting this:

Jessica Valenti: fake but accurate
Jessica Valenti: fake but accurate

Here’s another from Julia Horowitz, reported by Newsbusters: (links removed)

In a Politico magazine article on the UVA rape accusation debacle, in which the accuser’s allegations have unraveled, Julia Horowitz, an assistant managing editor at the college paper The Daily Cavalier, claimed “to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake.”

[I]t is becoming increasingly clear that the story that blew the lid off campus sexual assault has some major, major holes. Ultimately, though, from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake….

It is no accident that the article came out, and it became apparent almost immediately that there were very tangible things we needed to discuss.

Yes, the story was sensational. But even the most sensational story, it seems, can contain frightening elements of truth.

Of course!  Facts can be so, well, inconvenient. Viva the “narrative.” We’re with the Alice in Wonderland Queen: “sentence first — verdict afterwards.”

And another one named Melissa McEwan tweeted this:

Something false can be true if I want it to be.
Something false can be true if a feminist says it’s true.

and this:

If you insist on fact-based inquiries, you are a rapist.
If you insist on fact-based inquiries, you are a rapist.

…before deleting her Twitter account once her craziness was discovered.

Mainstream media

Meanwhile in the mainstream media, the Rolling Stone apology was not news, even though the unretracted story was news:

When the now-retracted article by the Rolling Stone magazine was published on November 19 about a brutal gang rape of a first-year student at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia (UVA), the major broadcast networks rushed to the story and devoted multiple segments to both the article and reaction on the school’s campus.

[…]The “big three” of ABC, CBS and NBC offered coverage on their evening newscasts over the course of November 23 and 24, with ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News covering it on the 23rd. The following night, an additional report was filed by ABC and NBC each to go along with the first from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. On those two evenings alone, the total network coverage was 11 minutes and 14 seconds.

While the three programs combined for just under 8 minutes of thorough coverage on Friday night, that does little to excuse their inability to investigate the story independently or even check the facts of the Rolling Stone piece on their own.

[…]On NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams was the sole anchor to admit that his program had filed stories based off of the very article that he and NBC’s Kristen Welker would now report had major “discrepancies.”

Still, the networks had pitfalls in their coverage of the retraction. As suggested two sentences prior, ABC and CBS failed to join with NBC in not admitting to having previously blindly covered this subject.

Also, CBS and NBC fell short in only interviewing students who, respectively, suggested pieces like this are why victims hesitate coming forward and dismissed the fact that the story is now in severe doubt because the issue of sexual assault is “still a problem” on college campuses “even if it’s not real.”

Now, I thought that people who go to journalism school did nothing but learn how to discover the truth about a story. I thought that it was like police detective work – interviewing witnesses, checking facts, corroborating testimony, digging through records. How wrong I was. But I think I’ll be right about something else – I think a lot of people who read the original story will believe it based on intuitions and emotions, even now after significant portions of the story conflict with known facts. They’ll believe it because that’s what they’ve been brainwashed in non-STEM programs to believe. They’ve become incapable of critical thinking, incapable of updating their views according to evidence and incapable of respectful dialog with those who disagree with them.

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9 thoughts on “Should we “automatically believe rape claims” even if they are proven false?”

  1. Something interesting hidden in there, these fems have terrible taste in men. All men are rapists…except for this handful of men whose flaws we will completely over look. Bill Clinton comes to mind, but also John Edwards. While Melissa McEwen was carrying on abut the evils of men, she was also heavily invested in supporting John Edwards who was having an affair while his wife was undergoing cancer treatment and spending campaign fund on his mistress.

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  2. I dont understand why people lie about rape,its not a laughing or funny situation. I have known friends and family members who have gone through this. I just dont understand people sometimes

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  3. This is not new. In the late 80s when I was in university, it was a common meme on campus that the only men not guilty of rape were those who haven’t gotten caught yet.

    We live in a culture where people compete to be more victimized than the next person. I guess we’ve gotten to the point where you don’t need to even substantiate it.

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  4. Zerlina, while admitting that a man was falsely accused of rape, persists in calling him a “perp(etrator).”

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