Tag Archives: University of Virginia

UVA retracts rape story after Columbia University calls it “journalistic failure”

UVA students following their leftist masters
UVA students blindly following their leftist masters

The Wall Street Journal reports on the conclusion to this radical-feminist scandal. I’ll explain later why I am writing about this, too.

Excerpt:

Rolling Stone retracted an explosive article detailing an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity after Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism concluded that the story was a “journalistic failure that was avoidable.”

The Rolling Stone story was written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely and published last November under the headline “A Rape on Campus.” It sparked a national uproar over sexual misconduct at college campuses. At UVA, President Teresa Sullivan suspended all Greek activities for six weeks and students marched in protest.

But before long, other media reports raised serious doubts about the veracity of the article and the reporting and editing process behind it.

[…]The “most consequential” decision, the report found, was Rolling Stone’s acquiescence to the fact that Ms. Erdely “had not contacted the three friends who spoke with Jackie on the night she said she was raped.” If Rolling Stone had done so, it said, it “would have almost certainly led the magazine’s editors to change plans.”

[…]The Charlottesville, Va., police concluded in March after a four-month investigation that “there is no substantive basis to support the account alleged in the Rolling Stone article,” the Columbia report notes. Police said at the time they were unable to interview the woman featured in the story and their investigation remains suspended until she decides she “wishes to cooperate.”

Jackie was later discovered to be a radical feminist. The author of the retracted rape story is also a radical feminist. And she is presenting herself as a victim:

Ms. Erdely, in a statement, said the past few months have been among the most painful in her life, and reading the Columbia report detailing her mistakes was “a brutal and humbling experience.”

[…]The report said that Rolling Stone’s editors, as well as Ms. Erdely, “concluded that their main fault was to be too accommodating of Jackie because she described herself as the survivor of a terrible sexual assault.”

Columbia, however, disagreed with that conclusion, noting that editors made decisions about “attribution, fact-checking and verification that greatly increased their risks of error but had little or nothing to do with protecting Jackie’s position.”

Newsbusters quotes the report, which shows that Erdely’s story was agenda-driven from the start:

Last July 8, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, a writer for Rolling Stone, telephoned Emily Renda, a rape survivor working on sexual assault issues as a staff member at the University of Virginia. Erdely said she was searching for a single, emblematic college rape case that would show “what it’s like to be on campus now … where not only is rape so prevalent but also that there’s this pervasive culture of sexual harassment/rape culture,” according to Erdely’s notes of the conversation.

Reason.com quotes this part of the report to show her editors were complicit:

Jackie proved to be a challenging source. At times, she did not respond to Erdely’s calls, texts and emails. At two points, the reporter feared Jackie might withdraw her cooperation. Also, Jackie refused to provide Erdely the name of the lifeguard who had organized the attack on her. She said she was still afraid of him. That led to tense exchanges between Erdely and Jackie, but the confrontation ended when Rolling Stone’s editors decided to go ahead without knowing the lifeguard’s name or verifying his existence. After that concession, Jackie cooperated fully until publication.

Reason also comments:

It’s actually even worse than that. When Erdely told Jackie that she really did need to know the name of Jackie’s date (the lifeguard who supposedly masterminded the attack), Jackie stopped answering her phone calls and texts for about two weeks. Eventually, Erdely left Jackie another voicemail in which the writer agreed to stop trying to contact the lifeguard and instead use a pseudonym, Drew. After that, Jackie magically reappeared, calling Erdely back “quickly,” according to the report.

Jackie, in fact, displayed impressive levels of self-preservation and rational behavior—at least, from the perspective of a highly disturbed person whose goal was to spread an incredible lie without exposing it as such. She was highly detailed in her account of the crime, gave descriptions, and recalled (wholly invented) conversations with great accuracy. And she studiously avoided any line of questioning that would have exposed the lie. If a particular question posed a threat, she either invented a reason why it couldn’t be answered, or simply stopped responding.

No one at Rolling Stone has been fired, much less charged with crimes. The woman who made the false rape charge has also not been charged with anything. So there is no deterrent there to prevent this from happening again – either to the women who make the charges, or to the radical feminists who “report” on them. Let’s hope that when the lawsuits shake out that both Erdely and her Rolling Stone cheerleaders find themselves bankrupted.

How often are rape claims false?

National Review explains:

Specifically, in their analysis of sexual-assault cases at a large university, the authors found that 5.9 percent of cases were provably false. However, 44.9 percent cases “did not proceed” – meaning there was insufficient evidence, the accuser was uncooperative, or the incident did not meet the legal standard of assault. An additional 13.9 percent of cases could not be categorized due to lack of information. That leaves 35.3 percent of cases that led to formal charges or discipline against the accused.

“35.3 percent of cases that led to formal charges or discipline against the accused”. That’s a lot of Jackie-scenarios.

The trouble is when people don’t do the homework and just come to have a general mistrust of men based on their intuitions and emotions from stories they hear about from the news media – stories like this one. And yet they become so sure that they have an educated and informed opinion, just from hearing news reports. They never hear about the retractions.

My take

So why did I cover this story in past blog posts, and why am I bringing up the retraction now? Well, it’s because of the feminist agenda. I want to point out how the feminist left uses stories like this in order to push a wedge between men and women. Women who are indoctrinated for four years in misandry are less likely to look to men as protectors, providers and moral/spiritual leaders. Marriage, with its traditional gender roles of men working and woman raising the kids, will be out.

If men are all rapists, then how could a woman give up her own dreams and career to stay home and raise kids? If men are all rapists, how could a woman trust a man to be faithful to her? If men are all rapists, then how could a man be trusted to provide for a family. If men are all rapists, then how could a woman trust a man to stick around when she is old and wrinkly? And of course, this lousy impression of men is all reinforced by the binge-drinking, hooking-up, and serial cohabitation that is so popular in university campuses.

There is a reason why Rolling Stone ran with this story, despite all the warning signs – it made the point that they wanted to make. Women who think that they can’t depend on men will naturally turn to bigger government to provide for them, and that’s what people on the left want women to do. Marriage is subversive to their plan. Having a lot of children is subversive to their plan. Homeschooling is subversive to their plan.

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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Marriage researcher Brad Wilcox’s lecture on marriage and society

There are two parts. The lecture and then the Q&A.

Let’s learn a bit about Brad first:

W. Bradford Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, and a member of the James Madison Society at Princeton University.

He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. at Princeton University. Prior to coming to the University of Virginia, he held research fellowships at Princeton University, Yale University and the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Wilcox’s research focuses on marriage, parenthood, and cohabitation, and on the ways that gender, religion, and children influence the quality and stability of American marriages and family life. He has published articles on marriage, cohabitation, parenting, and fatherhood in The American Sociological Review, Social Forces, The Journal of Marriage and Family and The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. His first book, Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands (Chicago, 2004), examines the ways in which the religious beliefs and practices of American Protestant men influence their approach to parenting, household labor, and marriage. With Nicholas Wolfinger, Wilcox is now writing a book titled, Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Children, & Marriage among African Americans and Latinos, for Oxford University Press. With Eric Kaufmann, Wilcox is finishing a book on the causes and consequences of low fertility in the West.

The MP3 file for the lecture is here.

The MP3 file for the Q&A is here.

This lecture covers marriage, cohabitation, single parenthood and divorce.

Marriage researcher Brad Wilcox’s lecture on marriage and society

There are two parts. The lecture and then the Q&A.

Let’s learn a bit about Brad first:

W. Bradford Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, and a member of the James Madison Society at Princeton University.

He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. at Princeton University. Prior to coming to the University of Virginia, he held research fellowships at Princeton University, Yale University and the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Wilcox’s research focuses on marriage, parenthood, and cohabitation, and on the ways that gender, religion, and children influence the quality and stability of American marriages and family life. He has published articles on marriage, cohabitation, parenting, and fatherhood in The American Sociological Review, Social Forces, The Journal of Marriage and Family and The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. His first book, Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands (Chicago, 2004), examines the ways in which the religious beliefs and practices of American Protestant men influence their approach to parenting, household labor, and marriage. With Nicholas Wolfinger, Wilcox is now writing a book titled, Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Children, & Marriage among African Americans and Latinos, for Oxford University Press. With Eric Kaufmann, Wilcox is finishing a book on the causes and consequences of low fertility in the West.

The MP3 file for the lecture is here.

The MP3 file for the Q&A is here.

This lecture covers marriage, cohabitation, single parenthood and divorce.

VA attorney general demands that university account for AGW research grants

From Watts Up With That.

Excerpt:

No one can accuse Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of shying from controversy. In his first four months in office, Cuccinelli  directed public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacked the Environmental Protection Agency, and filed a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform. Now, it appears, he may be preparing a legal assault on an embattled proponent of global warming theory who used to teach at the University of Virginia, Michael Mann.

In papers sent to UVA April 23, Cuccinelli’s office commands the university to produce a sweeping swath of documents relating to Mann’s receipt of nearly half a million dollars in state grant-funded climate research conducted while Mann— now director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State— was at UVA between 1999 and 2005.

If Cuccinelli succeeds in finding a smoking gun like the purloined emails that led to the international scandal dubbed Climategate, Cuccinelli could seek the return of all the research money, legal fees, and trebled damages.

“Since it’s public money, there’s enough controversy to look in to the possible manipulation of data,” says Dr. Charles Battig, president of the nonprofit Piedmont Chapter Virginia Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment, a group that doubts the underpinnings of climate change theory.

The Attorney General has the right to make such demands for documents under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, a 2002 law designed to keep government workers honest.

More at The Hook.

Cuccinelli is a Republican, of course. I hope he starts a trend! I also note that he is a graduate of the George Mason School of Law, one of the best places for conservatives to do a law degree (or an economics degree).

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