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Pushed by stories in both liberal and conservative media began poking holes in the horrific rape story outlined in the Rolling Stone article, “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” Managing Editor Will Dana, published a quasi-retraction on Friday

On Sunday they revised their retraction to acknowledge some the specific factual mistakes outlined in the  Washington Post, and even more importantly to make sure that they, rather than the supposed victim Jakie were blamed for the mistakes in the story.

The new paragraph about the Washington Post reads:

In the face of new information reported by the Washington Post and other news outlets, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account. The fraternity has issued a formal statement denying the assault and asserting that there was no “date function or formal event” on the night in question. Jackie herself is now unsure if the man she says lured her into the room where the rape occurred, identified in the story, as “Drew,” was a Phi Psi brother. According to the Washington Post, “Drew” actually belongs to a different fraternity and when contacted by the paper, he denied knowing Jackie. 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. A friend of Jackie’s (who we were told would not speak to Rolling Stone) told the Washington Post that he found Jackie that night a mile from the school’s fraternities. She did not appear to be “physically injured at the time” but was shaken. She told him that that she had been forced to have oral sex with a group of men at a fraternity party, but he does not remember her identifying a specific house. Other friends of Jackie’s told the Washington Post that they now have doubts about her narrative, but Jackie told the Washington Post that she firmly stands by the account she gave to Erdely.

Take a look at the difference between the old and new final paragraph which explains where Rolling Stone went wrong.

Friday Version:

In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

Sunday Version:

We published the article with the firm belief that it was accurate. Given all of these reports, however, we have come to the conclusion that we were mistaken in honoring Jackie’s request to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. In trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault, we made a judgment – the kind of judgment reporters and editors make every day. We should have not made this agreement with Jackie and we should have worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story. These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie. We apologize to anyone who was affected by the story and we will continue to investigate the events of that evening.

While the second version is probably closer to the truth, it still avoids the most important fact. No real news organization would have published the UVA story if they were not allowed to question those accused.  I would go even further, no reporter would have submitted the story without being allowed to approach the accused men.  And the fact that “Jackie” asked that her account of the rape not be included in the story should have raised red flags in the mind of the reporter and the Rolling Stone editors.

It is also interesting that Mr. Dana ends this version of the apology with “we will continue to investigate the events of that evening,” for a real journalist the time to do that was before it was published.

This story was simply a case Rolling Stone writer who was looking for a brutal rape story at a major
university and not surprisingly she found it, and because it was what
she was looking for did not do her due diligence and legwork to prove
her story true. This was compounded by Rolling Stone editors who were so happy to get a story which will make national news and fid their liberal bias they didn’t do their due diligence and went with a story that should have been held back.

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