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Katy Grimes

Bad Journalism Deja’ Vu In Rolling Stone’s UVA Rape Story

Journalism’s most basic tenets of truth and accuracy, independence from special interests or conflict-of-interests, fairness and impartiality, and accountability, mean that writers must be fair, stick to the data and facts, question both sides, question the authorities, and listen to the explanations. But that’s not what we are getting with the recent Rolling Stone story of campus rape at the University of Virginia.

Rolling Stone from 2012

In fact, the mainstream media keeps telling and retelling a big fat lie about the phony campus rape epidemic.

The story that “Jackie” told to Rolling Stone about being brutally gang-raped in a UVA fraternity house over the course of three hours, never made sense.  Perhaps because the Rolling Stone reporter never talked to the young men accused of the alleged gang rape. Yet Rolling Stone published the story anyway. And UVA suspended the entire Greek system on campus.

If this brings back memories of the Duke University Lacrosse phony rape case, it should. It’s a bad journalism deja’ vu.

Duke Lacrosse Team Tried and Convicted by Media

In 2006, sexual assault charges were falsely made by Crystal Gail Mangum, a black escort and stripper, against three white members of the Duke University lacrosse team.

Former McClatchy-owned, Raleigh News & Observer editor, Melanie Sill ran with the Duke Lacrosse story in order to be the first to publish it, despite gaping holes and changing details in the story. The newspaper continued to run with the slanted stories until the ugly hoax was exposed. Those stories are no longer available online, as is unfortunately typical of McClatchy. The newspaper even removed its own  “Collected stories from The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer.”

“Beginning Mar. 24 when it ‘broke’ the Duke lacrosse story with a report repeatedly saying the accuser was ‘the victim’ without ever using the conditional ‘alleged,’ the Raleigh News & Observer produced in a few days a series of stories that effectively framed the Duke lacrosse players as a lawless group that included the three brutal rapists of a young mother, whom they also beat and strangled, and their forty or so teammates, privileged white males all, who looked on while the crimes occurred and afterwards refused to help police identify their rapists pals,” explained a well-known blogger in North Carolina who followed the case closely.

“We know those N&O stories were part of a terrible hoax that fueled a witch hunt. And like all witch hunts, it’s claimed innocent victims and harmed a community.

But for many weeks after publication of those stories and subsequet ones like them, N&O reporters and editors boasted about them. The N&O’s executive editor for news, Melanie Sill, gushed about how proud she was that her staff had “pushed hard.” The newsroom buzzed with talk of Pulitzers and big pay raises.”

Under Sill’s editorial direction, the Raleigh News & Observer ran exposés of the lacrosse players, but ignored the dingy world of the strip club dancer who falsely accused the players of rape during a fraternity party.

Sill even omitted the word “black” from a police description of a person wanted by the Durham police in connection with the alleged rape.

Neither Sill nor McClatchy ever apologized for the gross journalistic violations, or for Sill’s editorial role during the case. Because of the media sensationalism, the Black Panthers and Jesse Jackson even got involved in the case, which dragged on in court for over one year before the rape charges were dropped.

The court eventually decided the players were falsely accused of the rape charges.

However, Mike Nifong, the former Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney, was removed and disbarred for withholding evidence concerning case DNA tests. The State Bar filed ethics charges and accused Nifong of a “systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion … prejudicial to the administration of justice” when he withheld DNA evidence to mislead the court.

But for Sill, it appeared getting the story first was more important than getting it right. She left Raleigh N&O in 2007 and was hired by the Sacramento Bee as editor and senior vice president for news until 2011. Sill left the Bee and now works for Public Radio.

Crazy feminist agenda lives, despite data and facts

Recently, a feminist professor said that America should stop putting all women in jail, for any crime. Campus Reform reported, “Patricia O’Brien, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois’s Jane Addam’s College of Social Work, contends that the majority of women in prison are merely non-violent, poorly educated, unemployed, and abused, according to her op-ed in The Washington Post.

It continues 

Last week, the Washington Post weighed in on the University of Virginia rape case. “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,” said Zerlina Maxwell.

However, I thought after the many lives hurt and nearly destroyed by the Duke Lacrosse team case, the media would be more careful with truth and accuracy, and fairness and accountability. I was wrong.

But not California

California always goes it alone. The Legislature and Gov. Brown have embraced the feminist notion that women claiming rape should always be believed, and more importantly, never questioned.

Sen. Pres. pro Tem Kevin De Leon

Signed into law by Gov. Brown, Senate Bill 967, by Sen. President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, reclassifies consensual sex on college campuses as “rape.”

As I explained in an October story, concurrently, all presumption of innocence of young males, and “innocent until proven guilty,” has been casually, and unconstitutionally, tossed aside.

This virtual wave of campus rape in fact, does not exist. What spurred this bill was a program and report by the White House, which declared sex crimes to be “epidemic” on U.S. college campuses. The White House claims one in five students is a victim of sexual assault while in college.

This dubious figure has become an article of faith and rallying cry among radical feminists pushing government intervention into colleges’ handling of sexual assault claims

The White House has reclassified and redefinined sexual assault to include sex under the influence or due to “verbal pressure”– and cast suspicion on male students, believed to have an army of rapists walking among them. The WH report even refers to the male sexual partner as “attacker.”

As I wrote in October in Statists and Sex Puritans Redefine The Meaning Of The Word “YES California’s new law grossly violates the due process rights of college students accused of rape. Many university policies already step in before the police are notified, and prevent the accused from hiring an attorney, violating due process rights. The universities’ policies trample on proper police procedure and on other constitutional protections – for the victim and accused.

University disciplinary panels are not made up of trained judges, police officers, legal mediators or attorneys, and instead are made up of university employees. They have an interest in protecting the university, and not the rights of the accused, and victim.

Redefining Sexual Violence

Real rape is a brutal, violent crime. Acts of rape need to be properly processed as such, and criminal police procedure needs to be strictly adhered to.

In “The new campus sex puritans,” Margaret Wente, writing in the Globe and Mail, said sexual violence now includes such offences as “criticizing the partner sexually” and “withholding sex and affection” – “things that in my day were known as ‘being in a bad relationship.’”

Violent crime, including sexual assault, has been declining for more than 20 years, while at the same time, universities across the U.S. have redefined the meaning of “sexual violence” to include anything that makes a woman feel badly, including regret.

Whether intentional or not, these lawmakers and thoughtless feminists have provided everyone a bill of goods. They’ve trivialized rape and sexual assault, while at the same time, are disparaging all young men.

Instead of addressing the degrading hook-up culture young women have come to accept, liberals and feminists have turned their sites on men, again. And instead of counseling female students not to binge drink lest they find themselves in regrettable situations, California legislators, and the governor are allowing bad judgment and sexual regrets to justify allegations of rape.


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