Three Major December Media Misfires
On December 9, the day after Random House, Dunham's publisher, covered its legal keister by exonerating a "Barry" who did attend Oberlin during the time in question, Dunham posted a pathetic I'm-a-victim non-defense at BuzzFeed, claiming that she had made up details about her attacker to conceal his identity. Two days later, responding to several media insinuations to the contrary, Nolte made it redundantly clear that "Breitbart News never once questioned whether or not Lena Dunham was raped."
What followed is what should have made CJR's "blunders" list.
On December 31, J.K Trotter at Gawker, who appears to have set out to perpetuate the straw-man criticism against Dunham's detractors, reported something far more troubling:
The 2012 proposal for Not That Kind of Girl recounted the same night of unwanted unprotected sex—and supplied enough specific biographical detail to identify the man being described.
* * * * * * *
The final manuscript of Not that Kind of Girl contains a significantly altered version of Dunham’s original account.
Trotter is nearly certain that he has identified the attacker Dunham described in her 2012 proposal. His name is at the link for those who are curious, but the fundamentally important point is that this person "did not affiliate with either major political party until 2012, when he formally registered as a Democrat," and "does not appear to have ever been an on-the-book Republican."
Thus, Dunham's rape story, even assuming she was indeed raped, was from all appearances originally packaged in 2012 to smear Republicans and conservatives for an act committed by someone who was neither. When revised two years later, it was further dressed up with more juicy details not traceable to a specific person to enhance the smear's memorability.
It would seem that no one at Random House or at any other publisher who might have seen Dunham's original proposal and read the final product has ever questioned the credibility of her underlying story. This is either astonishing negligence or intensely hostile groupthink. Are these people all that lazy and clueless, or were Dunham's fabrications okay in publishing land because her story attacked liberalism's enemies?
3. The imaginary Kwanzaa "parade."
In recent years, the annual late-December Kwanzaa parade in South Central Los Angeles has fallen on hard times. In 2011, the second-last year the Los Angeles Times covered it, the paper claimed that "hundreds" attended, but could only muster a photo showing a half-dozen participants and about the same number of onlookers.
On December 26, 2014, apathy won. A CBS-Los Angeles reporter tweeted a photo showing an empty boulevard with no spectators captioned, "People in #SouthLosAngeles disappointed by lack of turn-out for #Kwanza parade. Parade lasted 10 mins." (What "people"?) Two minutes later, he tweeted: "Parade is over." It was never a real parade. It wasn't even a motorcade.
But then, in an online report, CBS-LA, despite its own reporter calling out a non-event, descended into full fictional cringeworthiness, making it appear as if a genuine parade had occurred:
LA Celebrates Start Of Kwanzaa With Parade Along Crenshaw Boulevard
The 38th annual KwanZaa Gwaride parade made its way down Crenshaw Boulevard Friday, marking the start of the seven-day festival of Kwanzaa.
* * * * * *
Some participants walked the parade carrying signs underlining important issues to the community, such as police brutality, home foreclosures, judicial corruption, transparency in government and environmental racism.
Never has one of the favorite sayings of Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds been truer: "It's Potemkin villages all the way down."
And all the way up – to the see no liberal media evil folks at the Columbia Journalism Review.
(Artwork created using multiple Shutterstock.com images.)