Rule of Law

Media Silence on Lena Dunham Rape Questions

If you needed any more proof of media bias, Google Lena Dunham. About the only news hits you’ll see go to John Nolte’s blistering investigative reporting on dubious parts of Dunham’s allegations of rape published at Breitbart (Powerline also has this piece). Apart from a single Washington Post mention, Dunham’s dubious story of her rape at Oberlin College by a college Republican (naturally) is nowhere to be found in any legacy news outlet, particularly those that have spent the last few years fawning over her.

To recap: Dunham’s new book has a detailed story of date rape by one “Barry,” whom she identifies as a well-known college Republican on campus. Not only did this Barry purportedly rape her, but he also was a serial rapist, including gruesome scenes of bloody violence committed against other Oberlin College students.

He’s the kind of fellow who should be in prison. But Nolte reports that Dunham doesn’t seem too interested in putting him there.

John Nolte spent a great deal of time on Oberlin’s campus, reviewing records which would touch on the credibility of Dunham’s Barry account, and Nolte found enough holes in Dunham’s story to qualify her to write for Rolling Stone.

Of course, few reviewers of Dunham’s potentially libelous new bestseller have had much to say.

Katy Waldman, who told us at Slate of Dunham’s “not-entirely-consensual encounter in college,” has been silent. Michiko Kakutani reviewed Dunham’s tale for the New York Times, and said Dunham “has written a book that’s as acute and heartfelt as it is funny.”

Perhaps Dunham’s book is heartfelt and funny — unless you happen to be Barry, and Dunham’s rape story is entirely fabricated.

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After Nolte began digging deeper into Dunham’s story some weeks ago, Barry-the-accused has powered up for possible libel litigation against Dunham. I won’t mention Barry’s full name anymore than I will provide a link to Dunham’s book, but anyone with a search engine can figure out who Barry is.

And that’s the problem for Dunham. Barry has set up a legal fund to pay for any action against Dunham.

The fact that Barry needs to ask for money exposes yet another irony of the entertainment/media/liberal alliance. Shirley Sherrod didn’t need to go hat-in-hand to scrounge up money to bring her libel case against Andrew Breitbart and Larry O’Connor, and now Andrew Breitbart’s widow. Oh no, that libel lawsuit is being handled by a big law firm, for free.

In some quarters it’s fashionable to run in the race-agitator crowd. It’s also fashionable to play in the fashionable feminist HBO scene, especially with Dunham’s innuendo-filled politics.

In Manhattan’s publishing industry, where magazines like Glamour, Vogue, and Marie Claire treat Dunham as some sickening combination of Madonna and Rosa Parks, there is probably hardly a soul aware that Nolte has wrecked Dunham’s story.

Even if a few are aware, truth and falsehood in those quarters comes by the identity of the speaker.  If conservative new media wrecks Dunham’s veracity, it will take weeks for the New York publishing world to acknowledge it, if then.

Here’s Barry’s challenge. If Dunham is lying about Barry, then she has made a false and defamatory publication. A significant legal issue is whether her publication was indeed about the potential plaintiff, Barry. She doesn’t provide Barry’s full name. Instead she provides outlandish details, such as Barry having a Rollie Fingers-style mustache and cowboy boots on a campus where most people look like David Van Driessen, the teacher in Beavis and Butthead:

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Barry will have to demonstrate that Dunham’s allegations could reasonably only mean him. Since Dunham provided just enough information to out Barry while at the same time including just enough puffery to make Barry look clownish on a liberal campus, Dunham may have opened herself up to liability.

If she were smart, she might consider offering an apology of Rolling Stone proportions before Barry hounds her for the next few years in a federal courtroom.