A Rolling Stone Gathers No Facts

Here’s Allahpundit on the mess in Jackie’s story, Erdely’s account, and Rolling Stone’s lackadaisical editing and fact-checking:

What are we left with from all that? [Jackie] told her friends one thing around the time the attack, which supports the idea that something happened, but her story now seems to line up in most particulars with the RS version, which at least one of those same friends regards as false. Maguire thinks it’s more likely than not that something happened but that the post-traumatic stress she suffered afterwards left her memories of it a hash over time — which, of course, made it all the more important for Rolling Stone to talk to everyone involved in the case, friends and alleged attackers alike, to see what was real and what wasn’t. Erdely and the crack RS editorial team apparently didn’t do that. Nor, as it turns out, is this the first story that Erdely’s written where the details seemed sensational enough to arouse suspicion. Ed mentioned one piece from her archives that appears to have problems in his post this morning; Mollie Hemingway found another, about a housewife turned madam, with enough implausible twists and turns to support 20 Lifetime movies of the week. Maybe Erdely just has a nose for fantastic stories involving protagonists who, for one reason or another, can’t be identified.


There’s a fair complaint that whatever happened to Jackie, and it seems like something did, Erdely and RS have done real damage to other rape victims who might now be even more afraid than ever to come forward. Left unsaid though is what Erdely has done to Jackie. Here we have a young woman who might be the victim of some sort of attack, or who might be a fabulist, or maybe something in between. But thanks to Erdely “rape shopping” adventures to find the storyline she had preconceived, even Jackie herself may never know the truth of what, if anything happened to her at UVA.


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