Saturday, December 06, 2014

The University of Virginia phony rape scandal and the real scandal of the media and the administration

Buck Sexton writes: “The Left has gone mad over the Rolling Stone retraction.

I don't mean it's angry and self-righteous- that's always the case. I don't mean its arguments are weak, self-contradictory, unprincipled- I expect that too. This is different.

Many progressives have absolutely lost all touch with reality over the rapidly collapsing tale of the most vicious, sadistic campus rape imaginable.

They aren't reevaluating based on the facts, they are doubling down, and saying things so stupid, and so immoral, it is hard to believe they are serious.

Here we have a prime example:…/no-matter-what-jackie-said…/

A leftist commentator, in a major newspaper, writing flat out- the truth of the Rolling Stone story of a hideous gang rape at UVA doesn't matter.The individuals falsely accused don't matter. The University and administrators defamed in the piece don't matter.

It's the cause that matters. Only the cause. Always the cause.

This thinking dictates we must believe every and all accusations of rape, right away, without questioning or investigating. That's not an overstatement, read the piece and you will see an incoherent but fervent attack on the presumption of innocence as a principle. And written by a lawyer no less!

She is not alone, by the way. Other commentators have somehow perversely turned this into a case of "rape denialism." First off, I'm not sure that's even a thing, because rape is a serious criminal violation in every state and nobody anywhere in this country denies that it exists, and it happens far too often. One rape is too many.

But denialism? If something is said to be true, and it isnt, are we to say its true anyway, lest we be denialers? This is absurd.

Are there "murder denialists?" If someone wrote a story about how a fraternity was engaging in ritualized human sacrifice and stacking dead bodies in its basement, without anyone who noticed caring enough to call the cops- I think it would raise some eyebrows and strain believability. At a minimum, it would require investigation.

This isn't "denialism," it's rationality.

Which brings us to the next point of the bitter enders on the Left here- that the entire onus of everything wrong in this whole situation is on Rolling Stone. That's just simply not true.

Did a Rolling Stone reporter find a far too convenient, one-in-a-million story with the sort of sensational implications that would get national attention? Yup. Did that reporter then fail to uphold even the most rudimentary standards of journalism in a rush to publish something that should have required additional levels of fact-checking and even more vigilant journalistic ethics?Indeed.

But Rolling Stone isn't the only party at fault here. Despite the shrill (and in the case of MSNBC's Chris Hayes twitter tirade- childishly profane) effort to place this all on a magazine that would have ceased to exist in a rational world many years ago, there is the very real possibility that the subject of the story-- "Jackie"- lied.

That doesn't mean she fabricated the whole thing, although that is entirely possible, but she did apparently get facts wrong. Not jumbled, not vague- wrong. And that's apart from the basic credulity issues surrounding all this.

Nobody downstairs at the fraternity house was unnerved enough by the site of a woman covered in blood, bruises, and broken glass to do anything? None of her friends cared? No administrator called the police? Didn't tell her parents? Not a single, honorable person is to be found anywhere at UVA or anywhere in this story?

Of course, this is what got the story so much attention. In a country where the sexual assault scourge on campus is well-established and now even has the White House involved, this story was an outlier. Nobody had ever heard of an attack like this at a major university with such callous responses from so many.

And now those in the media who were willing to use the most baseless slurs- "rape apologists"- against anyone who questioned this outlandish narrative want to tell us all that something still happened to Jackie. It's not her fault. Maybe she got foggy, or maybe she exaggerated a little because of the trauma.

(How do they know this, by the way? Any of it? Aren't they relying on a retracted magazine piece for all of their facts too?)

But even a material exaggeration of facts in a sexual assault is problematic (and under oath, would be perjury). If someone punches me in the face at a bar, that's assault. I can't just decide to add that brass knuckles were used, and I was also robbed, in order to make the assailant seem worse and get more time. In a criminal court, the details of the crime have very real implications for the charges brought, and the length of sentence. It's not ok to intentionally get creative or exaggerate a crime, no matter how much catharsis it may give a victim.

This is all starting to feel very much like the Duke Lacrosse case of 2006- another story that to an honest reader from the beginning seemed very, very improbable, but it turned into a national media sensation anyway. "Race, class, sex, and privilege"- that was the story. And it was all a big, fat, grotesque lie.

And if you recall, the disgraced, almost comically evil prosecutor in that case- Mike Nifong- still would claim that "something happened that" after the accused lacrosse players were said by the state of North Carolina to be completely innocent! Not "not guilty," but "innocent!"

It seems the Nifong effect is on display now. Rolling Stone is disgraced, the entire rape story may have been a fabrication, and there are Leftists who think that those who questioned the initial story- even though they were right to do so- are somehow the real problem.

The truth always matters. There is no cause that can make the truth irrelevant. The Left is dead wrong on all this, but don't expect them to admit it anytime soon.

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