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Rolling Stone, rape journalism and corrections.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Versatile, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member


    Let's start with this: If your source is wrong or even deliberately lying, it's not their fault that you declined to check.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie's story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her.

    Am I looking at it with too much hindsight, or is that just a giant waving red flag when you hear that as a reporter?
  3. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    It doesn't require directly blaming someone for rape to check background facts.
  4. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    The idea that fraternities required pledges to rape someone in order to become a member is what stood out as complete bs. Do rapes happen? Absolutely. But the idea that it's sytemic and organized is ridiculous. I was in a fraternity at a southern school and there were incidents you'd hear about from other frats that were crazy. But nothing close to this, which is why it set off the bs meter for me when I first read it.

    Major journalistic failure.
  5. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    I like their music reviews.
  6. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    1. Go shopping for the perfect rape story that would shock. Check out the Ivys, keep shopping.
    2. Finally find one that will shock and horrify, which pretty clearly shows you were putting the "cause" before the facts, and in fact likely cherry-picking them to fit into what story you wanted to tell.
    3. Make a deal with a source to not contact people she was accusing in the story, still write about where one works, where others live, say they were part of a "tradition" of raping that happens every year.
    4. Maybe or maybe not contact her friends. Be vague about that. Use what appear to be made up quotes from them anyway.
    5. Clearly do not verify if accused works at the pool. Or that he was even a member of the fraternity. Or that he even exists.
    6. Look at an outdated contact list and think: Oh well. This shit is hard.
    7. Get a statement from the fraternity's national spokesperson. Figure: this is good.
    8. Bury the actual, verifiable and important information in your story, that administrators don't take allegations seriously and that no one has EVER been expelled from UVA for sexual assault. In history.
    9. Publish.
    10. Soak up all the praise for your story. Go on a victory lap media tour.
    11. Dismisse initial criticisms of your piece as "missing the point" and "getting distracted." Clap in approval when others call legitimate criticisms of your piece "rape truthers."
    12. Continue to dig yourself in a hole with your bumbling media tour, exposes more holes in the story.
    13. Try to pretend it doesn't matter if Jackie might not have been telling the truth, that's not the story you were telling anyway. Never mind the 2,000 word lede to the piece. That's just you blaming the victim, missing the point.
    14. Laywer up.
    15. Watch your story fall apart when Slate and Washington Post try to check a bunch of facts, many of them do not.
    16. Clam up. Full cover your ass mode.
    17. Victim blame. "Our trust in our source was misplaced."
    18. Go into hiding.
    19. Eventually return to doing stuff like mindlessly praising U2's latest shitty album, hope no one will notice what an epic disaster this was.
    20. Fin.

    Does that about cover it?

    EDIT: I forgot one! When source asks to be taken out of the story, refuse! When she gets cold feet about stuff, just ignore her!
  7. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    The implosion of this story is going to be painful to watch.
  8. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    That's about it... apart from number 19. It's a pretty terrific album.

    Also amusing about their "note to readers" -- they say they chose not to contact the alleged attackers in keeping with the accuser's wishes, but that's not what the author told the Washington Post. She claimed they tried to track the men down, but it was, you know, hard.
  9. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    With strong editing, bad reporting rarely sees the light of day. This, media company executives, is the danger of minimizing the profession of editing.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Damning deconstruction, Double D, that rings true.

    And exactly right, File.
  11. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    21. Send Matt Taibbi out to investigate an investment bank, VC firm, prominent republican something, and print a wild conspiracy theory piece filled with boogey men and unjustified conclusions that stir up populist sentiment. If anyone points out his fallacies, call them a name.
  12. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Don't make Matt call you one of the vampire squid. He'll sic Abby Martin on you.
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