Baying for Broken Glass

The December 4 issue of Rolling Stone includes an article entitled “A Rape on Campus,” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely.  Miss Erdely tells us about a University of Virginia coed (“Jackie”) who claims to have been raped by seven fraternity boys two years ago.  The piece could hardly be more urgent, inflammatory, and, under closer investigation, untrue.

After ten days, during which no one publicly expressed reservations about the story, Steve Sailer reads a blog by Richard Bradley, former editor of George, who asks if the story is true.  After rereading the story, Sailer raises suspicions of his own on Taki’s Magazine.  The Washington Post and others follow his lead.  Not long after, Rolling Stone files an apology owning up to their editors’ mistakes.  Mistakes?  How could the magazine’s editors have believed what now transpires to have been an obvious fiction?  Sailer argues they believed because they wanted to.  The narrative conformed to their ideological prejudices concerning wealthy white men.

I think Sailer is right.

And there may be another reason.  I suspect the editors at Rolling Stone didn’t take enough—or perhaps any—undergraduate courses in literature.

One of the scandals of college education today is that a student can earn a degree,...

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