5
   

UVA Gang Rape Fiasco: Real damage from a false narrative.

 
 
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2014 12:37 pm
The UVA/Rolling Stone controversy is a tragic disaster. It hurt rape victims. It hurt a fraternity and it put a campus into turmoil.

What happened is very clear. An unsubstantiated claim of a gang rape was pushed into the public by overzealous activists whose ideology blinded them to the facts. They recruited an overzealous reporter whose ideology blinded her to the facts (which is especially tragic since facts are her job). The article was published and overreacted to by a community whose ideology blinded them to the facts.

Then it became clear that the facts didn't support the outrage (since the gang rape as recounted couldn't possibly have happened).

Is anyone learning from their mistake, or even admitting that they overreacted? It doesn't seem like it. The articles today show many people doubling down. Some of them are claiming that "Jackie" (the alleged rape victim) was telling the truth in spite of the facts. Others are saying frankly that the facts don't matter.

But that is the problem. The facts do matter. If your ideology isn't supported by the facts, then there is a problem with your ideology. Sometimes ideology hurts people and often it divides communities. It doesn't solve problems, but instead turn issues into battlegrounds.

At the core of this problem is the myth that "1 in 5 women are raped". This single rallying cry is even today (after the story has been discredited) being used to support the overreaction to the story.

The message is clear; Claims of rape shouldn't be questioned. But, this isn't logical or reasonable.

There needs to be a middle ground, where claims of rape are handled fairly and humanely. There needs to be rational policies to make college campuses safe for all.

Ideological narratives that can't be questioned is the wrong way to achieve this. And the doubling down that we see from the people still supporting this story in spite of the facts is disheartening.
 
maxdancona
 
  3  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2014 01:23 pm
@maxdancona,
I love the gratuitous "misogyny" tags. They are ironically appropriate on this thread about ideology overriding facts. There is nothing in my post that is remotely misogynistic. For at least one person, discussing the role of a narrative counts as misogyny.

I promise I didn't put them there myself to prove my own point.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2014 01:26 pm
Any false step in the name of women's rights and certain mentalities are all over it, as if it negates the whole issue.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2014 01:28 pm
@edgarblythe,
No Edgar, you are missing the point. I am staking out a position between two extremes. I support women's rights. What I am objecting to is an ideological narrative that ignores facts and prevents real discussion.

Facts matter. The ideology is hurting the goal it claims to be promoting.
CalamityJane
 
  0  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2014 01:39 pm
@maxdancona,
What are the facts? Where you there? Do you know?
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2014 04:15 pm
@maxdancona,
It was poor journalism. It should not have been published without secondary confirmation. The magazine editors dropped the ball. If high journalistic standards had been practiced by the editors, it would not matter what motivated the story or reporter, the facts would have been confirmed or the story not published.

There isn't much difference in this incident than with other notorious journalistic failures that occurred in the recent past at numerous media outlets. Remember the fake videos of ACORN employees? You can refresh your memory of others here:

http://catalog.freedomforum.org/FFLib/JournalistScandals.htm
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2014 04:17 pm
@CalamityJane,
Yes, the facts have now been checked. The story claimed there was a party, there was no party that night. The story mentions a back staircase that doesn't exist. The details from the story don't match any member of the fraternity.

Even before the facts were checked, the story doesn't make any sense. If a woman were raped on top of broken glass there would be serious injuries. The story alleges that her friends kept her from going to the hospital because they wanted to go to the fraternity party where their friend had been gang raped. This makes no sense.

This story makes a pretty horrible criminal charge against members of a fraternity. Such an incredible claim needs to be based on evidence.

It is responsibility of the people making these horrible charges to back it up with evidence. The people who are being charged shouldn't have to prove what didn't happen.

But in this case, the people being accused of this horrific crime have done just that.

The facts make it pretty clear that this story is fiction.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2014 04:44 pm
@Butrflynet,
The issue here is more than journalism (although I agree with you that this is a failure in journalism). The issue is what people are willing to believe without question.

I wish there could be a rational, fact-based discussion on these issues. Such a discussion would accept questioning and put evidence over ideology. If we did this we could have reasoned policy and a fair system based on reality.

What we have now are political slogans that many people accept as facts. The phrase "one in five", a number that has been mathematically discredited, is accepted by many as doctrine. The idea that rape claims should not be questioned is commonplace.

This political narrative hurts us as a society. It not only leads to bad policy and the inability to question, it prevents us from talking about the issues in a fact-based way.

This is frustrating to me. As the father of both sons and a daughter, I want both to live in a societ that keeps them safe and treats them fairly.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Jul, 2015 10:35 pm

UC San Diego failed to give a fair trial to a male student it found responsible for sexual misconduct last year by refusing to allow him to fully confront and cross-examine his accuser, a judge has ruled.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel M. Pressman found there was insufficient evidence to support charges that the student, identified as John Doe, had pressed a classmate to engage in sexual activity against her will in February 2014. Pressman ordered the university to drop its finding against Doe and all sanctions, including a suspension of one year and a quarter.

. . . .

In an opinion issued last Friday, Pressman said the university failed to hold a fair trial because the official who headed the misconduct hearing asked Roe only nine of 32 questions submitted by Doe. Officials also improperly allowed Dalcourt's findings to be used in the hearing without allowing Doe to confront the complaint officer, who did not attend. Nor was Doe given access to any statements by 14 witnesses or Roe's own interview statements.

Pressman also found the university "abused its discretion" in increasing sanctions against Doe after he appealed without explaining why.

"While the Court respects the university's determination to address sexual abuse and violence on its campus....the hearing against petitioner was unfair," Pressman wrote.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ucsd-sexual-misconduct-20150713-story.html
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  3  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2015 11:01 pm
Quote:
It is the criticism which the publication has received for such pointed, so called “biased” coverage that Dana chose to address in his lecture. In his talk, “The Myth of Fair and Balanced: A Defense of Biased Reporting,” Dana expounded upon the mania inherent in today’s news. He particularly focused on the blind obedience with which journalists “worship the grail of objectivity.” Some of his literary contemporaries “are so afraid of being crucified [by upper management],” he explained, “that they will play twister to hide their bias.” In deliberately disguising their opinion, their message often becomes more convoluted, giving way to a deep mistrust of the media by the people who are consuming it. “If the New York Times would just present itself as pro-war,” insisted Dana, “that would just be much more honest.”

Amidst a sea of this murky, supposedly more objective journalism, Dana argues that poignancy of opinion is much more honest and forthcoming than classic reporting. “I want to do stuff that’s biased.” For “bias,” maintains Dana, “does not mean unbalanced.” If anything. it sets the bar higher for Rolling Stones’ writers. They have to exercise extreme depth of analysis and reporting in writing their stories. In fact, confided Dana, his all-time favorite stories are those which deliberately framed extremely controversial issues in a manner which was both emotive and unabashedly honest.

Take Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, for example: What began as a two-part expose on the historical and cultural rise of fast food in the United States has since become a best-selling book – Fast Food Nation – and is in the process of being turned into a feature film. Generating the most mail of any article written by the magazine during the 1990s, Schlosser’s initial piece achieved such feats not by remaining neutral, but rather by taking a bold, radical stance. With a subtitle like “The Dark Side of the All-American Meal,” Schlosser knew the piece he was writing would be very alluring but at the same time potentially very volatile. Hence the exhaustive research. This was modern muckraking at its finest – if Rolling Stone was to feature such a controversial topic, its validity was never to be in question. Indeed, with an estimated 8-10 million readers per issue, Dana asserts that by printing pieces like Schlosser’s, the magazine yields considerable power. “We can become the seed pod for great things.”

Thus, while he acknowledged the importance of giving thought to both sides of an issue, ultimately “we’ll write what we believe,” insisted Dana. According to him there is no point in taking a hard stance on an issue which the staff finds morally incongruous – “It’s like when Rod Stewart made a disco record,” he quipped, “It just sounds wrong.”


http://middleburycampus.com/article/opinionated-editor-breaks-all-the-rules-rolling-stones-will-dana-defends-magazines-biased-appeal/

Will Dana, who presided over the most egregious melt down of journalism ever to happen at Rolling Stone in 50 years of publication on the UVA rape culture fantasy piece, is gone. Not even fired, he left on his own.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rolling-stones-will-dana-leaving-812085
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 06:49 am
@hawkeye10,
Will Dana didn't exactly leave on his own. Rolling Stone is facing two lawsuits, one from three UVA students and one from a UVA administrator.

He read the writing on the wall.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 09:06 am
@maxdancona,
But he should have been gone a long time ago, he was not fired, and it is questionable wether rolling stone ever should have hired a guy who publicly proclaimed that he wanted his people to write what was in their heart rather than the truth. The rape fantasy was the predictable result, and what good is RS if they are not even trying to speak truth? Why should I buy it?

I am no legal expert but I gotta figure that RS took on some considerable liability. I hope they get nailed.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 09:07 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
Why should I buy it?


Do you buy it? I don't.

I assume you believe in the free market. These rape stories sell very well to a certain demographic, and I think Rolling Stone is catering to it. Of course, the fact they got caught with a made up story was a mistake, but they are not wrong to write the stories that their readers want to read.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 09:12 am
@maxdancona,
I dont believe that companies should be free to lie about what they are selling, or should be free to sell unusually or unnecessarly dangerous stuff. If Rolling Stone was selling fantasy as news they should have to pay up.

I have not read RS for 20 years. It was long ago a great publication.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 09:15 am
@hawkeye10,
That is why we have courts. I hope that Rolling Stone pays.
0 Replies
 
 

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