In their 12,000-word analysis of Rolling Stone’s now-retracted UVA rape story, the three Columbia University journalists who compiled the report say their goal wasn’t just to get to the bottom of one specific allegation, but to evaluate “how journalists might begin to define best practices when reporting about rape cases on campus or elsewhere” and “suggest ways forward.” Years ago, before she began chronicling the lamestream media’s failures on Fox News, maybe Megyn Kelly would’ve bought that idealistic hooey. But on Monday night, when a friend of “Jackie,” the alleged UVA victim, told her he hopes journalists can learn something from this mess, she had to set him straight.
Most of what UVA students Ryan Duffin and Alex Stock said on The Kelly File has already been covered in their previous interviews about the night Jackie came to them for help, claiming she was sexually assaulted. Both say they were never contacted by Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and dispute the way they were portrayed in the article (though they were given pseudonyms).
Kelly concluded the interview by asking them if Erdely should be fired. Stock said he thinks Rolling Stone has put its reputation “seriously at stake” by not doing so. Duffin gave a more diplomatic answer, saying that rather than doling out punishment, it’s “important that Rolling Stone and other media outlets look at this more as a story of what not to do in reporting,” so they can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
“You’re cute, because lemme tell ya, we learned this lesson already on the Duke fake rape case and people didn’t pay attention,” Kelly responded. “I mean, some people just didn’t pay attention. These cases are not an opportunity to bend over backwards to stand up for perceived victims. They’re an opportunity for reporters to determine who is and is not a victim, according to the facts as they stand.”
Sure, other journalists could try to learn something, but wouldn’t it be easier to just give up and thank God for Fox News?