Friday, November 04, 2016
The Trial Over The Fake UVA Rape Story Shows How Low Journalism's Sunk
Here's a sign of the times for you.
Remember the Rolling Stone story about the gang rape of 'Jackie' at the University of Virginia with its graphic depiction of a horrific assault by white frat boys?
When the story erupted, with it's bathetic portrayal of 'victim' Jackie Coakley, the brutal frat boy rapists and a cold, uncaring college bureaucracy, it went viral and the usual suspects just ate it up. There were plenty of media figures who paid their rent with hysterical commentary echoing the central plot of writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely's little semi-porn fiction- that white frat boys were de facto misogynists, rapists and ogres reeking of male privilege, who had be stopped hard if tender coeds like Jackie were to be safe walking to their gender studies classes.
One who swallowed this swill whole without any direct evidence other than Rolling Stone's story was male Bashing Leftist cadre and U of VA President Teresa Sullivan.
She closed down every fraternity and sorority on the campus. And as the Leftist megaphone trumpeted it across America, innocent male students were publicly shamed and maligned, and fraternity houses, including the one where the rape supposedly took place were vandalized, all while Ms. Sullivan and her counterparts at universities across the country preened and posed for the press.
And then the bubble burst.The sort of details even a novice reporter would have known to check out before running a story like this suddenly came to light as being blatantly false. There was no party at the Phi Kappa Psi house the night Jackie claimed the incident took place, the picture of her alleged 'date' who took her there turned out to be an old high school boyfriend going to another school out of state she hadn't seen in years, no one in the fraternity matched the name or description of her 'rapists' and she even had the details of the interior of the frat house wrong. Moreover, as the story continued to unravel, Jackie Coakley was revealed as an attention seeker who had played this game before. Finally, Rolling Stone was forced to retract the story long after everyone knew it was bogus.
Jan Wenner, Rolling Stone's publisher put out a glib apology, but apparently that didn't do it for a number of people had been defamed and maligned by this hoax. One of them was former UVA dean Nicole Eramo, who was responsible for managing sexual violence cases at the time the article was published.
She was portrayed in the piece as cold, callous and uncaring towards Jackie, which is actually the opposite of what really occurred. Eramo spent considerable time counseling her and even set up a meeting with police detectives to help find and charge her attackers. Surprise, surprise, Jackie never showed at the meeting and refused to cooperate with the police at all.
Thanks to the article's portrayal of Ms. Eramo, she was subject to near ostracizing by a number of her colleagues, major stress at her job and finally had to resign. So she sued Rolling Stone and writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely for damages due to the defamation of her character.
Rolling's Stone's defense was that the magazine had not acted with actual malice towards Eramo.
But Tom Clare, one of the lawyers representing Eramo proved in court something that was pretty well known, that Erdeley and Rolling Stone had a totally preconceived story line before the bogus article was even written...a sympathetic sounding co-ed rape victim, white frat boy rapists and a portrait of a university bureaucracy as cold and uncaring. What Erdely and Rolling Stone were after was not a story, but details to flesh out a script. The perpetrators had to be white frat boys, preferably at a Southern university. As Clare said in his closing statement, his client was “collateral damage in a quest for sensational journalism.”
The jury agreed. Both Rolling Stone and Sabrina Rubin Erdely were found guilty of defaming Nicole Eramo's character and reputation.
The case will continue this week when the jury enters the penalty phase of the trial. They will also hear additional evidence from Eramo and her lawyers concerning how the article affected her. Eramo originally asked for $7.5 million but the court can reduce or increase the amount. And it doesn't end here. Some of the UVA students are suing as well.
Rolling Stone and Erdely richly deserve what they get. They've been pulling this kind of crap for years. But the shame of this entire sorry mess is that the one person who orchestrated the whole thing and caused pain and suffering to a good many people got off free and clear, and is probably still reveling in all the attention she got. I'm speaking, of course, of a certain pathological liar named Jackie Coakley.
Pity, but time has way of evening the score.
The real point of this,of course is a grim portrait of what low, disreputable level journalism has sunk to. The current election, with actual collusion between much of the media and the Clinton campaign has done major damage to our Republic. Yes, they've been scripting stories too, but have yet to be punished because most of their fellow travelers on the Left of course refuse to out them.
When it comes to the press, no one appears to guarding the guardians anymore. And that is definitely not a healthy place to be. Rolling Stone caught popped for this, but they're the exception to what appears to be the rule now.