Fuck You, Rolling Stone
December’s gotten off to a brutal start. First, we watch as two police officers avoid trial for killing men who didn’t need to die. In the midst of this, we hear about Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old in Cleveland who was shot dead for “playing with a toy gun.” The video shows what we, unfortunately, have come to expect: a police officer quickly and unjustifiably mows Rice down. In the light of day. In a public place. From the protection of his police car. It soon came to light that the officer’s previous department fired him for emotional maturity issues, an inability to manage stress and “dismal” performance in firearms training. The report, written by his former deputy chief, concludes: “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to correct or change these deficiencies.”
As if police brutality and the racist reality of our justice system weren’t enough, we now have piss poor journalism to add to the list. For those of you unaware, Rolling Stone recently ran an article detailing a horrific gang rape that occurred at a fraternity house on UVA’s campus. UVA responded swiftly by suspending all fraternities at the university until January. This is all old news.
What’s new, though, is Rolling Stone’s statement issued today, which addresses some of the article’s alleged inconsistencies. The Washington Post also has more information on the developing story, including a detailed description of the alleged inconsistencies, a subsequent interview with the victim, and an account of Rolling Stone’s editorial policies leading to publication of the article.
There’s a lot wrong with this story, and nearly all of it stems from Rolling Stone’s horrendous journalism. First, Rolling Stone ignored its responsibility to fact-check the story. It refused to contact any of the accused individuals, and it refused to corroborate the victim’s timeline and description of the events. In fact, the author of the piece actually said on a Slate podcast that she attempted to get in touch with the accused men, a statement now known to be false. Second, and even worse, Rolling Stone refused to remove the victim from the story and then pressured the victim into going forward with the story despite her request that Rolling Stone not publish it. As a condition of publishing the story, Rolling Stone promised the victim that she could fact check the parts of the story that mentioned her. Third, despite knowing of the victim’s reluctance and then making an agreement to assuage it, Rolling Stone didn’t mention these facts in the article, facts most readers likely would have wanted (and arguably needed) to know.
But that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is what happened today. In its statement, Rolling Stone all but calls the victim a liar, closing with the statement: “we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced.” Honestly, fuck you, Rolling Stone. Fuck you for not doing your job properly. Fuck you for calling yourself journalists and continuing to degrade the profession. Fuck you for not standing by your criticism of UVA for their approach to sexual assault, which is both totally unacceptable and offensive. Fuck you for contributing to our media’s “fact illiteracy” in which it has become commonplace to intentionally ignore any information that produces a balanced and thus unpopular and unprofitable product. But most importantly, fuck you for trashing a young woman in the national press and, in doing so, giving tons of misogynistic dickheads perceived ground to stand on when, at the top of their lungs or through furiously violent keystrokes, they call rape victims liars.
You’d think that after so seriously fucking up a story of such magnitude, you’d have the patience if not decency to wait one goddamn second in order to investigate these inconsistencies so we can understand and explain them rather than assume the worst in a person. But no. Instead, to save face, you call a woman a liar and make her life, and many other women’s lives, a living hell. Alas, you’ve continued making December, a month where holidays somehow cause people to be joyful and get along, a complete clusterfuck. Go shittily review some albums.
This article first appeared on Broplushipster