As most already know, Sabrina Rubin Erdely went looking for a story which would be a “rape culture” fantasy story, one activists like her dream about. According to an early Washington Post article on the UVA rape piece*, Erdely searched for six weeks before she found her dream story. But when she found it, it clearly was worth the wait. It had everything a “rape culture” activist dreams of: White privilege, an evil fraternity initiation, hours of gang rape on a floor of broken glass, friends and university administration who urged the victim to keep silent, and much more. Based on more recent WaPo reporting and the apologies of the Rolling Stone editors, it appears that Erdely was so much in love with this fantasy story that she decided it was too good to check out. Not only did Erdely not interview the accused, she didn’t even interview “Jackie’s” three friends, the only other people who could corroborate Jackie’s story. It seems that Erdely understood how risky trying to verify a story this perfect would be.
It wasn’t just Erdely who fell in love with this perfect story. Feminists across the media fell in love with the fantasy story as well. But now the fantasy has been dashed, and Amanda Hess at Slate DoubleX is doing damage control. Hess is pleading with her fellow feminists to let the UVA rape story fantasy go to avoid doing even more harm to the carefully crafted “rape culture” narrative. This is important, Hess explains, because there are people out there nurturing the fantasy that feminists are inventing rape stories to advance their narrative (emphasis mine):
There are people on the fringe who believe that any rape story with any discrepancies is evidence of a vast feminist conspiracy aimed at inventing rapes and vilifying innocent men, but these rape truthers are not reasonable people, nor are they most people, and it is unwise to mold the conversation around their fantasies. I am, however, concerned with how some feminists and progressives have responded to the ever-expanding holes in Rolling Stone’s story.
In fairness to Erdely, she does not appear to have made up the fantastic story herself. By all accounts, she merely shopped around for a month and a half until she could find the one woman willing to tell her the story she wanted to write, and then published Jackie’s tale without doing the most basic investigation into the veracity of the story. However, Hess’ claim is a straw man; I’m not aware of any popular bloggers claiming that Erdely took the final shortcut of directly making up the story in her zeal to advance the feminist narrative of “rape culture”. Moreover, the widespread collusion by feminists to find, print, and propagate fantastic stories to advance the “rape culture” narrative is now beyond any serious contention.
*Written before the story started to fall apart. Note the headline picture of the accused fraternity with the angry mob in front.