John H. McWhorter ― The Truth About UVA and Ferguson Isn't Good Enough for P.C. Crowd
(The Daily Beast)
To many, the Columbia Journalism School report on Rolling Stone’s account of an alleged University of Virginia rape case will seem to be a story about media addicted to seeking sensationalism over accuracy. But the whole sordid affair has been about something much larger: the idea that the pursuit of justice can be separated from facts; that metaphorical truth can be more important than literal truth.
In the UVA case, a young woman known only as “Jackie” claimed that she was repeatedly gang-raped at a fraternity party, a shocking allegation that the Columbia report determined was not even an exaggeration, but a fabrication. In other words, it was a lie.
Reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely has been pronounced guilty of “confirmation bias”—she wanted Jackie’s story to be true because it felt dramatically emblematic of the story she wanted to write: universities’ inadequate response to accusations of sexual assault. The report notes one of her many lapses was not “confronting subjects with details”— an odd omission for a journalist.