Yesterday the Rolling Stone published the results of its investigation of the flaws in its article ‘A Rape on Campus,’ a story published last November about an alleged gang rape on the campus of the University of Virgina. Because of the national controversy, Rolling Stone requested that Steve Colle from the Columbia School of Journalism investigate the story to see how the flaws came about.
The alleged victim under the pseudonym “Jackie” provided a horrifying account of the incident describing but not identifying the “lifeguard” as one who coached seven others during the rape. Jackie, however, refused to identify the lifeguard, saying she was afraid. Writers from the Rolling Stone were unable to verify the identity or even the existence of the lifeguard.
The story had far reaching consequences on the UVA campus including severe punishments for fraternities there. Rolling Stones article
yesterday admitted wrong doing “As we asked ourselves how we could have gotten the story wrong…” Apparently Rolling Stone management was kept in the dark about the flaws in the story. No word on any consequences for the authors of the story.
In our opinion, while Rolling Stone certainly deserves credit for investigating themselves (under a certain amount of pressure), the integrity of the publication must be called into question.
The controversy and sloppiness of this story may have allowed guilty men to go free, or, much worse inflicted severe and life threatening punishment on innocent ones.