The gray lady, she shall never be the same.
She's been violated. Will she survive her victimization? And if so, will she survive intact? Only time will tell.
But what of her victimization? Well, it just so happens that there really is such a thing as a rape culture. But the real rape culture is that of social justice ideologies that exist to force their ideas into the minds of as many people as it can, to colonize as many institutions with its toxicity as it can.
It's not a sexual rape. It's not a rape of the body. It's a rape of the mind, and make no mistake, journalism has been raped.
For evidence of that, one needs look no further than the vile hoax perpetrated by Sabrina Rubin Erdley, whose story entitled "A Rape on Campus" was published by Rolling Stone. The story sparked a firestorm on university campuses across the world. It was also completely false.
Before other outlets began to do the pesky work of actually fact-checking Erdley's article, Erdley spent some time as a media darling. She was treated to slathering praise on such media outlets as MSNBC, wherein she was toasted for helping to crack the case on the "rape epidemic" on American university campuses.
Thankfully, this didn't last.
The story slowly unravelled until today, when the last thread was pulled. After the New York Times published a damning account of Erdley's shoddy journalistic work, Rolling Stone finally retracted her article in full.
But it turns out that there was more to the story than simply Erdley reporting a story she had been told. Rather, Erdley spent months going from campus to campus, "shopping" for the most sensational rape story she could find. Erdley had been to Harvard, Yale and Penn State (yes, that Penn State) before she finally found "Jackie," who claimed she'd been brutally gang raped at a fraternity party.
The story had literally everything Erdley was looking for, including convenient rape villains.
Even now, in the wake of the story's proven falsity, there are signs that the ideological violation of journalism may be harder to shake than it should be. Far, far harder to shake.
In Politico, UVA student Julia Horowitz offers her personal explanation for why the story got so much traction at UVA. The following excerpts offer a stunning revelation: Horowitz has learned nothing.
"The University of Virginia — like most American universities — has a problem with rape. Current estimates, cited earlier this year by Vice President Joe Biden, hold that one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college. That means that in my 200-person politics lecture, roughly a full row will be filled with survivors. In my 20-person major seminar, there are at least two. That is not a calculus I should have to work out in the margins of my Marx-Engels reader."
"We were frustrated by the repeated use of the 'Rugby Road' song, which
appeared to make fun of the rape culture on campus but which most
students, in fact, had never heard."
"... from where I sit in Charlottesville, to let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake."
"Yes, the story was sensational. But even the most sensational story, it seems, can contain frightening elements of truth."
Clearly, Horowitz continues to staunchly believe that there is a "rape culture" on campus. She invokes the "1 in 5" canard, despite the study on which it's based having been thoroughly discredited. And she actually attempts to sublimate a disdain for fact-checking that she and Erdley share in common, and was in fact the very reason for this entire debacle in the first place.
Hopefully, someone at UVA is making Horowitz an appointment with a dunce cap. Perhaps she'd manage to learn something from that, even if she has learned nothing from the ignominious ending of Erdley's journalistic career.
And it is over, make no mistake about this. It's over as a reporter, and it had damn well better be over as a journalism instructor.
And in a terrifying portent for the future of journalism, it just so happens that Erdley has taught journalism at the University of Pennsylvania, and at Temple University.
Sabrina Rubin Erdley wrote a story based on a false account of gang rape. Rolling Stone published it. A group of young men were terrorized out of their fraternal home by a mob of psychos similarly-indocrinated into social justice ideologies as was Erdley, as was Horowitz. And from the looks of it, the next generation of journalists may be ready to rush out and repeat the injustice all over again with the same disdain for fact checking.
How could they not? Apparently they were taught by Erdley.
And when they do this, large swaths of the journalistic landscape will accept it unquestionably. Because of the narrative. Because of the agenda. Increasingly in journalism it's becoming the narrative, the agenda, that matters.
It's been an institutional rape of terrifying proportions, with horrifying results. Will the gray lady survive this violation? Only time will tell.