NEW YORK, NY – There’s an old saying that a rolling stone gathers no moss. And, apparently, Rolling Stone magazine gathers no facts, or at least not enough for its story on an alleged frat house rape at the University of Virginia.
An investigation by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism calls the Rolling Stone report “a journalistic failure that was avoidable.”
“It was the collective fault of the reporter, the editor, the editor's supervisor, and the fact-checking department," said Steve Coll, dean of the school.
Rolling Stone reported in November that the gang-rape of a woman identified only as “Jackie” was just one of a long list of sexual assaults that go unpunished at UVA and at college and university campus across the country.
"It's a situation where, seemingly, fraternities are calling the shots, where sexual assault is rampant, where rape victims are afraid and discouraged from coming forward, said contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely when her story ran.
Now, she and the magazine are taking it all back. Rolling Stone officially retracted the story, and apologized to its readers and to the UVA community.
The article led to protests at the university, the suspension of all fraternity activities, and vandalism at the fraternity house where Jackie said the assault occurred.
Rolling stone asked the Columbia School of Journalism to review what happened after Jackie’s story quickly unraveled when other news organizations could not confirm the events in the article.
Apparently, the folks responsible for the Rolling Stone article get to keep their jobs.
The ones punished may be the true victims of rape and abuse who may be reluctant to come forward thanks to Rolling Stone’s journalistic failure.