Friday, December 05, 2014

UVA Rape Retraction Watch: Jezebel, Anna Merlan

Anna Merlan at Jezebel:
This is really, really bad. It means, of course, that when I dismissed Richard Bradley and Robby Soave's doubts about the story and called them "idiots" for picking apart Jackie's account, I was dead fucking wrong, and for that I sincerely apologize. It means that my conviction that Sabrina Rubin Erdely had fact-checked her story in ways that were not visible to the public was also wrong. It's bad, bad, bad all around. (And, frankly, it could have been avoided, had Erdely been clearer in her disclosures about what she'd done to reach Jackie's alleged attackers and what her agreement with the girl had been. This announcement wouldn't be producing nearly the same shockwaves if those things had been clearly outlined.)
Props to Merlan for fessing up without excuses. And, speaking of being dead fucking wrong, I said that we'd see way more hemming and hawing and excuse-making before we saw any admissions of error...

I admire Merlan for making me wrong, at least about her little corner of the web.

(Sadly, I will, however, note that the comments there are a train wreck as you can see. When I checked in, exactly zero comments in any way urged reflection on the groupthink and dogmatism that led web feminism into this unforced error. Almost all of them were of the form: we're still right about everything, and this is only bad only because it will confuse people by leading them to believe that we might be wrong... But here's the deal: being proven wrong does not make you even righter...)


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