Friday, December 05, 2014

Washington Post Investigation Refutes Rolling Stone's UVA Gang Rape Story

Well, this isn't conclusive, but it's pretty obvious what lies at the end of the trajectory we're currently on.  Here's just the first three 'graphs:
A lawyer for the University of Virginia fraternity whose members were accused of a brutal gang rape said Friday that the organization will release a statement rebutting the claims printed in a Rolling Stone article about the incident. Several of the woman’s close friends and campus sex assault awareness advocates said that they also doubt the published account. [my emphasis]
Officials close to the fraternity said that the statement will indicate that Phi Kappa Psi did not host a party on Sept. 28, 2012, the night that a university student named Jackie alleges she was invited to a date party, lured into an upstairs room and was then ambushed and gang-raped by seven men who were rushing the fraternity.
The officials also said that no members of the fraternity were employed at the university’s Aquatic Fitness Center during that time frame — a detail Jackie provided in her account to Rolling Stone and in interviews with The Washington Post — and that no member of the house matches the description detailed in the Rolling Stone account.
    Not to rub it in, but I suppose it might be worth saying up front that I doubt that the internet left will go quietly into that good night of refutation. We'll get denial that this proves anything, then insistence that this was never about Jackie's story, and probably claims to the effect that if you think it was about that it just proves something something rape culture...and so on and so forth. Refutation often simply makes dogmatic people more dogmatic. And that's what's going to happen here, before the evidence eventually becomes irrefutable. which is probably where we're headed. What we probably won't see much of is the internet left saying things like whoa, maybe we were irresponsible about this...maybe we were dogmatic...maybe we need to reflect on our rush to judgment...maybe we ought to respect rational disagreement...
   Again, it's the irrational, dogmatic behavior of the internet left that is of the most direct interest to me here. The web left exhibited extremely bad judgment in this case, and did so very dogmatically ( surprise there...), not merely insisting that they were right on the basis of evidence that was questionable at best, they, as is their wont, branded anyone with the temerity to disagree with them misogynists, rape denialists, truthers, etc. The idea, of course, is that if you refuse to toe the party line, and to do so with alacrity and zeal, you are evil.
   Of course the right is crazy too...but I'm not worried about them, largely because they're irrelevant to this story. And because I think they're too far gone. And because I don't sympathize with them much anyway. We need look no farther than Benghazigate to see the same basic M.O. from them.    What I'd like to see from the leftier parts of the web left is just the barest flicker of fallibilism, some tiny evidence that this spectacular error might have made them consider, just for a little while, that its possible for them to get things--important things--wrong. I'm hoping for some small sign of some small crack in their armor of zealotry and moral certitude. Some indication that they have at least considered the possibility that one might disagree with them without being evil. Some recognition that refutation does not simply make your case stronger.
   But I'm not going to hold my breath

(Oh and, incidentally: isn't the title of the Post story a bit odd? I can't help suspecting that they were afraid to put a more accurate title on it, e.g.: Post investigation disconfirms Rolling Stone etc. etc. They seem to be keeping themselves at at least two removes by saying it's the frat that is (merely) "rebuts" the story...)


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