A Dose of Stupid v110

It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:

You were raped? Prove it

Three weeks after police released their report discrediting the rape accusation made by a UVA student, there are still defenders of Jackie claiming that she is the real victim. It is amazing to witness the level of cognitive dissonance on display.

The police report could not have been clearer: there was zero evidence supporting Jackie’s claim of being gang-raped in frat house by seven men. The police could not verify a single element of the story. Indeed, they found the opposite: plenty of evidence suggesting nothing happened. One could not ask for more evidence that this was a false accusation outside of a video of Jackie somewhere else when the alleged rape took place.

Yet that has not stopped the excuses made on this woman’s behalf. There have been some amazing bad article. By far the best and the dumbest came from Sargon of Akkad’s “pumpkin” Jessica Valenti. (Feel free to look it up and read it for yourself, but understand you could have been staring at the wall instead of reading that idiocy.) Cheryl Hunter wrote such an article for the Good Men Project. She begins with:

There’s an epidemic afoot, and it is catching. Unlike other communicable diseases, no matter on which side of the vaccination issue you find yourself, no injection will save you.

It is an epidemic of silence around sexual assault, and it is characterized by two factors:

  • The silence of victims
  • The silence of those who know the victims or know the perpetrators

There is not an epidemic afoot. This precisely the kind of hyperbolic language that led to Rolling Stone’s article. There is, however, a tendency within society to silence those who want to speak about uncomfortable things. These things can range from sexual assault to religious differences. It is human nature not to cause discord within one’s community. Discussing these things causes discord, ergo there is a concerted effort to shut down any discussion about them. As noted, it is not limited to sexual violence. The same thing happens with child abuse, drug addiction, and religious deconversion.

Yet that is not Hunter’s actual point. This is:

Was “Jackie” in the Rolling Stone article A Rape On Campus really gang raped? Perhaps we’ll never know. I was, though, and I think the Rolling Stone debacle fuels the epidemic of silence, and has long-range importance to us all, regardless of our gender or whether we, personally, have been sexually assaulted or not.

The Rolling Stone debacle… on second thought, let us call it what it is. The Rolling Stone fuck up happened because the people involved did not exercise basic journalist skills and fact-check their source. The only thing this fuck up fuels is more fuck ups as people insist on believing any and every woman who claims rape regardless of whether her story holds up under scrutiny.

Hunter goes on: Continue reading

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The rolling stone of confirmation bias

Rolling Stone published a report concerning their article ‘A Rape on Campus’. The Columbia School of Journalism conducted the report. It reveals a host of problems with Rolling Stone’s article, its writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and its single source named “Jackie.”

The report follows the complete discrediting of Jackie’s rape allegations against the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi. Police conducted a thorough investigation after the Washington Post reported the numerous inconsistencies in Jackie’s story and Rolling Stone’s failure to engage in basic fact-checking. How the situation got to this point is a long story. The report is 13,000 words. Yet it shows what happens when one allows confirmation bias to dictate how one reports. Continue reading

Police find no evidence in U-Va rape case

Charlottesville police revealed on Monday that they found no evidence of gang rape in the infamous University of Virginia case:

Police here say they have found no evidence to support claims in a Rolling Stone article that a University of Virginia student was gang raped at a campus fraternity in September 2012, noting that months of investigation led detectives to discredit several claims about the alleged assault.

Police Chief Timothy J. Longo on Monday afternoon said the police department had multiple meetings with “Jackie” — the woman who claimed she was gang raped at a fraternity party — and that she declined to speak about the alleged incident or provide any information about it. Numerous lines of inquiry yielded evidence that the fraternity did not have a party the night of the alleged attack, and police were unable to find anyone matching the description of the alleged attacker.

“We’re not able to conclude to any substantive degree that an incident occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house or any other fraternity house, for that matter,” Longo said at a news conference. “That doesn’t mean something terrible didn’t happen to Jackie … we’re just not able to gather sufficient facts to determine what that is.”

I understand Longo’s position, however, the findings are fairly damning. Not only do they show that Jackie’s story is false, but they also show that she was unwilling to cooperate with police.

There is no way to spin this: it appears Jackie lied. Continue reading

A letter to the internet

Dear Internet,

I realize you are very upset about the Rolling Stone article and their retraction. I understand you do not like being lied to (which is strange considering how often you do it to others). I also understand the need to react to a perceived deception.

But you should at least wait until the police investigate “Jackie’s” story and file false accusation or libel charges against her before plastering her full name and image everywhere.

I know it is very difficult to restrain yourself. Try. Hard.

Even Rolling Stone did not publish the names and pictures of the men “Jackie” accused. Exercise some judgment. All the fear you have about the horrible things that could happen to the nine men she accused can also happen to her if you dox her. And it will be just as wrong.

So do not do that… anymore. Let the investigators do their jobs. If they determine “Jackie” lied, they will release her name, unless it proves too dangerous.

Sincerely,

Jacob

The problem with “automatic” belief

Feminists are scrambling following Rolling Stone’s apology for their recent article about a gang rape. Rolling Stone issued an apology for the article after other news outlets revealed serious inconsistencies in the accuser’s story. This led feminists to attempt to dodge the obvious problem: the accuser’s credibility and feminists’ credibility in regards to their theory of “rape culture” is in question.

Several feminists wrote articles concerning that issue, although none received as much backlash as Zerlina Maxwell’s piece. Maxwell’s argument is bizarrely problematic, yet also troubling is what happened in the 24 hours since the Washington Post published it.

The initial title of the article was “No matter what Jackie said, we should automatically believe rape claims”. It now reads “No matter what Jackie said, we should generally believe rape claims”. No one needs to take my word for it. Here is the evidence.

Maxwell’s argument is absurd. It was Sabrina Erdely and Rolling Stone’s automatic belief of Jackie, the accuser, that resulted in the apology. Had Erdely taken Jackie at her word but fact-checked her story, Erdely might have caught the inconsistencies and been able to question Jackie before the article reached print. Had Rolling Stone’s fact-chekcers bothered to question Jackie’s story, they too might have caught the inconsistencies.

What makes Maxwell’s argument particularly moronic is that this is not an instance of Jackie telling only Erdely the story. She told the story to her friends, to activists, and spoke about it on campus. Jackie has likely told the story dozens of times, each time repeating elements that appear to be untrue.

This does not mean that Jackie was not raped, yet it does mean that the story she told everyone appears to be partly untrue, to which Maxwell replied: Continue reading

Rolling Stone apologizes for UVA story

Rolling Stone magazine ran an article about a woman’s account of gang rape at the University of Virgina. In the article, Jackie claimed that a fraternity member organized a gang rape against her. The accusations led to UVA shutting down all its fraternities until next year and an overhaul of the sexual assault policies on its campus. Other schools took similar measures.

Feminists ran with the accusation, using it as proof of the “rape culture” they claim is epidemic. Yet some people questioned the story, specifically the issue of relying solely on Jackie’s claims. With questions concerning the veracity of the interview mounting, Rolling Stone retracted its story. Here is the full statement: Continue reading