A dark day for journalism, assault victims
"Have a summary of this report coming soon, but the one-word answer to what went wrong is 'everything'," summarizes Vox's Libby A. Nelson. Rolling Stone Magazine just meekly pressed "publish" on the Columbia Journalism Review's in-depth analysis of how an unsubstantiated and unverified account of an unthinkable assault made its way into print (by the way, the Rolling Stone link has received 14,000+ shares so far while CJR's actual link got roughly 1,000 as of last count, so, "If you're mad at Rolling Stone, you can read the @ColumbiaJourn report at @CJR and not give RS traffic," suggests Huffington Post's Ethan Klapper). Feast Magazine's Sarah Fenske adds a bit more to her synopsis: "What went wrong at Rolling Stone? The writer wanted it to be true, and the editor and fact-checker failed to push." Daily Beast's Tim Mak voices similar sentiments: "The more you read of this Rolling Stone review, the clearer it is that the problem lies largely with Erdely." But as Scott Detrow with E&E Publishing points out, "RS seems to still mostly blame Jackie."
Still, Kate Martin with the Tacoma News Tribune insists, "This is not a report about a rape victim misremembering details. This is about a reporter who didn't do her job." The Atlantic's Scott Stossel smartly predicts, "This bit of journalistic forensics should--and likely will--be a case study for J-schools and newsrooms for years TK." Brandon Rittiman with 9News Denver calls it "A good reminder to journalists that there's no substitute for skepticism." Dylan Martin with MainBiz realizes, "This is the worst thing about @rolling stone's journalistic failure." Meanwhile, Jay Rosen notices that the original RS story is now gone and its URL redirects to CJR's report instead.
Author Sabrina Erdely has indeed apologized (although making no mention of the fraternity that now seems to have been falsely accused), but many journalists appear incredulous that Rolling Stone will continue to accept assignments from her. "Don't know how you can read 1,000 words of this — much less all 12k — and conclude no one should be fired," reacts Nolan Hicks from the New York Daily News. So what does it take to get fired by this magazine? Apparently writing a negative review of the band Hootie and the Blowfish (700+).
For even more journalist responses to the debacle, check out Poynter's list of tweets here (~200 shares) as well as a collection of more nuanced, elaborate takes here (500+). Across the web, numerous outlets are covering the saga this morning: here is the New York Times' analysis (13,000+), CNN's report (2,400+), Wall Street Journal's take (7,400+), and Huffington Post's round-up (1,000+), to share a few.
In slightly less publicized controversies, the NY Times discovers that Jeb Bush inexplicably identified himself as "Hispanic" in a 2009 voter registration form (300+). Speaking of the Times, they seem to be playing a game of cat-and-mouse with China (500+). Also, President Barack Obama strongly defends his Iran nuclear deal (3,300+) as Western companies eye Iran’s consumers (1,200+).