Social Question

josie's avatar

Which is worse. Rolling Stone magazine's sloppy reporting and careless editorial supervision, or the person who made the whole thing up in the first place?

Asked by josie (30934points) April 7th, 2015

It seems like Rolling Stone is taking all the heat for the fake UVa rape story.
And they certainly deserve plenty of it.
But there would not have been any story at all if “Jackie” had not made it up. I don’t get the feeling that “Jackie” is sharing the blame.
I could be wrong. But that is not my question any way.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

7 Answers

jca's avatar

I think the magazine has the ultimate responsibility to its readers to be accurate and to do proper fact checking.

hominid's avatar

Which is “worse”? I’m not sure I understand what that means in this context.

Rolling Stone’s report was supposed to be journalism, right? Jackie is not a variable in any way here. The issue is whether or not Rolling Stone failed at its job. From the little I have read, it’s clear that they did.

If you think the “worse” thing makes any sense, let’s try it out. Let’s say that I walk up to a New York Times editor and fabricate a story about how I had been kidnapped by Rand Paul supporters and forced to listen to hours of Libertarian free-market lectures while tied up in a basement. If the New York Times publishes this, in what universe does it make sense to ask which is “worse” – the Times or that @hominid character? You wouldn’t give it any thought. You might question the legitimacy of the Times, or you might question the state of modern journalism. But blaming me would be a very creative waste of time.

You might also ask whether blame serves a purpose here at all. When we talk about blame in this context, we’re not seeking someone who deserves punishment or some other odd notion of justice. Blame in this context seems to be shorthand for determining what broke so we can fix it. Can we “fix” the problem that we have that people have a tendency to exaggerate or lie? Probably not. But can we make sure organizations that are supposed to follow certain procedures to minimize being duped by liars actually follow these procedures? Sure.

We can hold Rolling Stone responsible because it was the weak link. And in identifying this breakdown, it has an opportunity to make changes to minimize this happening again. “Jackie” just isn’t the problem here.

ucme's avatar

A rolling stone gathers no more moss dross.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I’d say that there are both pretty awful.

The magazine really screwed up – they broke all their own internal rules in order to publish this. And it backfired.

I read that the fraternity is going to sue, although another article said that they will have a very difficult time winning the case. The difference between malicious and accidental. And the fraternity would itself have to uncover a lot of its dirty laundry.

My guess is they will settle, no trial at all.

But here’s the reason why people found it plausible – fraternities have a reputation for this sort of bad behavior. While these particular allegations may be false, it’s a really good bet that rape happens at fraternities every day. That’s the real problem,.

ibstubro's avatar

Rolling Stone.
Hand’s down.
They gave a flake a national forum. There are no shortage of flakes, national forums are hard earned.

Bill1939's avatar

Both are equally bad for different reasons.

ibstubro's avatar

What horseshit.
Rolling Stone has lately been legitimizing itself as a hard hitting news source with reporting on General Stanley A. McChrystal, the Libor scandal, and bank foreclosures. It’s not an ‘organization that’s supposed to follow certain rules’. It’s a business that’s should stand or fall on it’s reputation for legitimacy and accuracy.

The author of the story isn’t even a staff reporter. She’s freelance, and Jann Wenner, founder and publisher of Rolling Stone went so far as to say they’d have no qualms about using her again in the future.

Egads. How can you give a story a national forum without even verifying the day it took place? There was no party at the fraternity that night! I mean, is it extraordinary measures to verify that there was a party and that ‘Jackie’ was in attendence?

Who, what, where, how and when. I learned that in middle school when we were still using mimeograph to put out a school paper.

Mr. Wenner says Jackie was “a really expert fabulist storyteller”. REALLY? She didn’t even have a plausible day. It’s likely that she hooked Rolling Stone because Jerry Springer turned her down.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther