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April 09, 2015

AP Spins Ludicrously to Rehabilitate Sabrina Erdely's Tattered Reputation

Geoff Mulvilhill of the AP proved today that the Guild Protects Its Own, as it wrote an article praising Sabrina R. Erdely containing false claims.

Retracted Rolling Stone story is rare demerit for its writer



By Geoff Mulvihill | AP April 7

The retracted Rolling Stone article about an apparently fictional gang rape at the University of Virginia is a blemish on an otherwise illustrious career for the journalist who wrote it.

First of all, her career isn't very illustrious; she's a freelance magazine writer writing silly pieces for trashy outlets.

But secondly, she has in fact been credibly accused of very shoddy, agenda-driven journalism -- including her trick of not contact the people she's accusing for proper comment. And that was in another raped-woman-spurned-by-male-oppressor-power-structure story, a bit of a specialty for the "illustrious" Sabrina Erdely.

I can kind of excuse that because of the media's rule that "it doesn't exist if we don't say it exists." The AP probably doesn't know about Leon Wolf's story, but even if they did, they wouldn't care, because it wasn't filed by a "Real Journalist," who would employ all sorts of professional rules to guarantee its fairness and basic correspondence to reality.

You know, a Real Journalist like Sabrina Erdely, who has reported lunatic fantasies of a troubled girl as if they were true, and then deceptively wrote her article to hide from readers the fact that she had been in contact with exactly none of the important witnesses or even the alleged rapists.

Including alleged rapist ringleader, one Haven Monahan of 16 Dreamybrook Lane.

In fact, she didn't even know this man's name -- and used the pseudonym "Drew" to hide that fact, counting on readers to just assume "oh, they're just using a fake name for legal reasons."

Nope! She was using a fake name to hide the fact she had no real name to call him by.

So absolutely, let's not credit Leon Wolf, until he Ups His Game to the Sabrina Erdely Standard of Excellence.

But here's where he really gets dishonest: He actually claims the CJR report partially vindicates Erdely, by clearing her a charge he claims "critics" made -- even though he can name no critics who ever made such a charge.

...

The Columbia report did not support what some critics have speculated -- that Erdely made it up. *

Ah yes, Geoff Mulvihill; it was just a Win Some, Lose Some kind of day for Erdely. On one hand, she was castigated for deliberate deception in her negligent reportage; but on the other hand, she was cleared of the most serious charge against her, that she "made it up."

No one ever said Erdely made it all up -- no one doubted Jackie existed, and was telling this story.

There were indeed speculations that Jackie made it all up-- which is in fact the case.

Mulvahill simply invents a charge never made, which he then claims that Erdely was cleared on.

Since around 2:30 today, I have repeated asked AP and Mulvahill for examples of "critics" claiming Erdely "made it up." Neither has responded.

I have never witnessed such a claim.

At this point, I can say:

AP and Mulvahill were asked for examples of critics who claimed Erdely "made it up," but were either unwilling or unable to do so by 7 pm Eastern.

The claim, then, stands at this point as simply fabricated, like so much else in this tale.

Here's something else that'll raise your eyebrows about the credibility of the still-alleged-"victim" Jackie:

University of Virginia's student newspaper, the Daily Cavalier, did something Sabrina Erdely didn't bother with (spoke to the three friends that were with Jackie after her alleged "rape").

Jackie seems to have had it in for the girl in that trio, Kathryn Hendley. Jackie seemed to not want a female presence present when she was talking about her rape, which seems odd:

Dufflin called his friend Alex Stock — a fellow first-year student at the time who says he is "Andy" in the Rolling Stone article — who was out with their mutual friend Kathryn Hendley, also a first year. They left the party they were attending and walked back — though Jackie made clear, Stock said, she did not want Hendley — "Cindy" in the article — to come along.

"I thought that was really weird, obviously, because we were really good friends at the time and if she were upset I would have thought she would come to me first or at least at the same time as them," Hendley said. "So I went with him anyway."

As they approached, Duffin called Stock again and asked why he'd brought Hendley along. She opted to stay back while the two talked things over with Jackie, and ultimately she went home without ever directly discussing with Jackie what had made her so upset.

So Jackie just wanted to talk about the rape with the two boys, one of whom she had a crush on so strong she would invent a George Glass character named "Haven Monahan" in an effort to attract his attention.

And later, Hendley -- "Cindy" -- says Jackie lied about her:

Hendley said Jackie started a personal rumor about her which created a chasm in their friendship.

What was that rumor? She doesn't say. However, we know the claims Jackie made about her in the Rolling Stone article. (At least according to Erdely-- unless she's making this up, AP.)

Hendley said she was troubled after reading the article -- which describes her as a "self-proclaimed hookup queen" who callously advocates against calling the police because it would make Jackie "the girl who cried rape."

"I know that it’s not based in fact, but it's weird to think other people think of you like that," she said. "It's kind of a weird out-of-body experience."

Pretty foul stuff.

No wonder Jackie didn't want Erdely talking to "Cindy," eh?

And so we see the consequences of Erdely's sloppy, dirty, and defamatory form of journalism. If she had simply observed the most basic of rules, she would have learned, from Hendley, that Jackie had started a rumor about her.

Lied, in other words, most likely to increase her own position while harming Hendley's.

That would have been something important to know for the article, wouldn't it have?

But, per AP -- hey, she's got an illustrious career going.

And she was cleared of the most serious charge against her, you know.

And of course: Open Thread.

* Actually, it's been pointed out to me that actually two UVa officials have objected to the story, taking their quotes deliberately out of context to put them into Erdely's stardard narrative structure as The Uncaring Authority Figures.

So those two people do in fact claim she made it up.

The CJR doesn't deal with these claims in the main body of the report, but rather in a footnote. Early critic Richard Bradley says they should be highlighted in the main body of the report, as they are very illuminating as to Erdely's lack of candor. See point 9. Eramo specifically accuses Erdely of making up her alleged quote that UVa is a "rape school" and that parents should be afraid to send their daughters there.

Now, the CJR report doesn't say who's right -- they note this here, in Footnote 3 -- but that quote is hard to believe, and Ms. Erdley's reputation for truthfulness is damaged beyond repair.

Furthermore, it cannot be said the CJR "clears" Erdely of that charge-- it rather leaves it hanging, for people to judge for themselves. It looks like CJR just punted on these allegations, possibly because there were so many other Huge Lies to discuss, possibly because the only possible answer -- that if you had to guess, at this point, you would assume Erdely is lying, based on her documented negligence and deliberate deceptiveness -- would be too damning too Erdely.

Of course, this isn't just about Erdely. The "editor" Sean Woods blessed the deception at each step, and often seems to have taken the initiative in placing deceptions into the piece. For example, it was Woods' call, by his own admission, to deliberately obscure the fact a key "Randal" statement had come from Jackie, not "Randall."

Woods allowed the "shit show" quote from "Randall" into the story without making it clear that Erdely had not gotten it from him but from Jackie. "I made that call," Woods said. Not only did this mislead readers about the quote's origins, it also compounded the false impression that Rolling Stone knew who "Randall" was and had sought his and the other friends' side of the story.

That "call" -- that call to deliberately deceive.

It's incredible no one's been fired.


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posted by Ace at 07:06 PM

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