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Rolling Stone’s UVA Fraternity Gang Rape Story Unravels

Rolling Stone magazine has retracted its explosive story on a gang rape at a University of Virginia frat house as inconsistencies mount.

Rolling Stone has admitted massive problems with Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s 9,000-word story claiming members of University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi gang-raped a woman in the fraternity house in September of 2012.

The article began with and was built on the brutal and horrific tale of the gang rape, which, purported victim Jackie said, took place on a bed of broken glass, lasted for 3 hours, included other physical assaults, and ended with rape by beer bottle.

Some raised questions about the journalism behind the story — What did the accused have to say? What independent corroboration of the attack was there? — only to find out that Erdely had trusted her source and somehow agreed not to speak to the accused.

Rolling Stone just retracted the core of the story in a note that says:

The Washington Post somehow spared resources from their ongoing deep-dive into random people’s Facebook critiques of fashion and comportment to investigate this story and what they found sounds even worse:

The Post also says Sabrina Erdely emailed that “she was not immediately available to comment Friday morning.”

As discussed in an earlier piece, some people said those who’d raised questions about the story were conspiracy theorists or “truthers.”

Erdely and Rolling Stone will take huge and deserved credibility hits. Kudos to those initial defenders of the piece who have acknowledged they shouldn’t have called the folks calling for more substantiation “truthers.” Anna Merlan of Jezebel certainly should reflect on her treatment of Richard Bradley and Reason’s Robby Soave and other journalists in her piece “‘Is the UVA Rape Story a Gigantic Hoax?’ Asks Idiot.”

Of course, the worst damage done is to victims who will now face increased scrutiny of their stories — and all the pain such scrutiny entails — because this journalist and her editors ditched professionalism in favor of a story they decided was too good to check.

UPDATE: Anna Merlan of Jezebel apologizes and rightfully so (warning: language):

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