April 5, 2015 9:24 pm -


After a Sunday report showing complete journalistic failure at every turn, Rolling Stone has retracted the rape story that got the magazine in hot water.

The report, published by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and commissioned by Rolling Stone, said the magazine failed to engage in “basic, even routine journalistic practice” to verify details of the ordeal that the magazine’s source, identified only as Jackie, described to the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

On Sunday, Ms. Erdely, in her first extensive comments since the article was cast into doubt, apologized to Rolling Stone’s readers, her colleagues and “any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a result of my article.”

In an interview discussing Columbia’s findings, Jann S. Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone, acknowledged the piece’s flaws but said that it represented an isolated and unusual episode and that Ms. Erdely would continue to write for the magazine. The problems with the article started with its source, Mr. Wenner said. He described her as “a really expert fabulist storyteller” who managed to manipulate the magazine’s journalism process. When asked to clarify, he said that he was not trying to blame Jackie, “but obviously there is something here that is untruthful, and something sits at her doorstep.”


…The police in Charlottesville, Va., said last month they had “exhausted all investigative leads” and found “no substantive basis” to support the article’s depiction of the assault. Jackie did not cooperate with the police and declined to be interviewed for the Columbia report. She also declined, through her lawyer, Palma Pustilnik, to be interviewed for this article. She is no longer in touch with some of the advocates who first brought her to the attention of Rolling Stone, said Emily Renda, a rape survivor working on sexual assault issues at the University of Virginia.

Mr. Wenner said Will Dana, the magazine’s managing editor, and the editor of the article, Sean Woods, would keep their jobs.


D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

5 responses to Rolling Stone Retracts Rape Story

  1. Carla Akins April 5th, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    They have effectively set back rape victim rights by 30 years. I am furious.

    • Robert M. Snyder April 5th, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      The publisher said that the writer would continue to write for the magazine. Unbelievable.

      • Carla Akins April 6th, 2015 at 4:39 am

        They should be fired and they need to apologize to women the world over.

        • Robert M. Snyder April 6th, 2015 at 10:31 am

          Time to boycott Rolling Stone?

    • arc99 April 6th, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      Rolling Stone, screwed up big time and I join you in your anger about the damage done where women are already hesitant to report rapes.

      My other point of contention is that I wish all media organizations were held to the same standard of accuracy as Rolling Stone, and that those media organizations demonstrate the same willingness to correct their error and admit when they are wrong.

      But as we have seen recently, not all media organizations share an equal willingness to address problems that detract from sound journalism.

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