Rock Journalism and U. VA Rape Allegations

I have to hand it to Wall Street Journal contributor Brett Stevens. He’s got good instincts. Several days ago he wrote an op-ed piece critical of Rolling Stone magazine’s story on the University of Virginia rape allegations by a girl named “Jackie.” Mr. Stevens called attention to his suspicion that the magazine’s investigation seemed highly flawed.


Then on December 5th Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana issued a note to its readers saying in part,

“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced….We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.”

ten-commandments false witness

Rock icon Frank Zappa* (OB. 1993) once remarked,

“Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read.”

Those who view Rolling Stone as a reliable news and information source should keep Zappa’s observation in mind.

Rape is a horrible crime and those who commit it should be severely punished. Being wrongly accused of rape is also horrible. That can wreck lives too. I am sure new facts about this alleged rape at U. VA will come to light as time goes on and other facts surrounding U. VA’s alleged culture of sexual abuse. If there is a problem there it must be fixed.


*Electric guitarist and music producer Frank Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2004, he was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”


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