Feminists: Sabrina Erdely’s Rolling Stone rape fiasco was “sensitive journalistic coverage”
My latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:
“As I read the piece, I felt that Erdley and Rolling Stone’s many lapses in judgment and the bad calls they made while reporting the piece didn’t come from laziness, egotism, or ignorance — they came from the magazine’s efforts to be sensitive to the alleged victim. And that really is something we could use more of.
“And yet, despite these steps forward, rape coverage that attempts to give equal weight to the stories of the accuser and the accused often stumble, because proving the victim’s account using traditional journalistic fact-checking techniques is so difficult, and frequently ends up placing blame on the victim. I believe that Rolling Stone was attempting to fight this tendency in their approach to the UVA rape story — and, unfortunately, their failure on this front will probably serve as a serious setback for sensitive journalistic coverage of rape.
“The decision to use a pseudonym for victim Jackie’s alleged attacker, rather than pursue an interview with him, or the failure to reach out to the friends that Jackie said had turned their backs to her, may come off as eye-popping journalistic failures — but I believe that these moves were made in an attempt to try to develop a new form of rape coverage, one that didn’t act as if the alleged attacker’s word carried as much weight as the victim’s.”
Posted by Charlotte Allen