Let me start this piece out by saying that I don’t know one way or another whether the now infamous alleged gang rape of a UVa student (as reported in Rolling Stone) happened. Obviously, I wasn’t there, I’ve never talked to any of the people involved to personally assess their credibility, and I have no means or opportunity to investigate the alleged background facts to corroborate them against the story as reported in Rolling Stone, so I’m in simply no position to say whether it is true or not. The problem for liberals is that literally everyone else in the world other than Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of the piece, is in the exact same position as I am. Yet they nonetheless equate expressing any level of skepticism about the story with being a 9/11 truther. With this story, as with so many other stories peddled by liberals in the service of their causes, what is more important to them is not the actual facts of the story itself, but rather whether the larger overarching narrative served by the story is true. As incredible as it seems, “fake but accurate” seems to be a legitimate way to see the world for these people, as opposed to a joke told by a now-disgraced former news anchor.
For background on this particular story, after Rolling Stone published their sensational piece, one of the former editors of serial fabulist Stephen Glass (read, a liberal), began a firestorm of controversy by publishing a piece that suggested – in a very mild way – that he himself had been burned by uncritically accepting stories written by Glass that confirmed his preconceived notions about the world, and that some elements of the story merited further scrutiny before the story was used as a vehicle to push the national narrative about “rape culture.” Since then, several other news organizations have picked up the thread and at least shown marginal interest in actually corroborating the facts of the story. The response from the left has been predictable in its shrieking intensity and preachiness.
Keep in mind: literally no one is saying the story is absolutely not true; rather only that basic facts about the story should be corroborated before an entire university is burned at the stake. This rather basic tenet of journalism is actually seen by liberals as inappropriate behavior somehow, as though never in the history of the universe has anyone ever invented a rape story (to be fair, most of the staff of Salon probably still thinks Tawana Brawley was telling the truth). Perhaps the most disturbing part of this whole incident was noted by the Federalist’s Sean Davis, who found this astonishing tidbit from an interview in which Rubin Erdely was asked about the factual corroboration for her story:
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 2, 2014
Indeed, it seems that the very author of the Rolling Stone piece seems to view that it’s less important that her story be factually accurate than that it tell a powerful story.
Unfortunately for liberals, this is not the way ordinary Americans think about things. Granted, there will always be a subset of people flashing “hands up, don’t shoot” even when the evidence seems to strongly suggest that Michael Brown did not, in fact, have his hands up in surrender when he shot, but for most people the continued use of this gesture in protest is damaging to the credibility of the protesters regardless of what they might otherwise think about the legitimacy of grievances the black community might have against police. And ordinary people who aren’t already committed to the “rape culture” narrative will naturally display curiosity about the facts of a story that is being offered to them as a vehicle to prove that rape culture exists.
If the narrative you are pushing is true, you ought to have at least one factually accurate story that can be used to prove the existence of that narrative. This is a truth that is understood by all people who are possessed of basic critical thinking skills. This sadly is not a description that applies to most modern liberals, and thus they are forced to instead burn at the stake anyone who demands that factual accuracy in a story be proven.