Amid a media outcry Rolling Stone’s editor has been forced to apologize for “mistakes” and “discrepancies” in a recent article about a young women, “Jackie,” who claimed she was raped at a University of Virginia fraternity house. The sensational story described in detail the woman’s claims and the lack of any response from university officials. After the story was published, fact-checkers found that it just did not add up. The article in question was written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
This is not the first time Erdely has published this type of article with outlandish accusations, wild dramatization, and a lack of accuracy. The September 15, 2011 edition of Rolling Stone included an article by her, “The Catholic Church’s Secret Sex-Crime Files,” in the same vein as the University of Virginia story. That story focused on “Billy Doe” who claimed he was raped by two priests and a lay school teacher in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
In 2011 Erdely took the word of “Billy” and used it to smear Philadelphia priests, including three cardinals. Indeed she took the occasion to slam priests in general. When the article was published, Bill Donohue issued a lengthy retort: he pointed out the discrepancies, mistakes, lack of facts, and innuendo. There was no apology from Rolling Stone’s editors. There was no media outcry about the lack of journalistic integrity.