Wolff: At Rolling Stone, 'rape culture' stopped questions

April 8, 2015 6:20 PM

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In a melodramatic act of chest baring, Rolling Stone magazine asked the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and its dean, Steve Coll, to investigate the false accusations and fabrications in the magazine's story published late last year about a rape at the University of Virginia. The story's failures had been acknowledged and widely covered in the press after it appeared, but the 13,000-word report rehashes in even greater detail the journalistic missteps and failures that allowed the magazine to publish the story. Coll's report concluded that the magazine's editing procedures were at fault and that there was a pervasive lack of skepticism on the part of the magazine's writer and editors.

But the Columbia J-school review, like the story's author and editors, also steered far afield of any skepticism about the larger subject, what is called "campus rape culture," which, as a story, has become quite a media phenomenon, not to mention accepted truth.

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