December 11, 2014

SENS. MCCASKILL & GILLIBRAND SAY: The Facts May Change, But The Narrative Must Remain The Same:

Sen. Claire McCaskill said at the hearing she is “saddened and angry” about the “bad journalism” in the Rolling Stone article.

The article was a “setback for survivors in this country,” said McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. “This is not a crime where you have rampant false reporting and embellishment.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., echoed McCaskill’s concerns.

“Clearly we don’t know the facts of what happened or didn’t happen” in the alleged University of Virginia gang rape case, Gillibrand said. “But these facts have not changed: UVA has admitted that they have allowed students who have confessed to sexually assaulting another student to remain on campus.”

“I refuse to let this one story become an excuse for Congress not to fix a broken system,” Gillibrand said.

Actually, we now have a pretty good idea what didn’t happen, which is everything that was reported in the now-exploded Rolling Stone article. It’s not clear that anyone was raped, and certainly the lurid gang-rape-on-broken-glass scenario can be pretty much ruled out. It’s not clear that a fraternity was involved at all.

What is clear is that Gillibrand and McCaskill leaped on this storyline when it looked good, and are now backpedaling. And Gillibrand also hung her hat on the Erdely military-rape story, which I predict won’t hold up well under investigation either.

I’d also like to know how much coordination there was among folks at UVA — Emily Renda worked in UVA President Teresa Sullivan’s office, and on the White House “It’s On Us” campus rape group, and I believe was the one who told Erdely about Jackie’s case — and Rolling Stone, and the White House, and Sens. Gillibrand and McCaskill. Perhaps someone will ask them, or submit a FOIA request to the White House and a state FOIA to President Sullivan’s office. Conveniently, McCaskill and Gillibrand aren’t subject to FOIA, but that doesn’t stop intrepid reporters from asking them.

I’d also be interested in hearing from reporters themselves: Was the White House pushing this story?

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