Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Former Columbia student newspaper editor admits the paper would have been excoriated if it had covered Emma Sulkowicz's "rape" story impartially

This is a very important story, readers. It tells us pretty much everything that's wrong with the way rape, and especially the supposed campus rape "epidemic," is talked about, and it confirms what we've been saying here for years.

First, you need to know that Cathy Young wrote a brilliant piece on the man Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz accused of rape. (Sulkowicz, as most of you know, carries a mattress around campus to protest that the accused has not been expelled -- even though the college rape tribunal cleared the accused and the police never charged him). Cathy uncovered some chilling facts about the case that are getting some people to think twice about the man's guilt.

In reaction to Cathy Young's article, Daniel Garisto the former editorial page editor of the school's student newspaper, the Columbia Spectator, admits that the campus news media didn't cover Sulkowicz's story impartially, critically, or thoroughly. His explanation is chilling:
I think we—not just the opinion page, not just Spec—but we, the members of the campus media, failed specifically with Sulkowicz’s story by not being thorough and impartial.

Instead, campus media’s goal to promote discussion about sexual assault and to support survivors became conflated with a fear of rigorous reporting. Personally, I felt that if I covered the existence of a different perspective—say, that due process should be respected—not only would I have been excoriated, but many would have said that I was harming survivors and the fight against sexual assault.
What the hell! For once, a college journalist writing about sexual assault admits what we've always known is the truth. When it comes to sexual assault, the campus media marches in lockstep to the PC group-think of its moral superiors, the campus rape activists. The campus media is little more than a bunch of kids prone to peer pressure, and some of them grow up to write for Rolling Stone.

The kid who wrote this is still laboring under some strange misapprehensions. He goes out of his way to wave his PC credentials to avoid that excoriation he seems to dread. He is proud of his role in telling just one side of the story about sexual assault while feeling at least a little conflicted because he was supposed to be acting as a journalist. He goes so far as to say that he still thinks the accused "is probably guilty" without positing any authority for that epiphany beyond his serene ipse dixit. And he insists that affectionate after-the-fact Facebook comments by Sulkowicz to the accused is not "proof" that she's lying, which is simply wrong (it's certainly not dispositive evidence that she's lying, but it has some probative value). The writer would do well not to treat the propaganda of the paid sexual grievance industry as objective fact.

Daniel ought to school himself on the issues -- he should start here, if he can stomach it: http://www.cotwa.info/2014/12/2014-in-review-year-of-backlash-against.html 

No matter. His piece was honest and chilling, and it rips off a scab to reveal some very ugly pus that this blog knew was there all along.

CORRECTION: Daniel Garisto advises he is proud of other reporting they've done on sexual assault, not the Sulkowicz story.