In November 2014, Rolling Stone made a splash with a horrifying story about a young woman who was brutally raped in a fraternity, with the University of Virginia covering up the crime. The problem was that the story was fabricated, and UVA ended up winning a defamation lawsuit against the magazine.
Robby Soave from Reason joined Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere on Tuesday’s “Pat & Stu” to talk about a story covered by Cosmopolitan that has similar red flags.
While it’s possible that the story is indeed accurate, an article published in Cosmopolitan in June reports on an alleged rape but doesn’t follow basic journalistic rules. Headlined “She Told a Guy She Worked at an Abortion Clinic. On Their Next Date, He Raped Her,” the piece is told from the perspective of abortion clinic director Calla Hales but fails to include crucial details about whether or not the reporter took steps to confirm the story.
Hales said that she was on a second date with a guy soon after he had pressed her to specify what her work in “women’s health” meant and that he not only raped her but also continued to harass her. She gave Cosmopolitan writer Rebecca Grant a horrifying account of the incident, which she said took place in the back of her car. “He said things like I should have expected this and that I deserved it,” Hales told Cosmopolitan.
In the story, Grant said that she fled to her friends’ house and shown them her bruises, but she didn’t call police. Soave pointed out that the reporter failed to say whether or not she had tried to talk to the friends that Grant mentioned or if she had verified the accused attacker’s name.
“Those are the exact things that … the author of the Rolling Stone story failed to do,” Soave said. “So I’ve just been trying to, you know, just get answers, to what did the editing and approving and verifying process look like, and Cosmo has not answered any of those questions.”