There is nothing like a journalistic plane crash to inspire newsroom loudmouths to jump on their desks and lecture colleagues about the collapse of standards and crow that they’re such exemplars of the craft that never in a trillion years could they or their publication be snookered by a fabulist, a hoaxer, a dissembler, or a liar.
Thanks to the release of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s authorized and comprehensive report on Rolling Stone’s horribly flawed (and now officially retracted) exposé, “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” this sort of posturing is clogging the Web today. I, too, would be doing a condemnation-dance on my desk to celebrate Rolling Stone’s stupidity if I wasn’t so certain that the lesson the Rolling Stone debacle teaches us is fleeting. The time may soon come that the pontificators flop as miserably at the fundamentals of journalism as reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely and her Rolling Stone editors have.
May Satan capture your soul and make it his plaything if you think you and your publication are incapable of such journalistic malpractice. Editors and producers at the highest ranks of journalism have fallen again and again during the past few decades, committing crimes against journalism that match or surpass those of Rolling Stoneand Erdely.
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