Observe how Erdely responded to a question about the accused parties in Jackie’s alleged gang rape. In that Slate podcast, when asked who these people were, she responded, “I don’t want to say much about them as individuals but I’ll just say that this particular fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi — it’s really emblematic in a lot of ways of sort of like elitist fraternity culture. It’s considered to be a kind of top-tier fraternity at University of Virginia…It’s considered to be a really high-ranking fraternity, in part because they’re just so incredibly wealthy. Their alumni are very influential, you know, they’re on Wall Street, they’re in politics.”
The next time Erdely writes a big story, she’ll have to do a better job of camouflaging her proclivity to stereotype. Here, she refuses to evaluate the alleged gang rapists as individuals, instead opting to fold them into the caricature of the “elitist fraternity culture,” and all its delicious implications. Of course, one of the reasons she didn’t describe the accused is that she never reached out to them.
More grist comes from an Erdely interview with SiriusXM host Michael Smerconish. In a wide-ranging discussion, Erdely discussed some details of her reporting that didn’t surface in the story. Erdely alleges Jackie had told her some chilling things about the run-up to the alleged gang rape. As lifeguards at the U-Va. pool. Jackie couldn’t figure out why “Drew” was paying attention to her when the other female lifeguards were “model-gorgeous blondes,” said Erdely in the interview. “‘He was paying so much attention to me, showing so much interest in everything I had to say,’” Erdely said, paraphrasing Jackie. “And all she could think is that [Drew] was probably grooming her for something like this, and testing her for something like this.”