All of this may do a great deal of good. With apologies to Bluto, there’s not a lot to be said in favor of Greek life, much less of the toxic blend of partying, drinking and hooking up. Nor is there much doubt that rape is a serious problem on college campuses, all the more so because an astonishing number of young men do not seem to understand that coerced sex is rape.
But using the Rolling Stone story as an opportunity to promote a worthy cause should not acquit the media from looking closely at the details of the story itself. And here there are some serious reasons to exercise caution.
The most intelligent dissection of the article comes from a Nov. 24 blog post from Richard Bradley, the editor in chief of Worth magazine. Mr. Bradley picks up on some of the journalistic malpractice in the story, including the failure to get any statement (or “no comment”) from the accused rapists. He also notes lurid details that are also simply improbable, such as the suggestion that the victim was raped over shards of glass. (Wouldn’t that have wounded the rapists also?)