Some number of harrowing encounters described by Weinstein’s accusers and the #MeToo hashtag activists no doubt occurred. But experience and scientific literature show us that a significant portion of these allegations will turn out to be half-truths, exaggerations or outright fabrications. That’s not victim-blaming. It’s reality-checking.

It is irresponsible for news outlets to extrapolate how “commonplace” sexual abuse is based on hashtag trends spread by celebrities, anonymous claimants and bots. The role of the press should be verification, not validation. Instead of interviewing activist actresses, reporters should be interviewing bona fide experts…

Published research has documented false rape and sexual assault rates ranging from 8 percent to 41 percent. Savino notes that in his NYPD’s Manhattan Special Victim Squad, “our false report rate was in the double digits during all of my years. Sometimes, it was as high as 40 percent.” Turvey, Savino, and Mares make clear to students that based on the evidence — as opposed to Facebook trends…