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Opinion

Readers React: Rolling Stone retraction: holding ‘Jackie’ accountable

To the editor: The idea offered by some in response to Rolling Stone magazine’s retraction of the bogus University of Virginia rape article that the source for the story doesn’t deserve blame is nonsense. Rolling Stone’s cascade of failures is astonishing, but it in no way absolves the source of accountability for lying and risking the futures of her victims. (“Rolling Stone didn’t ask the tough questions in rape report,” editorial, April 7)

The U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to require universities that receive federal funding to punish male students for likely but unproven sexual misconduct is a two-edged sword. Interfering with males’ access to education by subjecting them to false accusations of rape is perhaps a less profound violation of Title IX than is leaving female students to contend with the company of males whom the preponderance of the evidence indicates raped them.

Still, “Jackie,” the source for the Rolling Stone story, should be strongly sanctioned by the University of Virginia. She may be troubled, but this is no excuse.

James E. Moore II, Los Angeles

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The writer is a USC transportation engineering professor.

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To the editor: Journalism outlets across the country have basked in Rolling Stone’s journalistic failure. But like Rolling Stone, many of them are guilty of often not corroborating the facts.

Interviews, articles and opinion pieces shred the Rolling Stone editorial team’s failure to investigate the claims made by Jackie. But many of the same journalism outlets that feature these critics routinely do not corroborate politicians’ stories, themselves failing, like Rolling Stone, to reveal the obvious inconsistencies.

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The GOP’s climate-change denial and its recent smoke-and-mirrors budget both gain public legitimacy because of journalistic failures to corroborate their stories.

If we are to skewer Rolling Stone for this failure, we would do well to try holding the rest of our media to the same standard.

Matt Smith, Ojai

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