But with the apocryphal University of Virginia gang rape, lefties started in right away with the "I guess we'll never know what happened" rewrite.
Just last week, the Columbia Journalism Review released the results of a months-long investigation into Rolling Stone's story about a violent fraternity gang rape at UVA. As you will recall, the CJR found that the magazine had based its entire story on the delusions of one girl, who freaked out every time the alleged reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, tried to confirm a single fact.
As the CJR described the reporter's investigative technique: "Erdely asked Jackie for introductions to friends and family. She asked for text messages to confirm parts of Jackie's account, for records from Jackie's employment at the aquatic center and for health records. She even asked to examine the bloodstained red dress Jackie said she had worn on the night she said she was attacked."
So as you can see, Erdely is a tough-minded journalist, who went the extra mile to nail down the truth. Yes, she ASKED for all this stuff.
And what did she get? Only this: Jackie produced her freshman-year suitemate who "confirmed" -- in the words of the CJR -- "that in January 2013, four months after the alleged attack, Jackie had told her that she had been gang-raped."
Which part of Jackie's story does that corroborate? A few weeks ago, I claimed to have been raped by a unicorn to see if I could get Charlottesville chief of police Timothy J. Longo to open a case on my unicorn attack, just as he did on Jackie's gang rape. So according to Rolling Stone, I have about a million corroborating witnesses: everyone who read my column.
We know Jackie claimed to have been gang-raped! That wasn't the part that required confirmation.
Michelle Goldberg summarized the CJR's report for the Nation magazine, saying, "After all this, it's still not clear whether Jackie, the woman at the center of the Rolling Stone story, is a complete fabulist or a true rape victim who confused and exaggerated some elements of her story."
Not clear to whom? People with brain injuries? Some random Kardashian?
Similarly, one of Columbia's crack investigators said: "What happened to Jackie that night is a mystery."
Yes, it's a total mystery! Jackie might have had a pizza. She might have drafted more fake texts from her fake boyfriend. She might have gone for a walk or written poetry.
In fact, the only thing we know beyond a scintilla of a doubt about that night is that Jackie was not gang-raped at a fraternity party, which happens to be the only relevant fact about "what happened to Jackie that night."
The New York Times' Charles Blow wrote a column on the CJR report, suggesting that although this "one particular case" of a fraternity gang rape had been "shown to have flaws," the "overall condition that it illustrated holds true."
If the overall condition is true, I have a top-shelf idea for liberals: Next time, you guys should produce one of the real cases. I think it would make your argument stronger.
Always the last to know, Blow also defended Obama's nonsense claim that 1 in 5 college women will be raped by citing a Washington Post "Fact Checker" from May 1, 2014, which merely called the figure "problematic" -- a resounding confirmation of the statistic, as far as Blow was concerned.
Unfortunately for Blow, about six months after the Post's fact check, that rating got downgraded to "utter B.S.," when Eric Holder's Justice Department released a study of nearly the past decade of crime statistics, finding that 0.61 percent of college students are victims of sexual assault, not 20 percent. That makes it .03 in 5, not 1 in 5.
In another six months, the Times will pretend to have missed the entire CJR report and go back to citing the UVA fraternity gang rape as proof that we are in the midst of a college rape epidemic.
At least Erdely has the excuse of being a not-terribly-bright, standard lefty with all the usual prejudices, who wanted to write bad-ass journalism at Rolling Stone and ended up producing worthless crap.
The New York Times is the "newspaper of record"! It publishes "the first draft of history"! It's the gold standard of journalism!
The Washington Post isn't a fair newspaper, but it isn't constantly falling for laughable hoaxes. To the contrary, the Post was one of the first newspapers to establish that Rolling Stone's gang rape story was hogwash.
By contrast, the Times began to consider the possibility that the UVA story was bunk ONLY after Rolling Stone withdrew the article and the CJR issued its official ruling.
And this wasn't the first time the paper hyped a fake rape story! The Times was also a bitter-ender on the non-existent gang rape by the Duke lacrosse team, waiting for the last dog to die before giving up the case. Even then, the Times just stopped writing about it.
The Times should be required to wear a criminal ankle bracelet for the rest of its days. Nothing the newspaper writes about that touches on a feminist issue can be believed. Responsible people have got to say to the Times, I'm sorry, this is a feminist topic: You've got to recuse yourself from writing about it.
Even the Times would have to admit: You're right. We've got a problem. We'll stop writing about campus rape, military rape, equal pay, sexism, the Augusta National Golf Club and Hillary Clinton.
It's unfortunate that it's come to this, but it's the Times' own fault. When it comes to feminist fantasies, no one can believe anything the newspaper of record says.