Fox News’ Howard Kurtz called the false Rolling Stone story on rape at the University of Virginia “one of the worst journalistic catastrophes of the last half-century.”
Kurtz, who made the comments on “The Kelly File” to host Megyn Kelly Monday night, said it’s “unimaginable” that the story made it to print.
“It’s not just that the magazine didn’t talk to the alleged attackers and there was no deal with the accuser named ‘Jackie’ to do that; the magazine didn’t talk to ‘Jackie’s’ friends, who would have shot down this fraudulent scheme had they been contacted,” Kurtz said. “The editors didn’t even know the name of the alleged date that took her to the alleged frat party where the alleged assault took place. Not surprising, in retrospect, since no such person exists.”
“You have the founder and publisher of this music magazine saying, Well, we were taken in by an expert fabulist. Well, OK, but irrelevant,” Kurtz told Kelly. “Anybody who’s been in the journalism business for three weeks knows that people tell all kinds of false stories. It’s your job to check and to double check, especially with such heinous allegations that roiled the University of Virginia campus, that set back the whole sensitivity about sexual assault, that libeled this fraternity.
“Not only is nobody being punished at Rolling Stone, despite this Columbia report, none of the editors are being disciplined, Sabrina Erdely, the reporter, will continue to be a contributing editor, but this is a classic case of an activist reporter at a magazine that wanted to launch a crusade. And so it couldn’t just be a rape, it had to be a gang rape, and it couldn’t just be a gang rape, it had to be that her face was injured by shattered glass.”
“And so, all the spectacular elements here, the very thing that made it, I guess, an irresistible tale for Rolling Stone, makes it all the more imperative that you check and double check, and it turns out there was no corroboration here, because it didn’t happen,” Kurtz added.