Opinion

NYT Issues Ironic Correction On Campus Rape Book Review

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Will Ricciardella Social Media Strategist and Politics Writer

The New York Times issued a big correction to a book review on Friday, stating the piece incorrectly reported the author’s take on sexual assault statistics.

In a lengthy review of “Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus,” Michelle Goldberg challenges many of author Vanessa Grigoriadis’ claims in the book, referring to some of the “inaccuracies” as “jarring.” The many mistakes in the book “offer easy justification” for those that want to ignore it, Goldberg writes.

“Occasionally she makes baffling errors that threaten to undermine her entire book” she wrote. “In the introduction, she writes that universities ‘have some of the highest rates of sexual assault in the country,’ and that when it comes to rape, ‘the risk is college itself.'”

“[A]ccording to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, women between 18 and 24 who are not in college are victimized at higher rates than those who are in college,” Goldberg wrote. “I’m not sure how anyone could write an entire book about the subject of campus rape and not reckon with this.”

More than a week after the piece was published, however, Goldberg admitted to an embarrassing error of her own in the correction.

“[Grigoriadis’] does in fact write about Department of Justice statistics that say college-age women are less likely than nonstudent women of the same age to be victims of sexual assault” read the correction issued ten days later. “In addition, the review describes incorrectly Grigoriadis’s presentation of statistics from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.”

She was never unaware of the departments statistics, but questioned whether or not the data are sound.

“But if you’re going to challenge people’s preconceptions, you have to have your facts straight” Goldberg writes in her review, seemingly paying little attention to her own advice. Goldberg ironically concludes that inaccuracies give “readers too many reasons” not to trust them, “even when perhaps they should.”

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