Rolling Stone, Lena Dunham, and the 'Rape Culture' Backlash

Why sensitivity to rape victims might have led to flawed reporting.

Lena Dunham visits 'THE VIEW,' 9/30/14, (11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, ET) airing on the ABC Television Network.

Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images

Where to begin with the Washington Post’s woeful “profile” of blogger/activist/doxxer Charles C. Johnson? You could start with the View from Nowhere, which posits that Johnson’s threat to release the name and address of the alleged University of Virginia rape victim at the center of Rolling Stone’s widely challenged story—he would defer, if she told “the truth about making it up”—was “pugnacious.” You could continue with how Johnson is described as a “one-time Daily Caller contributor,” without any mention of how his imploded stories alleging that then-Newark Mayor Cory Booker did not live in Newark, and that a New York Times reporter once posed for Playgirl, marked the end of his relationship with the site. (The Post only notes that Johnson contributed to the “hooker” stories about New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez that were “shredded” by other reporters.) You might wonder why the profile fails to mention Johnson’s “doxxing” of two New York Times reporters, and his subsequent reporting about how one of the reporters was calling police about the threats she was getting. Your eyebrow might levitate at how Johnson’s stories alleging criminal behavior from the victims of police shootings are described as “lampoon[s].”

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