The Rape of Credibility: Feminism’s Agenda and the Jackie Coakley Scandal

Barb Wire

@ChuckCJohnson reports that the young woman pictured above is named Jackie Coakley, and that she was the main source for Rolling Stone‘s sensational (and now discredited) story about an alleged 2012 gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house.

Can I say for certain that Coakley has been correctly identified? I cannot, but (a) I have named my source, (b) so far as I know, neither Rolling Stone nor anyone else has denied this identification of Coakley as their source, and (c) you can check it out for yourself.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Google is your friend.

I think a crime of rape off campus or a crime of rape on campus ought to be treated the same way. And the sooner it’s treated the same way, the sooner the message is going to get out that you can’t get away with something on campus that you couldn’t get away with someplace else. . . . It’s high time to make sure that a crime is a crime wherever it is committed and treated the same way. And when it is treated universally the same way we will have less rape on campuses.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican

Trending: Wake Up Christians – Silence Is Not An Option

A woman with an agenda named Sabrina Rubin Erdely was hunting for a nice juicy campus rape story to “report” and Jackie Coakley was apparently willing to tell Erdely such a story. Some people are hashtagging this #UVAHoax, and I am not prepared to say that the Rolling Stone is a hoax, per se. It was certainly a shabby excuse for journalism. Rolling Stone raped its own credibility and, in doing so, exposed the fundamental problem with feminism’s “rape culture” narrative, as Robby Soave explains quite well at Reason magazine:

Suppose Jackie’s story was not so incredible. Suppose that premeditated, ritualistic gang rape was a plausible occurrence at the average college. Suppose that one in every five — or four, or three — female students found themselves in serious danger of assault the moment they set foot outside their dorm rooms. Suppose that America’s campuses really did rival Somalia in terms of the violence faced by young women. . . .

On the other hand, suppose the details of Jackie’s story were exaggerated, or in doubt. Suppose that premeditated, ritualistic gang rape was highly implausible. Suppose that cherry-picked statistics from a few unrepresentative studies were clearly masking an extraordinary decline in rape rates nationwide over the past few decades. Suppose the best available evidence suggested that campuses were, on the whole, safer for women than other environments. Suppose that campus sexual assaults were largely the work of a few sociopaths and nearly always the result of alcohol-induced incapacitation.

Wouldn’t the supposed solution to the campus rape crisis look markedly different?

Please read the whole thing, but you get the basic point: What we have here is a conflict between (a) known facts about rape on college and university campuses, and (b) controversial and tendentious claims about campus rape made by feminist ideologues.

The problem is [Erdely] found a story that was embellished. It didn’t hold up.
Rolling Stone staffer, quoted in the New York Observer

According to Got News, Jackie Coakley has misled several students at her high school and college about her sexual history, suggesting she may have completely fabricated rape stories and sexual abuse within her past relationships with men.
Benjamin Simon, Inquisitor

Here’s the thing: We don’t know what we don’t know.

That is to say, drunk college kids — and massive alcohol consumption is nearly always involved in these incidents — are unreliable narrators about what they did while they were drunk. The incessant demand of feminists that we must “believe the victims” requires us to be clairvoyant, to read the minds of two drunk teenagers and to witness (with our extra-sensory perception) the scene in a darkened dorm room where a sexual encounter occurred to which the only actual witnesses were the drunk teenagers themselves.

Indisputable evidence is generally lacking in these cases, and the testimony of the accused and accuser are all we have to evaluate. What happens is that we make what we call “common sense” judgments. Alas, many people’s version of “common sense” is heavily influenced by feminist rhetoric that depicts all males as sexual oppressors, which requires the rest of us to reply, “No, you’re crazy.”

Is Jackie Coakley the source for Rolling Stone‘s story? Did the incident described in that story actually happen? We don’t know.

It is not “rape culture” to say we don’t know what happened, and it is not ethical journalism to report as fact things you don’t know.

Chuck Johnson says that Jackie Coakley is Rolling Stone‘s source, and that she has been a feminist activist since high school. It is now the job of reporters to investigate and discover as many of the facts as can be discovered about this story, in an effort to determine how it was that Rolling Stone got suckered into this journalistic catastrophe.

Prediction: Within a week, we will see Rolling Stone‘s source being interviewed on a major network TV program.

First published at

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Robert Stacy McCain
Robert Stacy McCain is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience in the news business. He is a correspondent for The American Spectator, editor-in-chief at Viral Read and blogs at

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