Rolling Stones journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely has written yet another problematic story, GotNews.com has learned.
Erdely may be in the news these days for a botched story on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia but writing thinly sourced problematic stories isn’t a new occurrence for her.
One of Erdely’s most celebrated works of journalism, also for Rolling Stone, is full of unsubstantiated claims and tentative connections written in a ham-handed attempt to politicize a series of personal tragedies. The story, published in 2012 and titled “School of Hate,” tries to drag then-Congresswoman Michele Bachmann into complicity in a wave of suicides that struck a school district she represented.
The connection? Some of those students who killed themselves were gay.
Though Erdely herself admits in the story that some of the students who killed themselves were not gay or connected to the reported struggles of gay teenagers, she nevertheless frames the story as if the suicides are the result of a stately neutral policy concerning school officials instructing students about homosexuality. A policy that was the result of parents and local leaders asking to have their Christian children spared any public teaching about homosexuality.
For Erdely a policy of neutrality encourages bullying and somehow offered a silent consent from the school for the troubled teens to kill themselves. To back up her claims Erdely continuously quotes the troubled students and uses their version of events as the official narrative. In at least one case, that of Justin Aaberg, Erdely gives descriptions of events from the perspective of the already deceased student relying on third party information.
In all the detailed cases of teen suicide bullying based on sexual orientation is fingered as the culprit and conservative groups positioned as the villains for daring to want a neutral policy on homosexuality from school officials. The fact that many schools have this policy and have had a neutral policy on teaching homosexuality for generations without a wave of suicides is apparently irrelevant.
Whether the events alleged by the teenage students, many of whom were hospitalized for psychiatric reasons, happened at all or in the way they described them remains unknown. What is known is that Erdely has a pattern of taking one view of a story and generalizing it to the entire situation. Something she clearly demonstrated in both the stories on University of Virginia and “School of Hate.” Not surprisingly it is a liberal storyline that castes those celebrating tradition in the church or fraternity house as monsters.
Though Rolling Stone issued a retraction for the UVA story, they have yet to take back Erdely’s hit piece on Michele Bachmann.
The activist gay organization GLAAD even awarded Erdeley for her thinly sourced journalism.