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Rolling Stone must atone for University of Virginia rape report

  •  April 6, 2015: Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll answers a question during a news conference to discuss findings of a report conducted at the Columbia School of Journalism surrounding Rolling Stone magazine's expose of what it called a culture of sex assaults at the University of Virginia in New York. Rolling Stone has officially retracted the story. Columbia Journalism School Academic Dean Sheila Coronel listens at left.

    April 6, 2015: Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll answers a question during a news conference to discuss findings of a report conducted at the Columbia School of Journalism surrounding Rolling Stone magazine's expose of what it called a culture of sex assaults at the University of Virginia in New York. Rolling Stone has officially retracted the story. Columbia Journalism School Academic Dean Sheila Coronel listens at left.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

  • Jan. 15, 2015: Students participating in rush pass by the Phi Kappa Psi house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

    Jan. 15, 2015: Students participating in rush pass by the Phi Kappa Psi house at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

If you’re a glutton for gory details, read the entire 13,000-word autopsy of the infamous Rolling Stone rape article done by a team from Columbia’s School of Journalism.

If you only want to understand the basics of what went wrong, just read the first paragraph. Here is how the Columbia team begins:

Either way, it is hard to fathom publisher Jann Wenner’s claim that nobody involved would be fired or disciplined.

“Last July 8, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, a writer for Rolling Stone, telephoned Emily Renda, a rape survivor working on sexual assault issues as a staff member at the University of Virginia. Erdely said she was searching for a single, emblematic college rape case that would show ‘what it’s like to be on campus now . . . where not only is rape so prevalent but also that there’s this pervasive culture of sexual harassment/rape culture,’ according to Erdely’s notes of the conversation.”

Either way, it is hard to fathom publisher Jann Wenner’s claim that nobody involved would be fired or disciplined.

That’s all you need. The writer wasn’t looking for a story. She was looking for a case that confirmed the story she already had in her head.

Everything else is detail. All other mistakes, such as not challenging the claims of the purported victim “Jackie” or being honest with the fraternity she would accuse of hosting a gang rape, are the fruit of the poisoned tree.

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Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.