OTR Interviews

Inside the unraveling of the Rolling Stone-UVA rape story

What led to the slow collapse of the magazine's controversial gang rape story? What else is in store? #RollingStone

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 8, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: OK, how could the "Rolling Stone" magazine be that bad, not giving a damn about facts? Yes, I'm talking about the "Rolling Stone" article about an alleged gang rape at UVA. The fraternity accused in the case claims they did not host a party on the night in question. How hard would it be to check that out?

Fraternity officials say none of their members works as a lifeguard as the accuser claimed. Really? Another fraternity contested the "Rolling Stone's" claim that it was part of a pledging ritual. The fraternity said pledging activities do not occur in the fall semester. Did the "Rolling Stone" check that one? No. "Rolling Stone" didn't check up on that either.

But our next guest did, "The Washington Post's" Taylor Rees Shapiro.

Taylor, first of all, we're digging into this and seeing -- you're reporting a lot of inconsistencies, but overall, did this rape even occur? She could be grossly wrong about the facts or making it up or something in between. Have you been able to ascertain from your reporting whether she was assaulted?

TAYLOR REES SHAPIRO, "WASHINGTON POST" REPORTER: That's difficult to tell, of course. Her friends believe something happened to her and they believe something awful and traumatic and horrific. And those -- based on the evidence that they have seen, that's what they believe.

I've spoken to two people who saw her in the immediate aftermath of the incident and both of them say they absolutely believe something happened, just maybe not exactly what was reported in "Rolling Stone."

VAN SUSTEREN: Looking at the facts, one of the things is whether an assault occurred of some sort, and the whole idea of putting it in the public domain, and how well you do your fact checking. The "Rolling Stone" is getting barbecued by everybody about its reporting.

But tell me, what did you determine to be -- when doing your reporting, what did you learn differently from what "Rolling Stone" reported?

SHAPIRO: First, it was the fact that the fraternity did not host a party on the night in question.

VAN SUSTEREN: Could they just be mistaken? Or could it be a nonofficial party?

SHAPIRO: The fraternity stands by its statement. We've obviously looked into everything we can. We're looking to confirm with fraternity members who were there at that time and we've spoken to several off the record and on the record. We're looking to do as best as we can to confirm that.

VAN SUSTEREN: But so far, no proof that there was a party there, official or unofficial, that night?

SHAPIRO: They said there was not a party.

VAN SUSTEREN: One of her stories -- well, one of the things she says, according to "Rolling Stone," is one of her assaulters worked as a lifeguard, is that correct?

SHAPIRO: That's what she said.

VAN SUSTEREN: She worked as a lifeguard as well?

SHAPIRO: That's what she said.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's what she said. Now -- and that's what the "Rolling Stone" reported, right?

SHAPIRO: Correct.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did your real reporting show?

SHAPIRO: We reported that no member of the fraternity was a lifeguard or worked at the aquatic fitness center that entire time of the night in question.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you -- have you had a chance to talk to the "Rolling Stone" and ask why they didn't go back and check these facts out?

SHAPIRO: I spoke -- I asked to speak with them. I sent a message to the writer of the "Rolling Stone" piece indicating that I had not a lot of questions for her. I wanted to talk about her interactions with Jackie as well as my own reporting to double check what we learned. I have not had the opportunity to speak with her.

VAN SUSTEREN: How hard was it to talk to the fraternity and find out whether or not they had an event that night or a party?

SHAPIRO: They released a statement. I have been in touch with a person who was close to the fraternity that told me they were going to release details in particular to that party. It's been very difficult to talk to members of the fraternity. Obviously, they have been through, you know, the wringer themselves and they're coming to a point where maybe they may speak publicly, but I'm not sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Your dealings with the "Rolling Stone," were they embarrassed or chagrined that they had not done the reporting that you had done, trying to track down these issues in the story?

SHAPIRO: I could only do my own reporting. I cannot speak for "Rolling Stone."

VAN SUSTEREN: At no time did they speak to you and say, oh, look, we're sorry or we tried or anything like that?

SHAPIRO: Not that I'm aware of.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's been the reaction of your reporting?

SHAPIRO: I think the news of this particular case is intriguing a lot of people. Everybody just wants to know the truth of what happened that night and, of course, we're looking to find out what it is.

VAN SUSTEREN: And how many witnesses, alleged witnesses, or people, who talked to her shortly after the alleged event, did you talk to?

SHAPIRO: I've spoken to three people.

VAN SUSTEREN: And were the three people, in talking to them, were the events that they relayed similar to each other?

SHAPIRO: I've spoken to three people who saw her immediately after that particular event of the alleged attack. They told me a similar story of what they believe happened that night or what they were told happened that night. It is different from what was reported in "Rolling Stone."

VAN SUSTEREN: Different in what way?

SHAPIRO: The number of people involved, for instance.

VAN SUSTEREN: So I think that five versus seven?

SHAPIRO: Sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: But it could be an easy mistake, right?

SHAPIRO: Absolutely. They all believe something happened to her that night, something traumatic and something awful.

VAN SUSTEREN: And the three people, was there differences in what they told you, material or just incidental differences?

SHAPIRO: I think any fact should be double checked and confirmed. Having spoken with these people, we're learning something different than what was already reported.

VAN SUSTEREN: Taylor, thank you very much, and good reporting. Thank you.