Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
These past weeks have been very illustrative of the damage that the outrage industry and their co-conspirators in the mainstream media can do.
We are all familiar with the damage that race hustlers have done over the past week and months. They have fanned the flames of racial hatred in Ferguson as they treat truth as the enemy of progress. In the tragic case of Eric Garner, a man that should still be alive, their absurd cries of racism in the face of no evidence have distracted from the real issues that should be addressed in the Eric Garner case, namely overly aggressive and dangerous police procedures use to enforce petty and confiscatory revenue laws. What happened to Mr. Garner could happen to anyone and it is entirely preventable. But we will never get to talk about the real issues at hand because the race hustlers have made Mr. Garner into a dead black man targeted by police instead of a dead man targeted by a government more interested in his pockets than his life.
In the cases above, the outrage industry took two real tragedies and hijacked them for their own advantage. Equally troubling are recent stories of media outrage about two horrible instances of rape, that probably never happened, or at least not the way they are reported.
One case has been making national headlines from Rolling Stone is that of "Jackie" and her gang rape at the University of Virginia as part of an annual fraternity initiation. Right from the moment of publication, elements that even the most basic journalistic standards should have vetted, came into serious question. It rapidly became clear that significant elements of her story were not true and it all unraveled from there.
The reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, ran with the story and made no real effort to validate the truth. The truth was secondary to a narrative that seemed to advance the cause of anti-male outrage. Now, the story has been discredited to such a degree that Rolling Stone editor Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana said in a statement "... we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced."
Maybe something horrible really did happen to young woman in question and maybe she was in real need of help. But instead of helping her, Rolling Stone and Ms. Erdely used her up. If she really was a victim of a crime, even if not the way she described, she has been victimized again by an industry cares less about actual people than it does about truth, if that is possible.
And lastly, at the same time this is happening, Breitbart has been investigating a claim of "rape by a Republican" by the progressive media darling and star and creator of the pornographic "Girls" on HBO, Lena Dunham. The claim is contained in her memoir "Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned".
After publication of the memoir in September, Dunham was omnipresent in the media hawking her claims of rape, but none of those media outlets care to verify even the most basic elements of her claim. But now Breitbart's investigation into her claims also makes clear that significant elements of her story also seem false and Ms. Dunham has done nothing to prove their veracity. Her claims are having devastating effects on the life of a man that fits Dunham's description of the rapist in some ways, even though other elements of her story would seem to exonerate the man. Dunham could make clear if she is referring to him as the rapist or not, but she has so far declined to do so. Truth is less important than the story, people are less important than the narrative.
But beside the terrible impact these false, fabricated, or exaggerated claims of rape have on the potentially falsely accused, real rape victims are also injured. Admitting to and seeking help for rape is already difficult enough, and these two stories no make it even more difficult to seek help for fear that people will think real victims are exaggerating or lying like these outrage hucksters and hustlers.
Before we forget about these stories and move on, before these liars and leeches move on to their next engagement, we should take a moment to remember that real people are hurt and damaged by these purveyors of outrage and lies.