Let me open by saying that most of the mainstream and entertainment media have handled the Lena Dunham/Barry One story quite fairly. And throughout the week, we have published as many of those pieces as possible. The examples below are notable exceptions.
For months Lena Dunham knew her memoir had plucked an innocent man out of obscurity and placed him under a cloud of suspicion that he was her rapist.
And she stayed silent.
For whatever reason, a very powerful woman and an even more powerful publisher (Random House) allowed an innocent family man to twist in the wind.
Those lashing out at Breitbart News for committing the crime of journalism never tell their readers that basic fact. It’s too damning, because her behavior in that instance is indefensible. The Daily Beast won’t tell you that. Jezebel won’t tell you that. Tamara Holder won’t tell you that. Even the Washington Post won’t tell you that.
Instead, they just lash out… we’re creepy and hounds of hell and trolls for committing an act of journalism… that resulted in some bad publicity for someone they admire… and the exoneration of an innocent man.
Although the Washington Post’s Eugene Volokh has published two superb pieces of analysis based in part on our reporting, on the same day the Washington Post published a methodical and righteous debunking of Rolling Stone’s University of Virginia rape hoax, elsewhere in that same publication Breitbart News was vilified for an act of journalism that resulted in Lena Dunham and Random House admitting a memoir labeled as non-fiction contains some fiction damaging to a very real person.
As Newsbusters points out, the Washington Post believes what we did was a bad thing:
The Washington Post explicitly sided with Hollywood feminist it-girl Lena Dunham in Thursday’s Style section with an article titled “Lena Dunham and the uncertain territory of memoir.” This is how we handle a crumbling allegation of sexual assault? Post writer Karen Heller lamented memoir writers are “held to some standards of reliability and are often subject to attacks if their stories defy verification.”
They played the don’t-pick-on-the-rape-survivor card, and Breitbart’s John Nolte and Breitbart were butt-kicking “hounds of hell” for trying to verify her tale of how “Barry” the campus conservative at Oberlin assaulted her[.]
Breitbart News has never once questioned whether or not Lena Dunham was raped.
Or feel free to call us if you’re not sure.
Or maybe read the piece in question that closes by making it clear that our reporting was not about whether or not Ms. Dunham was indeed assaulted:
Maybe Lena Dunham’s rapist is out there, and maybe this man voted for George W. Bush, and maybe this man did indeed hurt two other women.
So let me repeat:
Barry One said he was innocent.
Lena Dunham knew Barry One had proclaimed his innocence, and she said nothing.
Digging into the truth of that circumstance is not questioning Dunham’s story of being sexually assaulted.
We uncovered a completely separate story.
The story of Power abusing the Powerless.
That’s not about right vs. left, or red vs. blue, or liberal vs. conservative.
That’s about right and wrong.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC