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Rolling Stone Editor Offers 2nd Apology Amid Intense Criticism

Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana offered a series of tweets Friday afternoon which seem to offer a more abject apology for the magazines failure to check the facts in a widely read story about an alleged gang-rape at UVA. Dana’s final tweet made it clear the failure was that of the magazine not the young woman profiled in their story.

Earlier in the day Dana had published a 3-paragraph letter backing away from the story. That came as the Washington Post published its own detailed story stating that some of the claims in the Rolling Stone piece were inaccurate. The Post story also noted that some of the friends of the young woman around which the story is based (Jackie–a pseudonym to protect her identity) have begun to have doubts about her story.

Dana’s initial letter backing away from the story was harshly criticized, especially by some on the left, for what they saw as an attempt to blame the subject of the story for the magazine’s failure to verify the facts before publishing. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes had a blunt response:

But Hayes’ response was tame compared to how CNN contributor Sally Kohn responded:

Vox’s Amanda Taub also wrote a piece criticizing Dana’s initial statement:

Rolling Stone’s statement places the blame on Jackie, accusing her of being unworthy of trust. But the fact is that the magazine failed to report this story in a careful and ethical way. The reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, did not fully check the details of Jackie’s story before publishing them — or contact the alleged perpetrators involved…

Erdely claims that she was trying to protect Jackie, who feared that she might suffer retribution if Rolling Stone contacted her attackers. But failing to ensure that the story was accurate before exposing it to public scrutiny didn’t protect Jackie. It left her vulnerable.

Will Dana, the editor who wrote the first statement and tweeted the 2nd one, has not said anything else on Twitter since his final tweet taking responsibility for the failure several hours ago.

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