Rolling Stone and Columbia University Share Bigotry, Not Bias

Conservatives understand secular progressive political bias in the mainstream media, so Sabrina Rubin Erdley’s “A Rape on Campus”, a hatchet job against the University of Virginia and the Phi Sigma Psi fraternity published in Rolling Stone magazine, was not a shocker. So egregious were the article's inaccuracies and misrepresentations that Rolling Stone, in a very public mea culpa, enlisted the Columbia School of Journalism to investigate what went wrong. The Columbia analysis acknowledged that the fraternity brothers had been defamed, and roundly faulted the article’s editorial and investigative lapses: “…The failure encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking.” The report also acknowledged the political motivations of the errant author and the Rolling Stone staff:

Erdely and her editors had hoped their investigation would sound an alarm about campus sexual assault and would challenge Virginia and other universities to do better.… UVA had a flawed record of managing sexual assault cases.

The criticisms of Rolling Stone's lapses may accurately describe the methodological problems that paved the way for Rolling Stone’s necktie party against the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. But they miss the deeper psychological context of why those lapses -- that bias – occurred in the first place: left-wing rage. Fundamentally, the report concludes that sincere, high-minded people let their biased -- but unquestionably good intentions -- trump editorial ethics.

But lynchings, physical or editorial, do not result from bias or slipshod ethics. They result from hatred.

Erdely’s ferocious hit piece was not spawned from mere political bias or sympathy for Jackie. In fact, her article and subsequent statements suggest that she detests frat-boys more than she cares about Jackie. Her rant against UVA in general and the brothers of Phi Kappa Psi in particular is a classist and sexist brown-shirt frenzy against a despised archetype of her imagination – privileged white males.

The left-wing media and Columbia University Journalism School are so steeped in that bigotry they cannot understand at the most significant level what went wrong. Does a fish know it lives in water?

When the gig of cleansing the world of sin transferred from God to the left-wing educational/media magisteria in post-Christian America, the judgment function is accompanied by a “social science” scripture that identifies the original sin of white, heterosexual, privileged males. But the dilemma for outraged progressives is that the wealth and power in academia and media still reside in the same colorless and grasping hands, i.e., their own

Post-Christianity bestowed the power and glory to cultural elites, enabling a predominantly narcissistic character structure in America’s who’s who. The narcissistic temperament resolves the dilemma of actually being the problem, rather than the solution, regarding issues like materialism and sexual immorality through an ego defense mechanism called “splitting.” To maintain entitlements and a sense of superiority, the ego splits off rigid, irrational entities from itself. One’s own weaknesses and failures become a hated entourage of “not-me’s.”

There is a collective dissociative splitting among the left wing against “bad whites, bad heterosexuals, bad privileged, and bad white males”. Those rejected aspects of the self inevitably evoke rage when they are imagined to exist in other people. Furthermore, narcissistic splitting tends to populate one’s world with characters who are either entirely admirable or entirely evil. This psychological dynamic  was evident in Sabrina Rubin Erdley’s representation of pure-as-driven-snow Jackie who was “crushing it” after just four weeks at UVA and who was “floored” by the (apparently nonexistent invitation) to dinner by the (apparently) nonexistent rapists. Idealized female goodness was destroyed by the proportionately evil, cruel, and unredeemable frat-boys.

Narcissistic splitting is the psychological explanation for how the left wing can passionately despise people who are actually quite like themselves, only less wealthy. A vernacular term for splitting is bigotry. It is why neither Sabrina Rubin Erdely nor Rolling Stone magazine did not apologize to the real victims of their sensationalistic offal. Their apologies studiously avoided the hated the objects of their bigotry: the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. That organization embodies a perfect storm of splitting: white, heterosexual, privileged males. For the left to relinquish that bigotry they would have to be honest about themselves.

The largely unconscious ego-defense mechanism of “splitting” plausibly explains Erdely's antipathy and Rolling Stone’s willingness to endorse it. The immature personality splits off  “the bad” from itself, and cathects hatred against those who reminds the ego of itself. But even this apt psychodynamic explanation tends to diminish personal responsibility for what is essentially an intellectualized tendency, as Maimonides put it, to be only for oneself.

Let us build the broadest platform of understanding the treacherous peculiarities of the postmodern mind. In the grand scheme, scientific advancement enabled two vast, world-changing defamations. First socialism and then today’s identity cults of secular progressivism. Sigmund Freud’s underlying worldview of scientific materialism, of human beings as Godless organisms of wanting, is itself one of the missing ties that caused the derailment of Judeo-Christian morality in America. Still, Freud’s creative genius was such that it can be enlisted in understanding the self-righteousness of the left-wing rationalized hatred of white, heterosexual, privileged males.

A long while ago, in a western movie the title of which escapes me, a ‘good guy’ is about to kill a ‘bad guy’ for a crime. The exact dialog also escapes me, but the gist is that the bad guy pleads, “But I didn’t do it.” The good guy replies, “I know, but a crime’s been committed and somebody’s gotta pay.”

As long as it’s not me.