Fox News lies about Feministing

I just found this and I’m pissed the fuck off.
“iFeminist” Wendy McElroy has written a piece for Fox News, Continuing to Defame the ‘Duke 3′ as Rapists, where we’re misquoted:

Even the popular gender feminist site Feministing had conceded “it probably isn’t appropriate to continue calling this the ‘Duke rape case’.”

That’s funny, because I’m pretty sure it was a commenter that wrote this–not us. Congrats, noname: Fox News loves you!
I’d like to think this was a mistake (despite the fact that it’s pretty damn clear who is blogging and who is commenting) so I’ve emailed McElroy about a retraction. But still–ugh.
UPDATE: I’ve had a series of emails with McElroy which seem to indicate that she’s unwilling to remove the incorrect quote unless Feministing provides her with our position on the Duke case. Check them out after the jump (read from the bottom, up). This is seriously bad journalism.
UPDATE II: The reference to Feministing has been taken down and McElroy assures me a retraction is forthcoming.

Wendy, the retraction is about you attributing a quote to Feministing that we did not write. That’s all. You didn’t contact us for a quote, and we didn’t give one. The onus is on you to correct your error, not us to clarify our position.
Best, Jessica
Well…for the retraction I should say whether or not your site agrees with the characterization of thinking it inappropriate to refer to the Duke defendants as “rapists” or to the case as being about “rape.” Can you please clarify that point for me? BTW, I know we disagree on many positions and ill will is often expected between those who ideologically differ…but this is just a straight forward question.
Wendy, thanks for the prompt response–it’s not being depicted as no longer referring to the Duke trial as a ‘rape’ case that offends us, it’s the attributing of a quote that isn’t ours that we found problematic.
Thanks, Jessica
If you so wish, I will add a statement at the end of next week’s column to the effect that the Feministing site objects to being depicted as no longer referring to the Duke trial as a “rape” case. Indeed, I’m honestly sorry to hear you still do.
Best, Wendy
Ms. McElroy, Your recent article, Continuing to Defame the ‘Duke 3′ as Rapists, misquotes and misrepresents our stance on this issue. The quote, “it probably isn’t appropriate to continue calling this the ‘Duke rape case'” was written by a commenter–not a Feministing editor, which is very clear from the post. Please issue a retraction immediately.
Thanks so much, Jessica

Join the Conversation

  • Durga_is_my_homey

    Oh, my gosh. Are they still on that self-congradulatory “gender feminist” (ie. “everyone who acknowledges there is social and economic power and disagrees with Conservative Libertarian feminists”) thing?
    You can email McElroy, but I’d say its a waste of breath because oops, that would require Compliance Fauxminists (see? I can do that too!) like Christina “always put women on the backburner in favor of (white) boys or you hate men” Hoff-Sommers, colonized idiot (TM commenter at Pandagon or Feministe) and the Britney Spears of “intellectuals” Camille Paglia, and the pathetically confused, dim-bulb rape apologist Katie Roiphe to acknowledge that feminists that aren’t them are individuals who do have different points of view and do debate and dissent. If they do that, their heads will explode. Besides, there is nobody more obsolete than the “Rebels” Without a Clue afterall. Alas, the 90s are over and gone.
    Not to mention that I ran screaming from this case once it was revealed the bruises and marks the defense *insisted* their pictures showed were there prior to the alleged incident weren’t even detected by the rape kit. But I’ll humor her: I won’t defame them as rapists. I’ll “defame” them (as if I have that type of power) as entitled, pampered, violent (in Collin Finnerty’s case), racist, sexist brats. Which their own (witness corroborated) actions and words and their treatment by the school show they are, sorry. And before they twist that to mean something it doesn’t (the Good Dude knows these people cannot not misrepresent something), I’m not saying they can or should be convicted on those grounds. But I’m not a judge.
    That goes for the “convicted in the court of public opnion” bullshit too; there is no “court of public opinion” as its basically an ozymoron. Just another Conservative Libertarian way to backhandedly impose censorship (see, when Conservative Libertarians say they care about “person freedom”, they do – THEIR personal freedom to do anything without accountability or criticism).

  • Victoria Marinelli

    Hmmm. Conflating comment writers with site editors? Well of course, we’d expect that kind of pathetic bullshit from Faux News. (Still though, it sucks, and you’re right to be mad as hell; I am too.) Fortunately though, that would never happen among progressives in the blogosphere, right?
    Hey, I’m just sayin’. (Now hopefully, if anybody reads this comment and it pisses them off, they’ll direct that ire at me rather than you folks.)

  • Alon Levy

    It’s news to me that Feministing is a gender feminist website. I always thought it was a race feminist site.

  • dhsredhead

    all publicity is good publicity? You know your a successful feminist/liberal when you get misquoted on Fox News.

  • Caro

    Question: What exactly is “gender feminist” supposed to mean? Is this some new dig at feminists by right-wingers that I’m not aware of? And isn’t that sort of redundant? While feminists deal with other issues besides gender, of course, gender tends to be a pretty central uniting topic for all feminism… doesn’t it? I’m confused.

  • Alon Levy

    It’s a term from Christina Hoff-Sommers’ Who Stole Feminism? – in a nutshell, a gender feminist is someone who wants further changes to promote equality, while an equity feminist is someone who supports exactly those feminist advances that everyone does (suffrage, the right to hold property, etc.). That’s not how she defines the distinction, but how she and her followers use it.

  • Tom Head

    Oh, I get it. It’s kind of like the difference between
    “radical vegetarians” (who don’t eat meat) and “credible vegetarians” (who eat the same things everyone else eats, but call themselves vegetarians anyway).
    Theocon “logic” is so much fun.

  • Vervain

    When Fox News feels threatened enough to misrepresent (in other words, lie about) you, you know you’ve hit the big time.

  • Jill Zimon

    Talk about garbled. Then again, they make it so EASY for bloggers to justify and expand their existence and attractiveness, you know?
    Reminds me of the dustup in fall or winter of ’05 when a Wikipedia entry about someone big was incorrect and eventually changed and all the MSM looked at it and said, See! See! Blogs bad.
    And we all had to say, um, it’s a Wiki, not a blog – and the MSM just couldn’t keep it straight.
    Only makes their incompetence more obvious.

  • Tara K.

    Fox News is pretty much the tabloid of news networks anyway.

  • Michael Greinecker

    I think the point of “Gender Feminism” is to combine as much liberal, offensive sounding words (to conservatives) as possible, so that FoxNews readers can be assured to ignore the information from that side.

  • teddy10

    Here’s the e-mail I sent to Wendy and Fox:
    Dear Wendy,
    I disagree with one of the major assertions you make in your piece about the Duke rape case:
    “The case may become a pivot point in how society views accusations of rape and the pivot will be away from automatically believing accusers.”
    I don’t think society automatically believes accusers at all; much the opposite.
    Also, I believe the assertion that this case continues to foment media frenzy because the DA et al are trying to save themselves is neither helpful nor accurate. Perhaps a better question is: why does the media (Fox News and yourself included) continue to cover the story? Aren’t you participating in exactly what you point out is a problem?
    I think this has garnered so much media attention because the rape accusations have proved to be false, and thus have stirred up the latent fear of the general public: that EVERY rape victim is lying. No one wants to believe that rape DOES happen, so the media and the public are eager to jump on the band wagon in this case where indeed no rape took place.
    Actual rape is old hat to the media; false accustations make for better print because they are much, much more rare.

  • Nancy in NYC

    I’m sure it’s hard to take this as any kind of a compliment, but I’ll echo what some of your other readers have said: you know you’re big-time when the big-time assholes try to attribute their bullshit to you.

  • Nancy in NYC

    I’m sure it’s hard to take this as any kind of a compliment, but I’ll echo what some of your other readers have said: you know you’re big-time when the big-time assholes try to attribute their bullshit to you.

  • Mary B

    I just wish they would quit talking about this story. When are the men going to quit slapping themselves on the backs for this? I can just hear it now on the forums.
    “See? Women lie about rape to get what they want!”
    “Men have no rights!”
    “Feminism won’t be happy until all men are castrated!”

  • noname

    “Congrats, noname: Fox News loves you!” – Jessica
    Aww shucks. I’d like to thank my agent, ect. Now I think I will go take a shower. I feel dirty.

  • noname

    Mary B – I bet you would like everyone to stop talking about this case. I think you are mistaken in thinking this is a case of men patting themselves on the back and saying the things you attribute to them. I can only speak for myself, but I continue to follow and talk about this case because these players are still under indictment and those who brought on and facilitated this hoax have yet to be punished.
    Note: The Talking Points document discussed in the article is littered with factual mistakes (lies?) designed to protect the case, the accuser, and her enablers.
    Note 2: I just mistakenly posted this to the Best and Worst of 2006 thread. Please feel free to delete it there.

  • Mary B

    Maybe I should elaborate. What I mean is that very often, I hear these things being said by mostly males (although I have heard the same sentiments from females) about alleged female rape victims. Obviously, I mean internet forums where immature men tend to dominate (Digg, Fark, etc.).
    I am not saying that the accused were not wronged, and from what I know about the case, I would say there has been a miscarriage of justice. However, this story has been so sensationalized, and it just provides fodder for the “Women are liars when it comes to rape! They just want to keep men down!” argument. In reality, most sexual assaults go unreported for various reasons, which include the fact that the victims are afraid they’ll be seen as liars. And often times, when it’s just “her word against his”, the case is not pursued. I do wish that the MSM would report on actual news, versus sensationalistic stories.

  • Jessica

    Just want to remind folks that this isn’t a thread about the Duke case–but about Fox News. Thanks.

  • noname

    Mary B – I totally get where you are coming from. Some of the things you were talking about were even in the article in question. I have never read the blogs you referenced, but I can believe that too. I just dis-agree that these sources are a basis to stop talking about the case altogether.
    For your information, the most informative source I have found on the subject is Durham-In-Wonderland. If you are interested, KC Johnson, a liberal professor from Brooklyn College, has put together a huge amount of information about this case.
    Jessica – Understood. I’ll lay off the case here (although I would obviously love it if you all did open a new Duke thread ;). As far as Fox News goes, it seems like a silly mistake that could have been remedied by even a little fact checking. While I do not personally much like the Fox Newses and Rush Limbaughs of the world, I must applaud them for finally reporting the truth in this case and wonder why many others have yet to do so.

  • noname

    Note – I called the Fox error a “silly mistake”. I realize looking at my post, now, that I have no basis for assuming that it wasn’t intentional. Sorry about that.

  • Vervain

    What did you expect, an apology? From Fox News?
    Silly girl, don’t you know Fox News is never wrong?
    Sagaciously and, dare I say it, gracefully handled. I sincerely doubt you’ll get a retraction (as that would be an admission of fault) but at least the reference to Feministing was removed from the article.
    It is indeed shoddy journalism, but I’ve long been of the opinion that good journalism has gone the way of the dinosaur, following in the footsteps of journalistic ethics, which also died a long time ago–except when being invoked as an excuse not to divulge imaginary sources, of course.
    And to think people were surprised when I said I’d never, ever go into journalism…the thing is, I kinda like my immortal soul.

  • norbizness

    “Holy smokes! Did you go to Hollywood Upstairs Journalism School too?”

  • Heraclitus

    I think it’s pretty clear at this point that no one with any intelligence, intellectual integrity or common decency can identify with today’s conservatives. The fact that this abysmal troll of a woman has to try to bully you into giving her something in exchange for correcting her mistake — a correction which, don’t look now, is her fucking job — just shows what awful, awful people they are.
    And, Victoria, you may disagree with Jack about how much responsibility Twisty bears for comments on her threads, but he didn’t mistakenly attribute a commenter’s words to Twisty, much less then refuse to acknowledge his mistake. He just blamed her for not reacting more swiftly and unequivocally. Again, you can disagree with him (I do, to some extent), but I don’t think it’s even in the same category as what’s happened here.

  • st3ph

    Good work getting the misquote removed. It’s actually kind of cool that this site is on Fox News’ radar.

  • Richard Aubrey

    You sort of got the quote issue straightened out.
    But McElroy’s question is still unanswered.
    Do the proprietors of this site believe the Duke case is still about rape?
    How about the majority of the commenters?
    In other words, was the woman raped by the lacrosse guys?

  • Kattyben

    Richard, really. First of all, if you’re not a sockpuppet for Wendy McElroy, I’d be amazed. Secondly, I’m pretty sure the Feministing editors (and no one else here) knows the answer to your question for sure.
    It’s much less important to me whether that particular rape happened than it is that rapes do happen, every day. Credible estimates suggest that only 6% of rapists spend any time in jail. Research also makes it clear that false reports of rape are no more frequent or even less frequent than false reports of other crimes.
    Prosecutorial misconduct is very serious. If it has occurred, it will certainly be dealt with. I wish I had the same confidence in the legal system’s willingness to redress rape.

  • The Law Fairy

    Richard, the problem is that the answer to that question is one billion percent irrelevant. Wendy misattributed a quote. The misattribution was respectfully but firmly brought to her attention. I’m not even a journalist — but as a blogger who values her small-circle reputation, *I* would have immediately issued a retraction with apologies and thanks for the correction. Instead, Wendy gets huffy and defensive — and tries to turn this around on Jessica by implying that she has an obligation to make a statement. No one EVER has an obligation to make a statement. If Wendy felt so strongly about it, she should have issued the retraction and apology and could have noted that Feministing gave no comment when asked about its current position. Simply taking down the INCORRECT attribution, as though it never happened, is bad journalism and poor sportsmanship. Wendy is acting like a small, petulant child.
    If Feministing wants to give its current position on the Duke case (assuming it even HAS one), it will do so on its own terms. When Fox makes a mistake, the onus is on FOX to correct it — not on Feministing.
    I mean, Richard — imagine if I posted on my blog and said “Richard says, and I quote ‘I think fetuses are tasty.'” I imagine you’d be pretty pissed off at the incorrect attribution. You ask me to retract the quotation and then I insist that you first tell me about your position on the flavor of fetuses. Do you think they’re tasty or not? “It’s a simply question, just answer it.” This would be absurd. You have no obligation to tell me ANYTHING about your thoughts on how fetuses taste. *I’m* the one who misquoted *you*. You’re not the one with the obligation to fix the mistake I made — I am.
    On the other hand, it’s nice to have some concrete stuff to point to when we note that Fox doesn’t employ real journalists.

  • the15th

    The most annoying thing Wendy McElroy’s done is steal the term “individualist feminist.” I basically consider myself an individualist feminist because I’m unequivocally pro-science and pro-Western-medicine, and because I don’t always sympathize with other leftist causes that some feminists are involved with. But now she’s ruined it for me. Hey, maybe I can write a book called “Who Stole Individualist Feminism?” and make a fortune on the lecture circuit!

  • John in Nashville

    I can understand how the incorrect attribution of a commenter’s remark can rankle; however, is there any dispute that the Durham matter is no longer a rape case (even though it may have been indicted that way)? The charges of rape (but not all charges) have been dismissed at the behest of the State. A rape charge is the sine qua non of a rape case.
    What am I missing?

  • donna darko

    When the case trailed off, she and Nifong said she was had been penetrated with a broomhandle. Then things went quiet for months. Rape by a hand held object is still rape but not in certain jurisdictions. North Carolina happens to be a jurisdiction where rape with a hand held object is sexual assault but not rape.
    In some jurisdictions, rape is defined by penetration of the anus or the vagina by a penis, while in other jurisdictions, the penetration of either the vagina or the anus need not be by a penis, but can be by other objects such as a finger or a hand-held object, or the forcing of a vagina or anus onto a penis by a female.

  • The Law Fairy

    John, I think the problem is that the quote is not ONLY misattributed — it’s used in a manner that suggests Wendy is trying to discredit rape accusers in general. I can imagine Feministing doesn’t want to touch that implication with a billion-foot pole (and rightly so).

  • Raging Moderate

    “I’ve had a series of emails with McElroy which seem to indicate that she’s unwilling to remove the incorrect quote unless Feministing provides her with our position on the Duke case.”
    Like John, I can understand the frustration caused by attributing no-names comment to you.
    But why are you reluctant to state your own opinion of the Duke affair?

  • Susan

    Raging Moderate: But why are you reluctant to state your own opinion of the Duke affair?
    I’ll assume you can read, because you’ve identified so strongly with “John.” Please see “Jessica” above, January 31, 2007 11:17 AM. Thanks.