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We wrote here and here about the story of a 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio who had to travel to Indiana to terminate her presidency pregnancy. No one has been able to verify the tale, and at this point it seems pretty clear that it was made up by an abortionist who spends much of her time lobbying the press in favor of abortion. Megan Fox has done the work on this story; her latest is here.
The legend of the 10-year-old rape victim made its way around the world, appearing in publications as disparate as the Washington Post, TMZ, the Guardian, the Hill, and countless more, finally being re-told by Joe Biden in his press conference on abortion. Not one of these publications (let alone the White House) made any attempt to verify the story before retailing it. The most we can say is that the story might be true, but since when is the press in the business of publishing that which might possibly be true, as fact?
Megan Fox’s latest, linked above, takes on Glenn Kessler’s “fact check” of the story in the Washington Post. Kessler admits that there is no support for the tale, that no one can find any trace of a criminal investigation or prosecution of such a rape anywhere in Ohio, and that the abortionist who started the rumor has gone to ground, refusing to answer any questions. Under normal circumstances, the logical conclusion is that the story is most likely a hoax, and the Post and other news outlets should not have printed it.
Is that the conclusion Kessler draws? No. Instead, he bizarrely says that the rumor is so widespread that it has attained the status of “fact”:
This is a very difficult story to check. Bernard is on the record, but obtaining documents or other confirmation is all but impossible without details that would identify the locality where the rape occurred.
With news reports around the globe and now a presidential imprimatur, however, the story has acquired the status of a “fact” no matter its provenance. If a rapist is ever charged, the fact finally would have more solid grounding.
So if a president says something, it has the status of a “‘fact’ no matter its provenance”? Wow. Is that the standard that Kessler and his colleagues applied to President Trump’s statements?
What we see here, of course, is the predominance of narrative over truth in the liberal press. Steve Hayward–now on the Queen Mary 2, crossing the Atlantic–emailed me to suggest that we contrast the current journalistic disgrace with the Post’s actions when one of their reporters fabricated another story that advanced the liberal agenda, but didn’t happen to be true, back in 1981:
A good post would contrast this with the famous WaPo 1981 story, “Jimmy’s World,” about the supposed 8-year old heroin addict. That story was believed because it conformed to liberal stereotypes, like the current story, but it fell apart quickly. The Post fired the reporter (Janet Cooke), and Pulitzer retracted their prize for the story.
Good point! But that was then, and this is now. In 1981, the Washington Post at least pretended to be a reliable and reasonably objective news source, and acted accordingly. Those days are gone. Today, the Post, the New York Times, and most other liberal outlets have abandoned any pretense of accuracy. It is all narrative, all the time. The 10-year-old rape victim is Joe Biden’s story, and they are sticking to it.