Campus Rape: How Opposing The Use Of Fake Stats, Lies and False Narratives Became “Conservative”

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I just don’t see how or why insisting on using objective and verifiable facts in policy-making and public discourse became “conservative bias.” I don’t recall the media’s interest in correcting fake combat statistics during the Vietnam war being regarded as “liberal bias.” I can’t bring myself to believe that only moderates and conservatives care about making sure that the public isn’t deceived into believing things that aren’t true.

But why does this stuff keep happening, and particularly, why does it keep happening under the supervision of Democrats and their supporters during the Obama years? I know I’ve been harping on “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” and the deification of Mike Brown as contrary to all evidence, common sense, fairness and rationality, but such cultural embrace of lies is objectively outrageous and dangerous. I also resent being called a “teabagger,” a racist, or a right-wing nut for pointing this out.

One reason resent it, perhaps the main one, is that I’m a lifetime iconoclast, curmudgeon and contrarian (just like Dad!) and while I know that having  people, even friends, angry at me never changed my opinions, words or behavior very much, most people are not like me. Most people, when they are called racists on Facebook or bombarded with dishonest Daily Kos internet memes or realize that their friends aren’t inviting them out for beer because they will object to the conventional liberal wisdom of the nonce, decide its more important to get along than to fight the good fight, so they just adopt the prevalent opinion of their “crowd.” Usually, personal growth and education on the issue stops about then: if you listen hard, you will hear the sound of a slamming door. Soon they’ll be calling others racists on Facebook.

The fake campus sexual assault issue is another area where this phenomenon is occurring. CBS’s Sunday Morning gave one of its gauzy features about it yesterday, beginning with the assumption that for some reason (the reason was already pre-programmed and injected directly into the Democratic Party’s second most reliable “base” group, young single women bloodstream, with its “war on women” convention theme in 2012) campus sexual assault is epidemic. On the show’s website, proving that this was propaganda rather than journalism, was this sentence: “According to the U.S. Justice Department, one in five college women will experience some kind of sexual assault while in school.” (It had been removed by this morning.)

That statement—this is a news show, broadcast by a news organization, overseen by a multi-billion dollar communications corporation, remember—is not only false, but its falsity has been well-documented, and any CBS intern who bothered could have flagged it as misinformation, based on a bad study that was given wide dissemination by feminist activists and irresponsible reporters in an effort to stampede public policy into a full-fledged war on college men. The CBS piece used the hysterical phrase “the scourge of college rape”—there is no such “scourge,” defined as a plague or “a cause of wide or great affliction” — and included this:

“In November, a now-discredited article in Rolling Stone roiled the University of Virginia with a tale of an alleged gang rape at a fraternity party. But while much of it has been called into question, it’s helped fuel a national conversation about sexual assault on campus.”

So, on balance, this not just discredited or “called into question” but completely manufactured out of feminist animus and progressive agenda piece of unethical journalism was worth it, right CBS? Surely readers remember Sen. Claire McCaskill’s angry reaction to being challenged on her use of the false campus assault statistics:  “Frankly, it is irritating that anybody would be distracted by which statistics are accurate.” CBS quotes another female, Democratic Senator, Gillibrand of New York, as saying this:

“We don’t want to hold an innocent young man accountable for a crime he didn’t commit any more than we want a rape victim to not have a place to report that crime.”

Really? Then why did she bring as her guest to the State of the Union address a female Columbia student who has been harassing and accusing a male student of rape after both the campus process and law enforcement determined that her rape claim wasn’t supported by the evidence? You see, I think that is contemptible, just as McCaskill’s statement was contemptible, and I would find it horrifying if only conservatives found them contemptible, because that’s what they are.

The alternative is to concluded that the good people—you know, Democrats, progressives—like fake stats and fake stories: they get people talking, and worrying, and fearing, and believing….and voting.

And voting for their candidates and policies. Wait a minute—I think the logic is dawning on me! Since the point of the fake facts is to advance liberal candidates and policies, anyone objecting to the lies must be right wing, racist, sexist haters. Otherwise, they would understand the essential goodness of those lies.

Well, conservative and Republicans use fake statistics too, although the ones we hear most from the news media are those issuing from activist allies of Democrats–on gun deaths, on global warming, on gender pay inequality, and now campus rape. What is needed is a bi-partisan, ideologically neutral consensus that bad studies, bad data and manipulated statistics, however they are used, and whatever their virtuous and well-intentioned origin, are unethical and wrong, and have no place in public policy debate. It is a citizen’s ethical and civic duty to oppose them and to reject both elected officials and activists who employ them.

Aiding that mission is a new website (now on the Ethics Alarms links), Data Gone Odd, launched at the end of last year, and currently featuring a single post—this one, titled How To Lie And Mislead With Rape Statistics: Part 1. Then send the link to Lena Dunham, Rolling Stone, CBS, Senators McCaskill and Gillibrand, and the last person you read or talked to who used that “1 in 5” statistic.

You right wing misogynist hater.


Pointer: Simple Justice

Sources: CBS, Department of Justice, Data Gone Odd



34 thoughts on “Campus Rape: How Opposing The Use Of Fake Stats, Lies and False Narratives Became “Conservative”

  1. Just more proof that conservatives think liberals are idiots, liberals think conservatives are evil, and each will do anything to prove their point.

    • I’m conservative, and I think there are way too many people who call themselves liberals who are evil AND idiots. They are the ones I refer to consistently in here (since when, I can’t recall) as “poor bastards.” I don’t think all fellow conservatives are geniuses and saints, either. I’ll own my evil; just to be even more honest, I’ll even hedge on never using it against anyone. That ought to be fair enough warning.

  2. Liberalism has become an ideology very similar to a religion. It has a set of unassailable views and ‘truths’. These must prevail over all other ‘truths’ if good is to prevail and the evil conservatives are to be crushed. If so-called objective truth is not consistent with liberal ‘truth’, then objective truth must be redefined or fake statistics must be used. It is for the greater good. Conservative views are hateful, racist, sexist, and homophobic (in that order) and are not legitimate. They must be eliminated By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).

    It is easy to come up with a statistic that 1 in 5 college women are raped. You just redefine rape. Look at California. If a collage-age woman goes to a bar, has a few drinks, and then has sex with a man who also had a few drinks, she has now been raped. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if that definition means that 50% of all college women have been raped. The student newspaper at Virginia Tech once breathalyzer freshmen at various times to plot average BAC against time. The only time the average freshman’s BAC was under 0.1 was Thursday morning. It increased Thursday afternoon to Sunday and then declined. This means that according to California’s new definition, the average college girl having sex was raped.

    • “Liberalism has become an ideology very similar to a religion. It has a set of unassailable views and ‘truths’. These must prevail over all other ‘truths’ if good is to prevail and the evil conservatives are to be crushed. If so-called objective truth is not consistent with liberal ‘truth’, then objective truth must be redefined or fake statistics must be used. It is for the greater good.”

      Thank You. This is exactly what I mean when I call them the New Puritans.

      • Yeah, that’s a really good way to put it. The same people who look down on the Puritans for using religion to control the colonists, are repeating that for every aspect from food to speech to almost thought. I admit I think some guns and weapons should not be available and everyone may need a hand, but throwing out the Bill of rights is not the answer. Practically, the wheel always turns and they will not be in power at some point.

  3. Perhaps when such statistics are bandied about we should ask about the demographic makeup of the victims and perpetrators. I would expect that we will get a response that is makes no difference because they do not know anything other than the sound bite or they might have to out a protected class as a perpetrator; that would be a no-no.

    My response to the “it makes no difference” claim would be you cannot stop a problem if you don’t know and understand the cultural background of the persons involved. Then ask “you do want the problem stopped don’t you?”

    After reading the Slate piece you referenced I now believe that legislated institutional bias permeates our society against males. It must be great to have female privilege.

    • I have heard white nationalists claim that every year, 30,000 white females are raped by black males , while zero black females are raped by white males. Does the veracity of this statistic have any bearing on this “college rape crisis”?

      • If it were true, I’d assume it wouldn’t. Colleges and universities are predominantly white. But I would have to see the data on demographics before I’d believe that claim, rape doesn’t hit me as a racial thing.

      • Where did you hear that? It’s an absurd statement. What’s a “white nationalist” anyway? It’s a straw man argument – I think you made that up –

  4. I wish we knew what the stats are for college rapes and assaults. I think this is impossible to know for a variety of factors: definition of assault, definition of consent, victims not reporting assaults/rapes, victims over-reporting assaults/rapes, inability to prove assault/rape unless there is pretty damning physical evidence, etc. Oh, and let’s assume that many of these incidents involve intoxication, which makes figuring out the truth extra-fun.

    I do not condone making up stats about rape (or any matter to prove a point) nor do I condone the “well, let’s make lemonade out of lemons” approach that many in the media are taking on this story. That being said, I know that campus assault is a problem and most women who have gone to college know this is a problem. I don’t know how big of a problem it is and it is a waste of time arguing about it. I think education (of boys and girls) is the answer on how to be decent human beings, being smart, taking care of yourself, etc. is the best possible answer.

    • It is a problem, and I assume it has been one for some time.Apparently the only way to attract policy-maker attention over the other issues exploiting fake data and fearmongering is to grab headlines with even scarier stats and the claim of scourges. If everyone plays this game, activists, pols, journalists and more, what chance does truth and perspective have?

    • The thing is that you can at least compare apples to apples, and when you compare apples to apples, we find that the rate of sexual assault and rape is actually lower in post secondary institutions than in large urban centers.

      This myth of campus rape culture, I think, is contrived to hit all the buttons that rile people up, relatively young women, attempting to get an education, against the backdrop of a war on women, the Victim (capitalization on purpose) of Rape (ditto).

      • I’m not sure you can ever compare apples to apples, because the apples are always rotten because we’re dealing with rotten data.

        • I disagree. Of course we can compare apples to apples. We ask different people the same questions and compare the data. And no we aren’t dealing with rotten data, we’re dealing with bad methodology and formation bias. Raw data is raw data. Your inability to understand how that data has been presented and the methodology behind it is all yours.

            • Pure sophistry. “We can’t possibly know everything, so we don’t know anything.” That’s either intellectual laziness or meaningful ignorance. Data is always incomplete, we never know everything about anything. But that doesn’t mean we sit in a corner sucking our collective thumbs. The data is the data. So long as we understand how it was collected, and what is missing from it, it is useful. And if two sets of numbers are similarly incomplete, comparisons work.

              • “But that doesn’t mean we sit in a corner sucking our collective thumbs.”

                It also doesn’t mean that anyone should draw conclusions and believe that we are in the right one way or the other. That’s both laughable and idiotic.

                I don’t think the way to solve this problem is with legislation — as I have said repeatedly on this and other threads.

                • This is such a stupid argument on your part. “If we don’t know everything about something, we can’t have conclusions based on our best information”. It’s a great way not to do anything, ever. I’m going to repeat: Pure sophistry. We can discuss why numbers might be wrong, we can discuss variances, but rejecting knowledge in it’s entirety because you don’t know everything is the path to ignorance.

                  • Indeed. That was the basis of Leon Panetta’s excuse as to why a rescue mission wasn’t mounted to Benghazi. Utter hogwash, of course. In every operation or investigation, there will always be an absence of hard data in one facet or another. In the end, one goes forth based on the best probabilities available and leaves himself flexible for future incoming data that may change the scenario.

              • And that is the basis of most research studies. As you said the data is always incomplete, primarily because of the impossibility of sampling an entire population. Thus, the concept of “sampling”, which must be done carefully to avoid biasing the sample. That is also why we have the results of most studies being referred to in “probabilities” (I.E., these results have a less-than 5% PROBABILITY of happening by chance) rather than “This study proves…whatever”. Having said that, there is no real point in performing the study if we are not going to draw conclusions from it. And, that is also why a study generally must be replicate3d before the results are taken as factual.

  5. Once again, the DC regime has shown itself callously negligent of the War on Women and cruelly oblivious to college rape culture, by failing to act. Along with free community college, one would think the DC regime would have already rolled-out the appeal for funding “No Means OUCH!” free self-defense and martial arts training for all college females, plus appropriately credible protective escort services (“Your Party Totems”), and law school graduates designated as non-drinking attendees, witnesses to activity and drivers of females and their protective escorts to/from social events, etc.

  6. I’ve talked about these issues before, but it’s always nice to see someone else notice what I’ve noticed, or at least bring it up.

    When you wrote “I think the logic is dawning on me! Since the point of the fake facts is to advance liberal candidates and policies, anyone objecting to the lies must be right wing, racist, sexist haters. Otherwise, they would understand the essential goodness of those lies.” it brought me back to a point I made a while back to Patrice in a left-right comparison. I said that Liberals see their policies as so good, so pure, so right that they just can’t fathom any dissention. Facts be damned, the ends justify the means, and if you can’t understand that, you are stupid, insane, or evil… None mutually exclusive. It would be wrong to say that never comes from conservative quarters, but I think it’s so much more common from the left, so much more… mean. Which is ironic, coming from the side of butthurt feels.

    But as to a new point, the blogger you linked and I share a pet peeve, and that is studies that cite other studies penned by the same author, or have an obvious biases. I’ve found when reading reports, especially ones that have a progressive outcome that this practise is especially common, they’ll cite something that wither they wrote, or was just fundamentally flawed, and they’ll trust the relative laziness of the reader not to actually look at the citations… Which sadly works more often than not.

  7. Beth wrote:
    “I wish we knew what the stats are for college rapes and assaults. I think this is impossible to know for a variety of factors: definition of assault, definition of consent, victims not reporting assaults/rapes, victims over-reporting assaults/rapes, inability to prove assault/rape unless there is pretty damning physical evidence, etc.”

    Well, Beth, here you go – I’ve provided a link to a Department of Justice report released about a month ago.. And the reason CBS changed its story is obvious when one looks into the report.

    Apparently, the only truth to the one-in-five number lies in the fact that the DOJ study shows that only one in five victims REPORTS an alleged rape to the police. What’s really interesting, according to the study, is that college women are actually LESS likely to be raped – or be victims of any other form of violent crime – than women of comparable age who are NOT in college.

    Further, the study shows that since 1997 – the start of the data comparison – rape of women college students has declined from just over nine per thousand to about four per thousand in 2013 (end of study) – with the trend line pointing downwards.

    Here y’go. A product of the Holder Justice Department clearly showing that the claims are bogus. I wonder why it didn’t get more attention from the MSM?

    Click to access rsavcaf9513.pdf

    • Actually the lower number doesn’t surprise me. I finished college about when the study started and there were both official and informal activities to enhance safety. My sister in law was in the workforce and didn’t have as much to call on after her husband died. Between vague and inclusive definitions and reluctance to admit anything between shame and guilt, I can’t believe too many statistics on sex. I’m at the point, I don’t care if it’s 5% or 50%, we just need to work a little better at reducing the number, whatever it is. Without punishing the innocent, is that the goal? Shouldn’t protecting innocent women and men that be the goal?

  8. I don’t see this as surprising in the least. They are that far off the boat.

    When you see a random citizen passing out copies of the Constitution for public education, how do you think they affiliate?

    I’d put money, most people would assume the Constitution distributor is a conservative or some “tea party whacko”.

    This should be concerning.

  9. Jack one of the side issues I have found interesting is the often proclaimed fact that the majority of rapes go unreported, now I have no reason to doubt this but question overall rape statistics further given the extraordinary efforts to develop and promote victim support and reporting services. As the DOJ report identifies, rape of women is declining year to year, but how much? Logically I think it has to be a greater decline than identified, otherwise all these reporting and support mechanisms must be a complete waste of resources. If reporting rape is now more acceptable, less stigmatized, then a higher percentage should be reported, higher report rate+lower total rapes reported=larger gain in reducing rape. Statistics should be used to evaluate program effectiveness and setting goals, if the statistics are wrong how can we effectively combat the crime? The overall perception I still think is most prevalent in society as it pertains to rape is that it is increasingly common and everything we are doing is ineffective when the opposite is true. I truly believe that anti rape advocacy has become its own grievance industry and is as despicable as the anti racism advocacy of the type championed by the likes of AL Sharpton. Those in the grievance industry have a vested interest in insuring that society remains emotionally involved with their cause, for them the ends justify the means.

  10. These so-called liberal antics are so exactly the conservative stereotype of liberals that it’s nearly certain that a false-flag operation is involved. For example, look at the essay “Reverse Oppression Can’t Exist” by Melissa A. Fabello. It’s straight out of the conservative playbook for imagining what liberals say.

    When someone does something monstrously unjust, people are angry. That’s human nature. We all have a sense of right and wrong, and claiming the atrocity is no big deal because it’s statistically infrequent just doesn’t cut it. We wake up to an injustice because of the one time it hits close to home, not because of how many times it’s happened before.

    The problem with anti-rape advocacy is that it isn’t actually happening. Everybody is using the template of anti-violence because it’s easy. Rape is primarily a physically disrespectful mode of sex, and both liberals and conservatives are too squeamish to discuss seriously what good sex means and how it’s done.

    • 1. The President using bad stats is a false flag operation? What in God’s name are you talking about?
      2. “Disrespectful sex” isn’t rape. Never has been, and will not be, and saying it doesn’t make it so Yes, it’s wrong, but calling it rape just degrades rape.

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