“Turns out that Rolling Stone, the magazine that gave five stars to the most recent U2 album, may not be the most reliable source,” Stewart said in introducing the story. The hook for the segment was this Sunday’s report by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which documented the many breakdowns at Rolling Stone in vetting the claims of Jackie, a freshman at the University of Virginia in 2012 who alleged a horrific gang rape at a campus fraternity. Stewart took a clip of Columbia j-school Dean Steve Coll: “It was the collective fault of the reporter, the editor, the editor’s supervisor and the fact-checking department.” To which Stewart added: “The schools they attended, their parents and religious leaders and, oddly enough, Yoko Ono.”
But Rolling Stone isn’t firing anyone over the failures. “I’ll fire ’em. I’ll make a citizens’ firing,” said the host.
Echoing what a legion of media critics and non-media critics have been saying for some time, Stewart railed, “This isn’t a gaffe or a brain fart or an oopsy-daisy … Campus rape happens with shocking frequency … Victims need help and support yet somehow in a sea of verifiable assaults you’ve managed to ‘Where’s Waldo’ the only rape story that not only would fail to get your point across but set the cause back. Someone’s got to go.”