During an appearance on ABC’s This Week, National Review writer Rich Lowry tried to assert that “attempted forced kissing” by men on young women didn’t count as sexual assault. The conservative commentator made the claim during a conversation on Rolling Stone’s controversial gang rape story involving the University of Virginia. Lowry was a member of the show’s roundtable and, after taking a shot at at the publication for running the story, then refuted statistics that fellow panelist Van Jones brought up regarding sexual assault on women in college.
In reference to Rolling Stone no longer standing by the story, Lowry petulantly stated that the magazine should stop covering music and become the “alumni magazine of the University of Virginia.”
Below is from the show’s transcript:
LOWRY: Well, when something is so explosive, you have to be certain it’s right. And “Rolling Stone” didn’t do basic fact checking here, I believe because they had an agenda to portray UVA as this bastion of white male privilege where, basically, rapists rule the social life. And the damage will never be undone.
And I think if there’s any justice in the world, “Rolling Stone” would have to give up covering music and become the alumni magazine of the University of Virginia.
George Stephanopolous, the show’s host and moderator, asked other panelists their thoughts on the subject. For the most part, the other roundtable guests felt that now that the story is being questioned, women once again may not be as willing to come forward about their assaults. As Matthew Dowd pointed out, there has never been a woman who got rich or famous for falsely accusing someone of rape or sexual assault.
Jones then brought up the statistic that one in five women are sexually assaulted when attending college. Those numbers come from two studies that were done in 2007 and 2009. Lowry immediately complained that the stats Jones was citing were bogus. Lowry’s reasoning? The studies counted actions such as forced kissing as sexual assault. As soon as Lowry made that claim, the rest of the panel ganged up on him, telling him that actions such as that absolutely constitute sexual assault. Panelist Loretta Sanchez pointedly told Lowry that is definitely sexual assault while Jones asked Lowry if he could come over and force a kiss on him.
Below is video of the exchange, courtesy of Media Matters:
It was good to see that the panelists didn’t let Lowry get away with pushing a falsehood like that without pushback. It was even more refreshing as the panelists represented a diverse group, with different backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and political ideologies. The funny thing is Lowry whined about Rolling Stone’s agenda when it came to the UVA story. However, he showed his true colors and his agenda pushing when he tried to make it appear that college-aged women aren’t facing threats on campus.