In a new columnn at the Daily Beast, Christina Hoff Sommers explains how the media plays a role in campus rape culture.

The Media Is Making College Rape Culture Worse

In 2010, a small team of investigative journalists published a report revealing, so they claimed, an epidemic of college rape. The report was a jumble of highly selective reporting and dubious statistics, as we shall see. But the reporters spread the news far and wide and no one thought to question their accuracy.

Federal officials were electrified by the findings and launched a draconian crusade. The term “rape culture,” previously limited to gender-theory seminars, slowly found its way into the national lexicon.

Before long, otherwise sensible people came to believe that Yale, Swarthmore, and the University of Michigan were among the most dangerous places on earth for young women. Dozens of falsely accused young men were subjected to kangaroo court proceedings and expelled from college. By 2014, the panic produced outbursts of fanaticism—a young woman carried a mattress around Columbia in an attempt to expel a classmate who was found not responsible for sexually assaulting her.

Students demanded trigger warnings in classes at Harvard Law School. An angry mob vandalized the house of a falsely accused University of Virginia fraternity.

And it all began in 2010. That year, reporters at National Public Radio teamed up with the left-leaning journalism organization Center for Public Integrity (CPI) to produce and promote a 104-page “investigative reporting series” (PDF) entitled “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Frustrating Search for Justice.” (Full disclosure: The Daily Beast is an occasional publishing partner of CPI’s.)

The executive director of CPI, Bill Buzenberg, summed up the plight of millions of young women on campus in a single word: “Nightmare.” According to the report, serial predators are roaming free on college campuses. The occasional victim who finds the courage to report her attack is unlikely to secure justice. More often than not, she will be “re-victimized” by invasive, humiliating, and futile proceedings.