Debunking The Hunting Ground

Let’s be clear. The Hunting Ground is propaganda, or as Ashe Schow writes, it is a propaganda film based on false statistics and inaccurate accounts of accusers. Here is a summary of THG in two sentences. One, that campus rape is “a highly calculated, premeditated crime,” committed by serial predators. And two, that schools typically do nothing when informed of a sex assault by repeat male student offenders.  Many respected journalists debunk The Hunting Ground’s accuracy, let’s begin.

1. THG crew is caught editing Wikipedia in violation of the website’s conflict-of-interest guidelines. The crew edited Jameis Winston’s Wikipage who was cleared by three separate investigations but that fact got in the way of THG propaganda. 

2.Variety’s Ella Taylor trashes “The Hunting Ground” as “shoddy journalism” and “a loaded piece of agitprop that plays fast and loose with statistics and our sympathy with victims of campus sexual assault.” Ella called THG one of the CRAPPIEST films of 2015.

3. A smoking gun email-exposed the bias of THG. An email, sent to Kinsman’s then-lawyer, included this assurance from THG producers,  “We don’t operate the same way as journalists — this is a film project very much in the corner of advocacy for victims, so there would be no insensitive questions or the need to get the perpetrator’s side” This e-mail is directly contrary to claims by both the Producer and CNN — which calls itself “the most trusted name in news” — that this is an accurate, balanced documentary, fair to both sides of every story is an insult.

4. THG promotes advocacy not accuracy and because the stakes are so high, it is crucial, in telling stories of sexual assault, not to be blinded by advocacy, but to fairly examine the assertions of both sides. THG is a story that demonstrates how deeply the filmmakers’ politics colored their presentation of the facts—and how deeply flawed their influential film is as a result.

5. Harvard professors write a letter denouncing THG as propaganda. “We believe that Brandon Winston was subjected to a long, harmful ordeal for no good reason. Justice has been served in the end, but at enormous costs to this young man,” the professors wrote. “We denounce this film as prolonging his ordeal with its unfair and misleading portrayal of the facts of his case. Mr. Winston was finally vindicated by the Law School and by the judicial proceedings, and allowed to continue his career at the Law School and beyond. Propaganda should not be allowed to erase this just outcome.”

6.Defenders of Innocent Brandon Winston fight back with facts and documents. At the Brandon Project Facts Matter website, you can learn the truth. Read what viewers of THG should know.

7. Most important, THG relies upon David Lisak’s study to promote a campus serial predator theory.  But it’s a funny thing, there is no direct connection to campus sexual assault in Lisak’s report. David Lisak is a fraud. 

The Hunting Ground has seven deadly sins. Not from my mouth mind you, but from respected journalists who have the moral courage and intellect to review facts, seek out evidence and observe two sides to a story, two sides of a coin.

Courage is contagious, Alice True.

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