A federal jury has awarded Nicole Eramo, the U-Va dean who was portrayed as dismissive of rape accusations in a quickly debunked Rolling Stone article, $3 million in damages.

The jury rejected the magazine's lawyer's contention that a guilty verdict was enough punishment for the magazine. Since a judge ruled that the dean is a public figure, her lawyer had to prove "actual malice."

The famous Rolling stone story purported to be about a gang rape at a U-Va frat house, but reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who appears to have set out to show that frat boys at preppy colleges like to rape innocent coeds, didn't bother to check the most elementary facts. She relied, without doing due diligence, on fabrications from "Jackie," who claimed to have been the victim of gang rape.

As Reuters sums it up:  

Rolling Stone admitted that it never sought comment from the seven men accused of the alleged rape and retracted the story in April 2015. An outside review found the magazine had failed to follow basic journalistic safeguards in an embarrassing blow to the pop culture publication, founded by Jann Wenner in 1967.

While I applaud the verdict and subsequent damages, I agree with Hot Air's Ed Morrissey that this will have limited effect on journalists–many are liberals with an agenda, but few do the kind of factless hatchet job Erdely did. Morrissey concludes:   

Most media outlets don’t run these kinds of stories, not just because of the potential liabilities but also because they’re not generally oriented to activist “journalism” of this stripe. Rolling Stone was a particularly easy mark for “Jackie” and Erdely to publish half-baked lies dressed up in the outrage du jour. When most media outlets run hit pieces, they run them with considerably better targeting, aiming them at politicians they dislike rather than obscure college students and university administrators.

Still, this is certainly going to reduce the market for activist “journalism” considerably for those media outlets who do tend to use that kind of material; their insurers will insist on it, and their readers are less likely to fall for it after this anyway.

Rolling Stone is handling Erdely's legal bills and her share of the $3 mill, but it's fair to say that even progressive media outlets eager to showcase the worst of patriarchal outrages aren't going to be throwing any assignments her way from now on. This verdict may bode further ill for Rolling Stone Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity accused of gang rape, is also suing.