The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has issued a 12,866 word report that literally shreds Rolling Stone magazine, convicting the publication and its employees of gross negligence and ethical malfeasance in the publishing of a story that falsely accused the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity members at the University of Virginia of gang-raping a freshman coed. Yet, no one at the magazine will lose their job, not the editors or the reporter. Evidently it’s a good time to be a Progressive media hack in the United States.
The Washington Times reports:
“In a stinging report released Sunday evening, an independent review by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism said the magazine was reckless in vetting its sources, including the purported victim, identified only as ‘Jackie,’ and neglected ‘basic, even routine journalistic practice.’
“Rolling Stone Managing Editor, Will Dana,…said the publication was ‘committing ourselves to a series of recommendations about journalistic practices that are spelled out in the report’…However, he spelled out no consequences for any staff members involved.”
Well, isn’t that special. They’ll try to do better. And we’re supposed to believe that in the smear-merchant industry that is today’s magazine media Rolling Stone is suddenly going to transform from a publication whose genesis was high times and Hunter S. Thompson into a 2015 interpretation of the 1950s Wall Street Journal. Don’t hold your breath.
Liberal offerings like Rolling Stone are great for entertainment reading, but they aren’t serious news magazines; they aren’t balanced in their reporting or the injected opinion pieces, and they do not prompt any critical thinking for their readers. They publish narratives most often based in pure ideology and let the facts fall where they may. This is not news reporting or traditional journalism in any fashion of the imagination.
Today’s magazine journalism – and increasingly newspaper and television journalism – is activist journalism; journalism meant to persuade the consumer to a specific point of view or ideological affection, often not providing the total of the story and/or cherry-picking sources to craft a narrative sympathetic to achieving the ideological goals held by the author and the publication. Such is the case with Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Rolling Stone magazine.
Isn’t it time that we – as a people; as a society – recognize that we should not be gleaning our news information from entertainment publications and programs? Rolling Stone was originally a magazine glorifying the 60s drug culture. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report were both comedy shows. Late night talk show monologues are jokes crafted on current events meant to be entertaining and witty, not journalistic missives crafted to educate the public on the facts surrounding news events. One has to question when the transition was made that allowed comedians and the drug culture the arbiters of truth.
In Rolling Stone’s refusal to fire all involved in this public deception – this ideological manipulation of the people, they have relegated themselves to the lowest rung of the tabloid sphere. In fact, the warped cynicism of Mad Magazine now has more ethos than Rolling Stone. And the need for serious news outlets remains…and that’s no laughing matter.