Last September, President Obama told the Toledo Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he was a “big newspaper junkie” and that he would consider any Congressional bill that would aid the ailing industry. But magazines, the industry’s glossier, more time-delayed kin, got no such love — at least, not then. And after an article in Rolling Stone managed to destroy Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, magazines may never hope to receive governmental love.
According to an article in the Washington Post, officials in the McChrystal camp have accused Michael Hastings, the reporter behind the Rolling Stone article, of publishing off-the-record conversations. Though McChrystal supporters, many of whom refused to speak on the record (admittedly, pretty understandable now), are claiming that the Rolling Stone reporter did not abide by the “ground rules” set forth by the McChrystal contingency, no one has denied actually making any of the off-color remarks. Including McChrsytal. It was only at the end of the week that sources began complaining — not about the (disparaging) content, but about the (drunken) context. And as the magazine’s executive editor Eric Bates told the Post: “None of those objections were raised during the critical few days in which this became a national issue.”
Regardless of whether journalism ethics were violated, Rolling Stone reinvigorated political reporting by exposing the U.S. military and forcing McChrystal to resign in disgrace. (For “Lady Gaga Tells All,” see page 37).