This is not surprising, in fact, it was all too predictable. Growing up in the post-punk and pre-internet 1980’s, if you wanted to learn more about your favorite bands, you had few options. You could watch MTV, which actually played music videos, or you could read magazines like Rolling Stone.
At some point over the last two decades, Rolling Stone decided to focus more on politics and in the process, fully embraced the progressive platform.
Yes, I’m old enough to remember when MTV was a watchable cable channel showing rock videos, and Rolling Stone was an entertaining show business magazine featuring record reviews (remember records?), interviews with rock stars and Hollywood actors and directors, additionally, as a Kevin D. Williamson writes, in a piece titled “Jann Wenner — Man of the Past,” “About 90 percent of what’s in Rolling Stone would be at home in US Weekly, if it were a little more plain. But, oh, that other 10 percent:”
Wenner sent Hunter S. Thompson tear-assing around the world to invent a new kind of journalism and published important pieces of more traditional investigative journalism. He also helped to launch the careers of two of the most important conservative voices of their generation: P. J. O’Rourke and Tom Wolfe, whose fiction masterpiece, Bonfire of the Vanities, might very well have never come to completion without Wenner’s encouragement and his agreement to serialize it. More recently, Matt Taibbi gave the magazine a real claim to continued relevance with his reporting on the financial crisis and various shenanigans associated with it. Between the whatever-happened-to-Hanson features, Rolling Stone has published some astonishingly good writing about important things.
There were of course catastrophic misjudgments, too: Rolling Stone infamously put one of the terrorists behind the Boston Marathon bombings on the cover in a glamour-boy pose to advertise a not-especially-insightful piece of prose. It also published a laughably, shockingly shoddy piece of journalism alleging to detail the case of a rape at the University of Virginia, a piece of non-journalism that turned out to be something much closer to pure fiction, one for which the magazine has already lost one defamation suit and has been obliged to settle with another party for more than $1 million. The damage to Rolling Stone’s bottom line could have been worse; the damage to its reputation could hardly have.
Rank those transgressions as you will.
In a way, MTV foreshadowed Rolling Stone’s hyper-politicization by going all-in on their lefty “Rock the Vote” campaign to aid Bill Clinton’s election odds in 1992. Ace of Spades has a had a couple of recent posts linking to a video that discusses how the increasingly SJW-obsessed comic book world has embraced the concept of “No-Escapism,” particularly when combined with the politicized overculture of the NFL, TV, and movies. It’s good to see that there’s a price to be paid by going to war with your audience – who are pushing back with what Noah Rothman of Commentary dubs America’s “Great Tune-Out.”
As a legendary community organizer advised his constituents, get in their faces and punch back twice as hard.