Rolling Stone magazine was birthed in 1967, named after an amalgam of bitter, dissident artistry from the likes of Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, and, of course, The Rolling Stones.
Literally bursting from the emotional and intellectual heart of Haight-Ashbury, the magazine carved its way into the American consciousness with an inside track to the new, revolutionary music scene and began hefting cultural influence with scathing political commentary from Hunter S. Thompson.
It quickly became the iconoclastic temple of a generation at once “dropping out” yet determined to rebuild something better. I remember days when the latest edition and a cigar box full of Mexican weed were coffee table essentials.
As the hippie generation heaved its last breaths and gave way to gaudy clothing, horrible music, and a more superficial ethos, RS wandered into a transparently commercialized focus on pop television and other things “of interest” to young people.
Eventually, more intensely political material returned to its pages, but the acerbic cutting edge was gone, replaced by a mindless rubber stamp for mainstream establishment politics as defined by the American left.
That is not an indictment of the left, but just another epitaph that looms over the grave of objective journalism. The point here is that Rolling Stone sold its soul a long time before it started peddling fraudulent gang-rape clickbait and shielding the hacks who wrote it.
I won’t bother with detailing all the events in this, the latest confirmation of the mistrust of the mainstream media. The story itself has already tested its bandwidth worthiness on a thousand venues. A simple Google query should keep you busy for a month or so.
Besides, there is a larger and more important truth here that takes precedence over Rolling Stone sinking its credibility with the rest of the mainstream.
The fires of the Scottsboro Boys still burn brightly, like torches in a mob, and have been blazing across the pages of modern rape journalism, which was destined to include RS. Names like Duke lacrosse, Hofstra, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and now Bill Cosby have been mere brushstrokes on an ever-expanding canvas of journalistic turpitude.
Frequently, their angle is no less racist than the Hollaback! video. And, unsurprisingly, they have begun to feed on their own.
Paul Farhi dared to do a postmortem on the Rolling Stone debacle. It is published now in The Washington Post. That’s the same WashPo in which Monica Hesse was allowed to do a disingenuous, jaundiced, and sneering hit piece on the International Conference on Men’s Issues without raising a single editor’s eyebrow.
Rape journalism has not risen from the slime pits of Daily Kos and Jezebel to infect the mainstream. The mainstream has simply slithered in and taken up residence next to them at the bottom.
Short term, that means a lot more rape journalism, a lot more blurring between the truth and fantasy, and a lot less work for editors as verification and research become expensive hindrances to selling stories.
Long term, however, this is an essential evil. Even as the mainstream media busies itself ignoring the smell of toast, cornering itself as a purveyor of a social narrative that is increasingly rejected by its readers, we are witnessing the emergence of the inevitable reaction.
Anti-rape hysteria, rape culture debunking, anti-feminism, and, God forbid, men’s rights proponents are on the rise.
Just a year ago, Canada’s National Post and the rare article in The Wall Street Journal were among the few places that gave respite to the quite literally insane rape journalist narrative. Things have changed considerably.
The Blaze, Breitbart, Thought Catalog, and other high-profile websites are fresh and astute enough to smell the blood in the water (that AVfM so generously helped provide). They are also savvy enough about reader appetites to go for it. They also go way past the myopic, Rush Limbaugh–version of anti-feminism, which is furthered by stupid men on white horses. That is not to endorse everything they post, but just to acknowledge that they stand as proof that the new market is emerging.
This has left some rape journalism outlets a bit discombobulated. For example, Huffington Post was so excited by Dean Esmay’s writing that they instantly invited him to have his own blog. When feminists noticed this, it apparently sent them scurrying for the crash cart. His article was quickly removed (like it was a tumor), and he was abruptly instructed that future submissions from him were unwelcome. While they were at it, they erased the existence of egalitarian contributor Chris Good, who was critical of feminism. It is pretty much a certainty that they scrubbed HuffPo completely for any other signs of ideological impurity.
And that is the good news. As mainstream entities like Rolling Stone and HuffPo keep digging holes too fast to notice they are in them, brasher, more honest voices are finding their way into the hearts and minds of the general public.
Crashing the rape journalism party is gaining popularity, even among rape journalists. Who knows, maybe someday publishing the truth will turn a profit.
Until then, if I were anyone in the mainstream, I would not be throwing stones.