Good for Rolling Stone -- though a New York Times story suggests that Jann Wenner still doesn't really get it:
In an interview discussing Columbia’s findings, Jann S. Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone, acknowledged the piece’s flaws but said that it represented an isolated and unusual episode and that Ms. Erdely would continue to write for the magazine. The problems with the article started with its source, Mr. Wenner said. He described her as “a really expert fabulist storyteller” who managed to manipulate the magazine’s journalism process. When asked to clarify, he said that he was not trying to blame Jackie, “but obviously there is something here that is untruthful, and something sits at her doorstep.”Really? Wenner's not trying to blame "Jackie," the main (and practically sole) source Erdely spoke to for her story? He could have fooled me.
Does this statement remind you of anything? Does Wenner seem to be saying, "Jackie led us on, so we couldn't help ourselves"?
As the report makes clear, Erdely did a godawful job of nailing down the facts of this story, and her editors did nothing to encourage greater srupulousness. And yet:
Mr. Wenner said Will Dana, the magazine’s managing editor, and the editor of the article, Sean Woods, would keep their jobs.But give Rolling Stone this much: The failures were thoroughly investigated, and the results of that investigation are now public. This is significant. It will make a difference in future reporting, on this subject and others.
Yet Power Line's John Hinderaker thinks none of this matters, because the evil liberals in the evil liberal media will always be evil and liberal:
So don’t be surprised next time Rolling Stone, or any other liberal publication, gets a story wrong. These journalists’ biases are set in stone. We and many others have revealed them countless times, and liberal bias has led to countless errors and embarrassments. But such setbacks don’t faze the social justice warriors who went into journalism to further the left-wing narrative. They are mere temporary checks.I just want to remind Hinderaker that the report excoriating Rolling Stone for this story was prepared by an institution he and his fellow right-wingers consider part of the liberal media -- the Columbia School of Journalism. The first prominent debunking of the story appeared in The Washington Post, which Hinderaker and his fellow rightists also regard as part of the conspiratorial liberal media.
Where are the conservative media institutions that have the skill and standing to identify failures of proper journalistic practice? For that matter, where are the conservative media institutions capable of doing this kind of investigative journalism in the first place, and doing it right?
And, finally, when has a right-wing institution ever policed a conservative media outlet in this way?
The right-wing press simply doesn't tolerate self-criticism -- or any other kind of criticism. Brian Williams lies about his time in a military aircraft and the mainstream press pounces; his employer removes him from the air, and he may never return. Bill O'Reilly lies about his reporting from conflict zones -- and the right circles the wagons. There's no self-examination. There's no accountability.
Yes, heads should roll at Rolling Stone. But at least heads are hung in shame -- and it's a very public shaming. In the right-wing media, nothing like this can ever happen. The right-wing media is, quite literally, shameless.