Salon writer Jack Mirkinson attacked Rolling Stone magazine today for Sean Penn's "self-indulgent," journalistically suspect interview of drug kingpin El Chapo, an interview that Mirkinson called "a repellent ode."
Mirkinson writes that [y]ou could practically feel Rolling Stone’s gloating emanating from the screen" over its exclusive scoop of actor Sean Penn's interview with notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, posted last weekend. "Unfortunately for Rolling Stone," Mirkinson added, "virtually everything about the story it published reeks," beginning with Penn's overwrought, semi-comprehensible, meandering writing style. “Self-indulgent,” the Salon writer says, "does not begin to describe what is going on. He introduces his own penis as a character four paragraphs before we even meet El Chapo."
As for journalistic ethics, Mirkinson notes that Rolling Stone - the magazine Jonah Goldberg calls the house organ of the Democratic National Committee"; the magazine that destroyed any shred of credibility it ever had with its publication of the discredited University of Virginia rape story in late 2014; the magazine that glorified the Boston bomber terrorist as a hunky young cover model - began the El Chapo interview by stating that the piece garnered the murderous drug lord's approval before publication.
Not that there was anything to disapprove of, Mirkinson points out:
That’s because Penn, for all of his hard-bitten posturing, clearly buys into the romantic outlaw image of El Chapo. “El Chapo is a businessman first, and only resorts to violence when he deems it advantageous to himself or his business interests,” he writes reassuringly, adding that the drug lord is “a simple man from a simple place.”
Mirkinson concludes that
the thought of getting such a scoop far outweighed the hit to the magazine’s already-battered credibility. It’s hard to decide which is worse, though: letting El Chapo hold your journalism hostage, or putting so much of Sean Penn’s writing out into the world. Rolling Stone should be pretty embarrassed about both.