Has American journalism degraded so far that a magazine with a circulation of over 1 million would allow one of its columnists, in an article about a Republican nominee for president, to refer to a popular albeit controversial author as a "skanky bitch-whore?"
Such was the case in the most recent issue of "Rolling Stone" wherein Matt Taibbi, in a tremendously defamatory piece about John McCain, also took the opportunity to vulgarly attack Ann Coulter whilst regularly besmirching conservative talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
For those with a strong stomach and/or a masochistic strain, the hits in this rancid pile of detritus came early and often (emphasis added throughout, h/t NBer Rusty Arnold, vulgarity alert!):
Terminally tasteless Rolling Stone political reporter Matt Taibbi has a new piece in the February 7 edition proclaiming Hillary Clinton is "The New Nixon." The article comes complete with a cartoon of Hillary with Nixon's ski-lift nose. (Earth to Rolling Stone: the Weekly Standard beat you to this punch by at least a decade.) Taibbi is so far left that both Hillary and Barack Obama are on the right. The pull quote reads "It's Kennedy-Nixon redux -- two superficial conservatives selling highly similar politics."
The longer quote in the text is this: "In Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, we've basically got Kennedy-Nixon redux, and I mean that in the most negative possible sense for both of them -- a pair of superficial, posturing conservatives selling highly similar political packages using different emotional strategies." I quote this not because Taibbi is worth reading, but because his political radar is so mangled.
In his interview in the 40th anniversary of Rolling Stone, rock star Bono sounded more moderate on terrorism, but sadly, he turned to how Bill Clinton was a genius in talking with the IRA (his role in Irish peace was hailed by the media during his presidency) and how we need to talk with terrorists:
There is an imminent threat. It manifested itself on 9-11. It’s real and grave. It’s as serious a threat as Stalinism and National Socialism were. Let’s not pretend it isn’t. I think people as reasoned as Tony Blair looked at the world and didn’t want to be Neville Chamberlain, who came back from meeting with Hitler with a piece of paper saying "peace in our time," while Hitler was planning to cross the channel from France.
The November 15 edition of Rolling Stone, the talky 40th anniversary issue, is stuffed with interviews. The hippie magazine's estranged relationship with God is quite obvious. We mentioned Bill Maher recently, but there was more atheistic talk included. Take rock star Dave Matthews, who found the notion of an all-powerful, loving God "more irritating than Santa Claus." He'd like the idea, but it's "absurd. It's just our attempt to be more important than a tree."
Matthews was discussing the fate of the planet. He said social issues like so-called gay marriage are "tiny" next to our environmental survival. He warned of the possibility of "massive die-offs of people – which has been predicted," but then turned to the idea that maybe the existence of man doesn't amount to a hill of beans in the cosmos:
The 40th anniversary issue of Rolling Stone interviewed several top actors on their political views. Meryl Streep and George Clooney each disparaged conservatives in different ways. Streep compared the Bush administration to the Nazis, and Clooney compared conservatives to the Salem witch burners. In line with Streep's current role in the flop Lions for Lambs, Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers asked about playing the part of "the hated, compromised media," and she replied:
The dilemma of the journalist is everybody’s dilemma. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights protected the Fourth Estate so vehemently because we rely on these voices. And if we don’t have them, then God bless Sean Penn for speaking up. God bless the people who put themselves on the line to be fodder for Fox News and Rush Limbaugh’s next raise. We all have to be citizens first, and then whatever our job is.
The Nazi comparison came when Travers asked: How to do things change for the better?
For Rolling Stone’s 40th anniversary magazine, one of the celebrities interviewed was the atheist, leftist HBO comedian/pundit Bill Maher. Even as Maher has long professed his support for Bill Clinton's sexual freedom (remember this gig as Clinton's talking little Willy?), he still says of Hillary, "F— them and their Clinton baggage...when the Democrats want a sure winner, John Edwards looks like it." Whoever wins for the Democrats, Maher hopes they’re good at lying to the voters:
ROLLING STONE: What’s your best case scenario for the future?
MAHER: First of all, some Democrat better win it in 2008. Then that person should go for broke and say to the people, "Now I have to tell you the truth. I couldn’t do it when I was running, because you are a bunch of babies who can’t take the truth, and you know damn well you wouldn’t have voted for me if I said that. But we’re going to take these painful measures."
The sad part of it is, the money is there to do almost anything we want. It’s not as if you’d have to raise taxes so much. If you took the money being wasted on Iraq, corporate welfare and the drug war, you would have trillions of dollars to work with. That’s the core of it. Whoever is the next president has to get at this corporate state we’ve found ourselves living in.
In the November 15 Rolling Stone, the hippie mag interviews a pile of politicians, media stars, and rockers to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, was interviewed by Jeff Sharlet of The Revealer. In a strange interview he unloaded the usual criticism on Ann Coulter, but praised old American socialists Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas. Coulter came up as Stewart tried to say that no one mocking the government today is a "Soviet dissident," that our discourse is free enough that "It's very difficult to shock anybody any more. I'm not even sure what the subversive edge is." This exchange followed:
ROLLING STONE: Ann Coulter suffered repercussions from calling John Edwards a faggot.
JON STEWART: As a businessperson, she has made a choice: "Even if I narrow my audience to true believers, there’s enough money there. I have to keep pushing until it’s just me and one other crazy person with a lot of money." Maybe she’ll be hired by a crazy billionaire, just her and him, and he’ll go, "Say something about lesbians! Heh-heh! 9/11 widows! Gimme another!"
The press loves to headline celebrities who speak out against President Bush, the war against Islamic fundamentalism and anything else that falls in with the media's favorite storylines. How will they report it when a celebrity does not hew to the accepted partyline? Bono, frontman of the music group U2, is about to find out. Bono is one of the few celebrities for whom I confess to some admiration. His efforts for Africa, unlike many other celebrities, appear to be honest and he has shown himself to be unconcerned with who helps him, as shown by his workings together with President Bush- a state of affairs that would be anathema to most of his fellow celebrities. Now comes evidence that Bono also understands the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists such as al-Qaeda, and his courage to call evil by it's name. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Bono said of the Islamic fundamentalists:
Want to know the fate of humanity? Why pick up a copy of Rolling Stone, of course. There you'll find the latest eco-extremist prediction designed to scare the world into global warming action. Gaia theory creator James Lovelock is in the latest issue predicting mankind will almost be wiped out by 2100 from global warming.
Lovelock told Rolling Stone that predictions of the earth's warming will be "nearly double the likeliest predictions of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." Rolling Stone summed it up by saying "The human race is doomed," in a story posted on its site October 17. Only as few as 500 million will survive "with most of the survivors living in the far latitudes - Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Arctic Basin."
What happens a guy with verifiable liberal credentials (contributing editor at Rolling Stone and a contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic and Air America) just happens to have written a book highly critical of the coal industry – “Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future”?
But if you’re a viewer, you might not know Jeff Goodell is predisposed for a variety of reasons against the coal industry. Goodell is opposed to coal as an energy source because he believes it contributes to global warming, is not convinced technological advances will make it more environmentally friendly, thinks it is unsafe to mine and has doubts about its sustainability as a resource.