President Obama is praising Rolling Stone for doing “great work” even though the magazine was recently ordered to pay $3 million for its role in the biggest act of journalistic malpractice committed so far this century.
Obama offered the glowing assessment in an exit interview with Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner.
“Good journalism continues to this day. There’s great work done in Rolling Stone,” Obama told Wenner after being asked about the status of the news business.
It is unclear from the interview if Obama was aware of the high-profile case of Rolling Stone’s Nov. 2014 article, “A Rape on Campus.”
In the piece, Sabrina Rubin Erdely reported claims from Jackie Coakley, a UVA student who said that she was gang-raped by a group of fraternity members at a house party in 2012. Erdely was heavily critical of Eramo in the piece.
Evidence emerged weeks after the article was published that showed that Coakley lied about the incident and that Erdely failed to conduct basic due diligence in checking out the hoaxer’s claims.
Erdely did not attempt to contact any of the alleged assailants or three of Coakley’s friends who she claimed met her after her alleged rape.
Earlier this month, a jury in Virginia ordered Rolling Stone and Erdely to pay Eramo $3 million over the lie-filled article.
Rather than address Rolling Stone’s massive failure, Obama assailed another news outlet in his interview with Wenner.
He complained that Democrats have failed to win white working class voters because, in part, “Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country.”
“The challenge is people are getting a hundred different visions of the world from a hundred different outlets or a thousand different outlets, and that is ramping up divisions,” Obama lamented in the interview.
“It’s making people exaggerate or say what’s most controversial or peddling in the most vicious of insults or lies, because that attracts eyeballs. And if we are gonna solve that, it’s not going to be simply an issue of subsidizing or propping up traditional media; it’s going to be figuring out how do we organize in a virtual world the same way we organize in the physical world. We have to come up with new models.”
For his part, Wenner has defended his magazine throughout the lawsuit over the false gang rape article.
In a deposition recorded as part of the lawsuit, he claimed that he “suffered as much as” Eramo. He also said that he disagreed with former managing editor Will Dana’s decision to retract the article in full.
“We are deeply committed to factual accuracy,” he said in the deposition. “We did everything reasonable, appropriate, up to the highest standards.”