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Rolling Stone Magazine’s Demise Was Self-Inflicted

Rolling Stone Magazine’s Demise Was Self-Inflicted

When it’s no longer about music, what’s the point?

Rolling Stone magazine has a cash flow problem which is so significant that the once iconic publication is being put up for sale.

Sydney Ember reports at the New York Times:

Rolling Stone, Once a Counterculture Bible, Will Be Put Up for Sale

From a loft in San Francisco in 1967, a 21-year-old named Jann S. Wenner started a magazine that would become the counterculture bible for baby boomers. Rolling Stone defined cool, cultivated literary icons and produced star-making covers that were such coveted real estate they inspired a song.

But the headwinds buffeting the publishing industry, and some costly strategic missteps, have steadily taken a financial toll on Rolling Stone, and a botched story three years ago about an unproven gang rape at the University of Virginia badly bruised the magazine’s journalistic reputation.

And so, after a half-century reign that propelled him into the realm of the rock stars and celebrities who graced his covers, Mr. Wenner is putting his company’s controlling stake in Rolling Stone up for sale, relinquishing his hold on a publication he has led since its founding.

Mr. Wenner had long tried to remain an independent publisher in a business favoring size and breadth. But he acknowledged in an interview last week that the magazine he had nurtured would face a difficult, uncertain future on its own.

“I love my job, I enjoy it, I’ve enjoyed it for a long time,” said Mr. Wenner, 71. But letting go, he added, was “just the smart thing to do.”

This is not surprising, in fact, it was all too predictable. Growing up in the post-punk and pre-internet 1980’s, if you wanted to learn more about your favorite bands, you had few options. You could watch MTV, which actually played music videos, or you could read magazines like Rolling Stone.

At some point over the last two decades, Rolling Stone decided to focus more on politics and in the process, fully embraced the progressive platform.

The magazine’s decision to put Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on their cover in 2013 should go down in history as one of the dumbest and most tasteless choices in print media.

Their second big recent mistake was the 2015 publication of a completely false account of a gang rape at the University of Virginia titled: A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and the Struggle for Justice at UVA. Not only was the story untrue, it was an obvious attempt to advance the far left narrative of “rape culture” on college campuses.

Somewhere along the way, Rolling Stone abandoned its original mission. They’re now reaping the rewards of that decision.

Featured image via YouTube.


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Has America finally had enough of cultural Marxism? I hope so.

Wenner abandoned his Modern Liberal-Progressive mission in order to accelerate the cultural Marxist agenda. I can’t say that he played a role in the Neoconservative takeover of the soon-to-be-dead Republican Party, but he did help bring about Obamunism, which I hope proves to be where America finally hit bottom.

    casualobserver in reply to CZ75Compact. | September 19, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Wow. That’s a lot of “isms” for one person. Maybe he gets credit for getting involved in so many…..

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to casualobserver. | September 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Consumer Reports needs to join the Rolling Stone in ceasing to exist.

      Consumer Reports endored in 2008 for the first time ever in their history. Guess who the endorsed? Obama!

I bid 50 centavos, CASH!

I used to read Rolling Stone back when their album reviews helped me to find ‘unknowns’ that really made good music. Eventually, their pivot from music to politics caused me (and many others) to go elsewhere.

    Especially in a former age when you had to buy whole albums on aliited budget for music you might want some advie about who was the new sound you might like. That was a market niche and actually one where you could make a profit. I know they used to sell Rolling Stone in music stores and probably people bought it for that. Deciding to compete in the left wing news business was a bad idea.

I thought we’d at least have to wait for the Boomers to die before their institutions started falling. I guess they were weaker than we thought.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Matt_SE. | September 19, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Lots of them belonged to Nixon’s Silent Majority.

    Probably the majority of Boomers belonged to Nixon’s Silent Majority.

    Not that the Communist-Democrat Party Leftists will ever admit that however.

The problem with Rolling Stone is how do you get counter-culture left in and after the Obama era? There was no room but crazy left which might have been OK but you have everyone from CNN to the NYT competing for that same audience that is only going to consume so much. It is like if a bunch a grocery stores converted to pet food stores at some point there aren’t enough pets and some have to close.

    pwaldoch in reply to Conan. | September 19, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Heck in today/s world, the counter culture is the good old standard American nuclear family and its values.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to pwaldoch. | September 19, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      You said it.

      Obama, Wenner, and all the loony Democrats politicians are “ESTABLISHMENT MEN.”

      They just always omit which Establish – which is the COMMUNIST ESTABLISHMENT!

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Conan. | September 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I don’t think Rolling Stone has been “counter” since 1972 and McGovern.

    They’ve been Establishment (status quo) since then.
    They just omit which Establishment – since it’s the
    COMMUNIST ESTABLISHMENT to which they belong.

The fact that they printed the content on dead trees is probably more relevant.

Might vanity fair be next?

Another lefty icon bites the dust. Who’s gonna fall next month? Great to see articles re leftists having to cut staff month after month. Should be about time for another announcement from the NYTs.

I’d love to see some conservative buy the magazine, fire everyone, put in his own staff and make it the best MAGA-zine on the rack!

“…an unproven gang rape at the University of Virginia….”

“Unproven”, my butt. It was *totally fabricated*.

God, I hate the NY times.

I read Rolling Stone once, decades ago. It was full of sensational, faux-cool crap about music. Now it’s full of sensational, faux-cool crap about politics. Music and politics are two huge markets. If you fail with both of them, you should go down hard.

Here’s hoping the NY Slimes follows them soon.

You need to have people that actually like music to run a magazine like that. At some point they got bored/ distracted and then switched to celebrity worship (including criminals and terrorists).

Good production quality, but it’s now a thin publication with thick advertising, barely distinguishable from a skinny Cosmopolitan magazine.

In the right hands it could be successful, but if it goes, no big loss.

I read that a recent sale of a 49% interest was accomplished for $40M. Might this suggest that the whole shooting match could be worth as little as… $82M? If so, I would say that this is the highest profile $82M business in existence. Love watching it go down in flames.

Can anyone tell me why “Jackie” the girl who made up the rape story, isn’t being sued?

    Olinser in reply to Mercyneal. | September 19, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Because she’s broke as hell and not worth suing. They’d win easily and get a pointless judgement that she’d never pay and they’d lose money on their legal fees.

    Rolling Stone, on the other hand, has already been sued to oblivion.

    There are multiple civil suits pending against both Rolling Stone and Erdely, and in fact Eramo, the (dean?) already WON her case against Rolling Stone and was awarded $3 million by a jury.

    Cases both by the fraternity at large and individual members of the fraternity are still pending, and just the other day a judge ruled on appeal judge ruled that 2 of the 3 individual cases could proceed.

Rolling Stone is to music in the same way MTV is to music videos and ESPN is to sports reporting.