Sunday, April 14, 2024

Report: Scandal Brewing at Rolling Stone as Top Editor Accused of Changing Info in Story About Pal Involving Child Porn

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There’s a scandal brewing at Rolling Stone magazine, reported by NPR’s estimable David Folkenflik.

There are a lot of players here so bear with me. Last fall Rolling Stone investigative reporter Tatiana Siegel wrote a piece about an ABC News journalist called James Gordon Meek. She said he’d suddenly disappeared after the FBI raided his home in April 2022 and found classified documents on his computer.

Siegel had only recently joined Rolling Stone from The Hollywood Reporter, also owned by Penske Media, after she brokered a deal to write for the trade and also do podcasts for Janice Min’s The Ankler newsletter. The whole negotiation was a big deal in a small circle who knew all these people.

Are you following me? Suddenly at the end of the year it was announced that Siegel was “ankling” both Rolling Stone and The Ankler and going to another Penske vehicle, Variety, as film and TV editor. It didn’t make sense, but what does anymore? Siegel had fought so hard to get that RS-Ankler combo. Why didn’t it work out?

Now Folkenflik says that Siegel left because Rolling Stone editor in chief Noah Shactman spiked info in the Meek story because of his friendship with the ABC contributor. It wasn’t government classified info on Meek’s computer. It was child porn, and it was so bad that when you read it you might, as I did, gasp. Siegel had said in her original piece the raid turned up info that Meek had on his computer that wasn’t work-related. The charge is that Shactman removed that line, and the material on the computer seemed like it was indeed work related.

So got that? Shactman, newish to RS after running The Daily Beast, is being accused by Folkenflik and sources of protecting an alleged child pornographer. This is stunning. You can read Folkenflik’s story here. Turns out that Siegel’s mother was dying as she turned her original piece on Meek in. Folkenflik says Shactman changed the story without Siegel’s knowledge. When she found out she insisted on leaving Rolling Stone.

Many questions arise here: if the raid was last April, how much did they know at ABC News? When Siegel reported the story in October, weren’t Penske and Rolling Stone alerted to the real nature of the FBI discoveries? Why did it seem in Siegel’s story (which was changed from her original) that this was the work of the Biden government to repress a story about them? It had nothing to do with Biden or classified documents.

All of it too bad, also, since Siegel is a reporting barracuda. She won’t comment now, but she goes for the jugular. I can imagine how upset she must have been. And Rolling Stone has been doing some great stuff lately. It would be a shame if this tainted them. And more importantly– where is Meek? What happened to him? He sounds like a very disturbed guy.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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