Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rolling Stone and Sean Penn Owe America and Mexico an Apology

By Michelle Seiler-Tucker

Friday, January 9th, Rolling Stone Magazine released an interview between actor Sean Penn and drug lord Joaquin Guzman, better known as El Chapo. Penn interviewed the infamous cartel boss in October of 2015. Rolling Stone waited until El Chapo’s capture to publish Penn’s story and interview. Penn’s celebrity comes just as much from his social activism as it does his films – but interviewing El Chapo seems to fall into neither category. It seems Penn’s article reads part Hollywood action movie, part morning TV fluff-piece. I understand good journalism requires a look at all sides of an issue, but some issues simply don’t have those other sides. Penn asked questions that allowed El Chapo to give empty answers, akin to what a politician might give, or a guest on Good Morning America. The actor fails to ask any real follow-up questions letting El Chapo blame the proliferation of drugs on its consumers, not the suppliers. Penn also lets Guzman say his organization is not a cartel, and, when asked if he uses violence, Guzman says “all I do is defend myself, nothing more. But do I start trouble? Never.” Penn seems fine with this answer. [more...]

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