An issue of Rolling Stone magazine will be read on January 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Pope … [+]
AFP via Getty Images
The hashtag #BoycottRollingStone started the trend on Friday morning after HillReporter.com published the Tara Dublin story on Thursday, entitled “The Fall of Rolling Stone: How a Legendary Magazine Sold Out to Trump and the Saudis”. In the play, Dublin reported that the music magazine that was once “a shining beacon of rebellion” lost its margin after it was sold to Jay Penske, son of reported Trump-supporting multimillionaire Roger Penske. The article suggested that Rolling Stone subsequently donated Super PACs to the Republican Party and GOP.
On Saudis ties, Dublin added, “Jay Penske withdrew $ 200 million from a Saudi government-sponsored company, SRMG, but did not explain the loan or relationship.”
However, the article has not provided concrete evidence of allegations of actual links with Saudi Arabia, and Rolling Stone has not yet given an official response.
For many, however, this was only part of the turning point in the social media backlash against the once-respected music publication.
Earlier this week, the MeidasTouch (@MeidasTouch), a committee formed in March 2020 to stop the re-election of President Donald Trump, called on freelance reporter Seth Hettena to investigate the group. MediasTouch, who described the piece as a hatchet job, found that Hettena had previously expressed its support for President Trump and its rejection of a minimum wage of USD 15 on social media. The group released a video podcast on YouTube earlier this week entitled “MeidasTouch EXPOSES Hack Rolling Stone Reporter Seth Hettena,” explaining their side of the story:
MeidasTouch then wrote on Twitter: “As part of our commitment to transparency, we have prepared this statement detailing the bizarre behavior of the freelance reporter @seth_hettena who claims to work with @RollingStone and has sent a separate legal response directly”
The timing of Hettena’s play was questioned on social media.
“Let me get that straight … one of the most successful anti-Trump groups of 2020, @MeidasTouch, is now being attacked in a Rolling Stone hit … Who owns the @RollingStone? Well, isn’t it? A coincidence. It would be a shame to share this photo, “wrote economist Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing).
Let the game begin
On Twitter, many users jumped on the hashtag #BoycottRollingStone and on Friday afternoon there were more than 54,000 tweets, many indicating that the former avant-garde magazine was lost. The effort was also led by MeidasTouch who wrote, “Now that we know what we know, we have no choice but to use our first fitting right to encourage everyone to #BoycottRollingStone. Pass it on.”
However, at least some users on social media were against such calls to boycott the record magazine.
“I’m sorry, but I’ll make my own decision and will review and see if I want to boycott. People have to wake up and make their own decision and not boycott things just because they ‘seem’ to support a particular site,” wrote @ RyoWo13.
Independent filmmaker Lorenzo P. Adams (@RealLPAdams) subsequently commented, “I actually agree.
@MeidasTouch seems well versed in exposing corruption for the good of the people … when the corruption is Conservative or Republican. I can’t take these people seriously until the same energy remains for Democrats. “
Moreover, some conservative voices were sure to find irony in the calls to boycott a publication that had been the voice of the left for so long.
Political scientist Matt Couch (@RealMattCouch) wrote, “There are very few groups that have written more slanderous hits of me and others in recent years than Rolling Stone Magazine … The fact that the left wants to boycott it because she thinks it helps conservatives is weird! please do LOL! “
Of course, some just took the time to share memes that made fun of the counterculture magazine being now a victim of the abandon culture.
Boycott the media
Part of the story is whether such calls to boycott an established media company are out of place.
“The #BoycottRollingStone story is pretty tangled, and it apparently began after HillReporter published a piece on the magazine’s trajectory since it was acquired by Jay Penske, son of Roger Penske – racing car driver and owner of Penske products – the Trump bestowed the Medal of Freedom, “said Charles King, Principal Analyst at Pund-IT. “The article alleges that after Penske acquired a 100 percent stake in Rolling Stone in 2017 and 2019, he laid off long-time employees and replaced them with less experienced writers and hacks who shifted the magazine’s political coverage to the right. “
The fact that such calls are made on social media shows how important this story has become.
“The broader question is whether the political leanings of business owners or those they employ can or should influence their company’s customers,” King said. “These are certainly topics that have come up in the past and apply to everyone from the Koch brothers to the Walton family to George Soros to Bill Gates and companies that promote programs by controversial radio and television personalities Being moderated Doing business or withdrawing support is more or less personal. “
The power of social media boycotts
Also, it could be a case where the voices on social media – even among those who may never have subscribed to them – could certainly tarnish the brand.
“Hill Reporter’s claims that Penske changed the profile or personality of Rolling Stone significantly are more subtle, but equally important. Rolling Stone is a long way from its original roots as a counterculture tool,” added King. “However, if dedicated readers believe that the magazine’s owner is leading the publication in radical directions that they cannot or will not support, choosing #BoycottRollingStone and / or its advertisers could diminish or destroy a multi-million dollar investment. If this is the case.” occurs, Penske’s Rolling Stone strategy could become a focused lesson in the dangers of hubris. “
Social media certainly made it easier for a boycott to gain momentum.
“Boycotting a brand for being attached to something or someone you don’t like has become relatively common on the right, and now it seems that the left has adopted this questionable tactic,” suggested Rob Enderle, lead analyst at the Enderle Group . “This behavior is dangerous because these efforts are often non-factual, causing massive damage to companies and their employees who have done nothing wrong. A better reason to cancel a publication is if it can be proven that it has been compromised . supposedly here or stop telling exciting stories. “
In other words, punishing a company for the behavior of an executive, even an owner, is effectively penalizing all employees, many of whom might agree with you, Enderle warned.
“The collateral damage from such an effort, especially if it is based on incorrect information, could be devastating,” he noted. “Right or wrong, this is a large-scale manipulation and this event was triggered by a belief that a story yet to be published would harm the PAC MeidasTouch without the need to determine whether that story is true or not never advisable to give powerful beings the power to preventively destroy negative stories. Humans have the right to know and make their own decisions. “
This could lead to further efforts as well, and with social media as a catalyst it could be far easier than the old letter campaigns. In addition, both sides of our national divide could call for similar boycotts. At the moment, it was the left, with similar efforts, speaking directly against Georgia-based companies.
“What is good for the goose is good for the viewer, which means that the left is not very good against the right doing this when it is doing it too,” said Enderle. “The irony here is that efforts seem to be focused on destroying a story that might be true – we don’t know because it wasn’t published – by creating information that might not be true – that has not been validated – to kill I think a far better approach would be to wait for the story to be published and then, based on the content of the story, come up with an answer, we don’t even know for sure if the story would be harmful only whether it would have been ill-founded. “