Rolling Stone

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Rolling Stone is a popular culture magazine founded in 1967 by Jann Wenner.[1] In the years since its founding, "it has evolved into a slick pop culture bible and definitive source for everything in entertainment, from music, film, television and books, to politics, social issues and pop culture."[2]

News and Controversies

Political Coverage

2020 Political Coverage

The magazine's political coverage often favors the progressive wing of the Democratic Party over the party's establishment wing.

After only Biden and Sanders won states during the March 3, 2020 Super Tuesday contests, an article claimed "You have two choices now."[3] Discussing these choices, the article asserted, "it’s not logical to assume that a Biden candidacy would do anything other than return to the status quo of marginal differences between the two major parties that has largely failed working and middle class residents of this country for the better part of a century."[3] In comparison, it posited Sanders would be able to reorient "the party around a clear, progressive ideology that gives voters the option of voting for a world they want to live in, as opposed to trying to sneak a little bit of progress out of a big compromise with the other side of the aisle."[3]

In response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripping up a paper copy of President Donald Trump's February 2020 State of the Union address, an article asserted, "Like Pelosi’s pointed clapping at the 2019 SOTU, her small act of #Resistance was guaranteed to go viral. NowThis had video within minutes. It’s already a GIF. It’s also a completely hollow, feckless gesture that perfectly encapsulates Pelosi’s view of what politics is: a battle of symbolic power where the only casualties are expensive stationery."[4]

Useful Idiots Podcast

In April 2019, Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi and journalist Katie Halper started a political podcast called "Useful Idiots" to cover the 2020 Democratic primary and other current political events. The podcast has featured politicians and political candidates such as Andrew Yang, Bernie Sanders, Cenk Ugyur, Nina Turner, Ro Khanna, Shahid Buttar, and Tulsi Gabbard as well as political commentators and journalists such as Abby Martin, Chris Hedges, Glenn Greenwald, Jimmy Dore, Lee Fang, Michael Moore, and Max Blumenthal.[5]

2016 Presidential Election and Russiagate

Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi has sharply criticized the Democratic political establishment as well as mainstream media for their coverage surrounding Trump's candidacy, including the narrative of Russiagate. In a March 2019 piece, he wrote, "Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, 'I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump.'"[6]

Despite the magazine's widely progressive political coverage, then-owner of Rolling Stone, Jann Wenner, endorsed Hillary Clinton over Sanders in the Democratic primary in a March 2016 editorial.[7]

Occupy Wall Street

Rolling Stone has discussed the Occupy Wall Street movement, showcasing a related Molly Crabapple art show[8] and how the New York City protesters fed into Bernie Sanders's 2016 candidacy.[9][10]

Sold to Penske Media Corporation in 2017

In 2017, Rolling Stone was sold to Penske Media Corporation (PMC), the owner of Variety as well as ", WWD, Robb Report, SHE Media, BGR, IndieWire, Beauty Inc, Sourcing Journal, TVLine, FN, BlogHer, HollywoodLife, Gold Derby, and SPY."[11][12]

BandLab, a company that had a 49% share of Wenner Media, the parent company of Rolling Stone, maintained its holding, while PMC purchased a controlling interest. At the time of purchase, Variety reported that PMC evaluated Wenner Media at $100 million.[1]



As of 2018:[13]

  • Jason Fine, Editor

Political Writers

  • Andy Kroll, Washington D.C. Bureau Chief
  • Jack Crosbie
  • Jamil Smith, Senior Writer, national affairs and culture
  • Matt Taibbi, Contributing Editor
  • Patrick Reis
  • Ryan Bort
  • Ryan Reed
  • Tessa Stuart, Staff Writer, politics and national affairs
  • Tim Dickinson

Contact and Social Media

Rolling Stone
475 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Website: Rolling Stone
Facebook: @RollingStone
Twitter: @RollingStone
YouTube: Rolling Stone Channel

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch


  1. 1.0 1.1 Variety Staff, "Penske Media, Wenner Media Invest in Rolling Stone at $100 Million-Plus Valuation", Variety, December 20, 2017, accessed March 5, 2020.
  2. Magazine Agent, Rolling Stone, Magazine Agent, accessed March 5, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Jack Crosbie, "Now Is the Time for Democrats to Pick a Side", Rolling Stone, March 4, 2020, accessed March 5, 2020.
  4. Jack Crosbie, "Pelosi Delivers Another Resistance Meme, and Nothing Else", Rolling Stone, February 5, 2020, accessed March 5, 2020.
  5. Useful Idiots, Useful Idiots with Katie Halper and Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone YouTube channel, accessed March 5, 2020.
  6. Matt Taibbi, "Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won", Rolling Stone, March 29, 2019, accessed March 5, 2020.
  7. Jann Wenner, "Hillary Clinton for President, Rolling Stone, March 23, 2016, accessed March 5, 2020.
  8. Rolling Stone, "Molly Crabapple, Occupy’s Greatest Artist, Opens Show This Weekend", Rolling Stone, April 12, 2013, accessed March 5, 2020.
  9. Shawn McCreesh, "'March for Bernie' Is an Occupy Wall Street Homecoming", Rolling Stone, January 31, 2016, accessed March 5, 2020.
  10. Tessa Stuart, "In Battle for New York, Occupy Wall Streeters Turn Out for Bernie", Rolling Stone, April 19, 2016, accessed March 5, 2020.
  11. Penske Media Corporation, About Us, company website, accessed March 5, 2020.
  12. Nathan Bomey, "'Rolling Stone' sold to 'Variety magazine' owner Penske Media", December 21, 2017, accessed March 5, 2020.
  13. Variety Staff, "Rolling Stone Promotes Jason Fine to Editor", Variety, June 18, 2018, accessed March 5, 2020.