It was a “huge mistake” for Rolling Stone to let Mexican drug lord “El Chapo” Guzman approve the story by Sean Penn on his interview with Guzman, ethics expert Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute tells CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” Says McBride: “A controversial figure like El Chapo, you can let him know what his quotes are. You can let him do an accuracy check on the story and you can address his concerns that way, but you don’t need to let him read the story ahead of time.” Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner told the program that giving El Chapo the storh approval right was a small price to pay for getting the exclusive.
Larry Hackett, former editor of “People” magazine, told CNN, “Rolling Stone said he asked for approval and we gave it to him. If the readers knows that, they can decide themselves whether or not the story’s worth it.” Hackett’s judgment: “It was not worth it.” Added Poynter’s McBride: “You can’t write a self-indulgent, 10,000-word piece of pap and expect to achieve some intellectual masterpiece. If he really wanted to do that, he would have been working with an editor who was capable of helping him get there … Writers can’t go from zero to 60 without any experience. And nothing that Sean Penn has written in the past suggested that he was capable of achieving the article that he set out to do.”