Richard Jackson

Long Reads: When Penn met Chapo, the Rad head of Tinder and the political backers from Wall Street

Penn
Image: Rolling Stone

Approx Reading Time-10Long Reads this week includes the now-infamous Sean Penn/El Chapo Rolling Stone article, a profile of Tinder’s chief and a Wall Street cash cow who has risked the farm.

 

El Chapo speaks – Sean Penn (Rolling Stone)

One of the big talking points from this week has been Sean Penn’s Rolling Stone article and interview with the Mexican drug lord El Chapo. As he was a fugitive at the time of the piece (though subsequently captured by the authorities) many have stated that Rolling Stone should not have commissioned this article due to El Chapo’s legal status. I say that’s nonsense; journalists should have the right to project the voices of the unsavoury.

There are, however, other problems with the article.

Firstly, the writing is just bad. I think Penn loves the sound of his own voice a little too much and overdoes his descriptions. Rolling Stone should have edited the piece substantially.

Secondly, and this is the more egregious error, Penn and Rolling Stone gave El Chapo approval on the piece’s content. That is a fundamental tenet of journalism and it has been thrown out the window. The piece has lost all credibility as a result.

Penn’s intention was to trigger a conversation on the drug war and what influence individual drug barons really have, but he has since admitted, “My article failed.” It’s a crying shame, because we could have used a public debate on that issue; instead we are talking about journalistic failings.

 

Mr. (Swipe) Right? – Nellie Bowles (The California Sunday Magazine)

This is a profile on Sean Rad, CEO of dating app Tinder, and a divisive figure in the tech industry who was fired for sending sexually suggestive messages to the wife of a co-founder of Tinder, being reinstated.

The author has done an excellent job of capturing Rad’s energy and constructed image. There are the descriptions of the company’s lavish parties, Rad’s handler who follows him everywhere and the layout of the office with the old Tron arcade game in the corner. On the surface, Tinder seems a cool place to work, but this sort of vacuous showy stuff only seems to heighten the rumours surrounding the company’s dismissive treatment of its female employees.

 

Wall Street’s straight man in Washington – Joshua Green (Bloomberg)

Republican representative Scott Garrett of New Jersey is the recipient of more Wall Street money than any other member of the House of Representatives. The money gives Wall Street a greater voice in all relevant law and policy discussions and helps to fund Republican operations. Garrett has expressed homophobic views and with his benefactors being socially liberal and/or members of the LGBTQI community, the greasy wheel of money exchanges and back scratching has fallen off the campaign wagon.

 

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