Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge (2017) - full transcript

A look at 50 years of the iconic magazine features interviews with and footage of journalists, photographers and performers who have graced its pages since it was launched by publisher Jann Wenner in 1967. In 2 parts. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
[bright tone]

[dramatic sting]

[crowd cheering]

- Uh, this next song is
very different

than most of my songs.

Don't make fun of me, guys.

["Same Drugs" begins]

This--this song
is very personal to me,

and, uh, I wanted to, uh--

to share this one
with you guys.


♪ Today ♪

♪ Today, took it down ♪

♪ Took it, took it down, down ♪

[audience singing along]
♪ We don't ♪

♪ Do the same drugs no more ♪

♪ We don't do the--we don't-- ♪

- This is crazy.

all: ♪ Do the same drugs
no more ♪

- ♪ Ooh ♪

- ♪ When did you change? ♪

♪ Wendy, you've aged ♪

♪ I thought
you'd never grow up ♪

♪ I thought you'd never... ♪

- Chance the Rapper.

He's young, he's newsy,
he's got hits.

I'm interested.

- ♪ I was too late,
I was too late ♪

♪ A shadow of what I once was ♪

♪ Yeah, 'cause we don't do
the same drugs no more ♪

- "Rolling Stone"
launched a reaction

to straight
establishment culture,

and it was like
this explosion of color

and kids growing
their hair long, sex, drugs.

- ♪ Do the same drugs ♪

- How's the John Lennon
piece coming?

- I think it's a--
it's a fantastic story.

I just--it just doesn't feel
like a cover to me.

- If you start out
in the counterculture,

you can't stay there.

- ♪ You always
were so forgetful ♪

- The counterculture
doesn't even stay there.

I mean, you either grow,
or you die.

- Oh-ho, look at this,
look at this.

- Oh, Hunter!

- Hunter.

We had talked about,
you know,

we were going to do
a story about fake news?

How's that coming along?

- The magazine that
has criticized the mainstream

or pushed the mainstream
and tried to make it

feel uncomfortable
for decades--

I mean,
the question now is,

well, what happens
when these people grow up?

- Next!

You know,
a good series online.

We still doing Texas border?
- Yeah.

- Bill McKibben's plan
to fix the plan, all right.

Some solid ideas.


Things had changed.


You know, the generation
matured, got older,

but we never rejected
"Rolling Stone's" past

and where it came from.

♪ ♪


- One last question.

Do you have anything to say
to the youth of America?

- Why, yes,
as a matter of fact, I do.


I know where it's at.
Follow me.

- Hey.

["Like a Rolling Stone" plays]

- "Rolling Stone" was born
in San Francisco.

The magazine grew
out of the youth culture

on the western edge
of the continent.

But after ten years there,

they had offices in New York
that were growing,

and it was clear that New York
was the center of publishing.

And we're gonna
have to make a choice.

He not busy being born
is busy dying.

The clear choice was New York.

In order to cover the period
in which we actually moved,

we had lined up this
special issue about New York,

and we actually had a cover
by Andy Warhol

all ready to go,

and then Elvis died, uh,

within, you know,
days of getting there.

"Blue Suede Shoes" plays]

So we had to all of sudden
produce on the spot

in less than five days
an Elvis cover.

- ♪ One for the money,
two for the show ♪

♪ Three to get ready,
now go, cat, go ♪

- Elvis was
the king of rock and roll,

because he was the embodiment
of its sins and virtues.

Grand and vulgar,
rude and eloquent,

absurdly simple
and awesomely complex.

He was the king,
I mean, in our hearts,

which is the place where the
music really comes to life.

- ♪ Do anything
that you wanna do ♪

♪ But uh-uh, honey,
lay off of my shoes ♪

- For "Rolling Stone,"

Elvis Presley was
the central liberating figure

at the heart of rock and roll.

We might think "Rolling Stone"
wouldn't have happened

without somebody
like The Beatles

and the Rolling Stones.

- ♪ Drink my liquor
from an old fruit jar ♪

♪ We'll do anything
that you wanna do ♪

♪ But uh-uh, honey,
lay off of my shoes ♪

♪ And don't you ♪

♪ Step on my blue suede shoes ♪

- But the truth is
"Rolling Stone"

would not have happened
without people

like Elvis Presley
and Chuck Berry.

Those were
the real revolutionaries

who really
broke things open

and changed
what was possible.

You know that sneering
attitude that Presley had,

his own embodiment of seeming
like a threatening punk...

♪ ♪

- ♪ All right,
all right, all right ♪

♪ Well, it's blue, blue ♪

♪ My blue suede shoes ♪

- It became something else
with The Beatles

and the Rolling Stones,
just as it did

with the Sex Pistols
and The Clash.

I came into "Rolling Stone"
in 1977.

Punk had supplanted
that radical element in music

that initially inspired
"Rolling Stone."

I wanted to go to England
and do a story on The Clash.

I had to do a fair amount
of convincing.

- ♪ He's in love
with rock and roll, whoa ♪

♪ He's in love
with getting stoned, whoa ♪

♪ He's in love
with Janie Jones, oh ♪

♪ He don't like his
boring job, no ♪

♪ He's in love
with rock and roll, whoa ♪

♪ He's in love
with getting stoned, whoa ♪

- The Clash still were almost
completely unknown in the U.S.

There was no way The Clash
would be a cover story

or even a lengthy feature.

It'd be what was called
a front-of-the-book piece.

- [signing indistinctly]

♪ Evening comes ♪

♪ ♪

- "Never mind that shit,"
says Joe Strummer,

the thuggish-looking
lead singer of The Clash,

addressing some exultant kids
yelling "Happy New Year"

at him from the teeming floor
of the Lyceum.

"You've got
your future at stake!

Take it!"

Together with the Sex Pistols,

The Clash helped spearhead
the punk movement in Britain,

along the way
earning a designation

as the most intellectual
and political new wave band.

When the Pistols
disbanded early last year,

rock press and punks alike
looked to The Clash

as the movement's
central symbol and hope.

- When punk began
to become a sensation,

it was implicit that
it was a cultural statement

of rebellion and rejection.

It was The Clash,
though, who really gave punk

a necessary moral
and political center.

♪ ♪

They had a sense
of the political moment,

especially in England during
the rise of Margaret Thatcher

and what they saw
in America at the same time

under the years
of Ronald Reagan.

And they stood
for the people

who were under fire
at the time,

people who had
their opportunities

being stripped
away from them.

- ♪ Police, police,
police and thieves ♪

- ♪ Oh, yeah ♪

- ♪ Police, police,
police and thieves ♪

- ♪ Oh, yeah ♪

- ♪ From Genesis
to Revelation ♪

♪ Throw it up, throw it up ♪

♪ Ooh-ooh ♪
- ♪ Yeah, yeah ♪

- ♪ And all the crowd walking ♪

♪ Day by day ♪

- Strummer's vocals sound
as dangerous as he looks.

Screwing his face up
into a broken-tooth yowl,

he gleefully
bludgeons words.

- ♪ Turn war officer ♪

♪ Hear what I say ♪

- I try to say as much

to a reticent Joe Strummer
after the show

as we sit in a dingy
backstage dressing room.

"Our music's violent,"
says Strummer.

"We're not.

"If anything, our songs
are supposed to take

"the piss out of violence.

"We sing about the world
that affects us.

"We're not just
another wank rock group

"like Boston or Aerosmith.

What fucking shit."

♪ ♪

- I often think of The Clash

as being the real extension
of The Beatles.

"Let the Good Times Roll"]

♪ ♪

- ♪ Come on, my baby,
let the good times roll ♪

- Lennon and McCartney had
a style when they came in,

but they responded
to changes in music.

They responded to changes
in the society around them.

- ♪ All night long ♪

- The Clash did
pretty much the same thing.

They grew.

- ♪ Come on, baby,
let me thrill your soul ♪

- And like
Lennon and McCartney,

it was pretty clear
to anybody who listened

to their lyrics
or saw them

that they, um--
they knew what they stood for.

- All right, what we got
for you tonight is--

You ain't got no baseball!

No baseball tonight!

You ain't got no football!
They're on strike!

But what we have got
for you is a little bit

of what's going on
in London at the moment!

- Punk music was vital.

The magazine was
not going to overlook it.

- The Clash, come on!

- But it wasn't going to give
it the same prominence

it would give somebody like
Tom Petty or Fleetwood Mac.

Certainly by the 1980s,
there was some division

about what should
the magazine cover.

There were arguments
between writers and editors

about where had
the values gone,

or where was
the judgment going.

["Should I Stay
or Should I Go" begins]

- [yells]

♪ ♪

- ♪ Darling, you got
to let me know ♪

♪ Should I stay
or should I go ♪

♪ If you say
that you are mine ♪

♪ I'll be here
till the day I die ♪

♪ Come on, and let me know ♪

♪ Should I stay
or should I go ♪

- So you know what
the problem is here.

The problem is here a guy
like you is not supposed

to end up wealthy
and this successful.

You were a hero figure

starting this
bold, new publication.

Here you are now
in the plush New York offices,

nice suit on.

- I think it's wonderful
that something that started

in the '60s
and as part of the '60s

and part of that generation
is successful

and is true to its ideals.

- ♪ Should I stay
or should I go now ♪

- "Rolling Stone" had
a big advertising campaign,

in which they were trying
to get more advertisers

really by--by saying they
weren't quite as irresponsible

and hippy-like
as they once were.

- Hate it.


- ♪ This indecision's
bugging me ♪

- I'm not responsible
for the yuppie generation.

"Rolling Stone" is not
a yuppie publication.

Never has been, never
has advertised itself as such,

never has used the phrase,

never has had
an advertising campaign

that says "we're yuppies"
or anything like that.

I mean, that is all nonsense
and horse[bleep].

- ♪ Come on, and let me know ♪

- If you want to sit back
and drive your [bleep] BMWs

and eat your
white wine and pesto,

you're gonna get
what you deserve.

- [yells]

- And, you know,

you'll get out of politics
and stay rich.

- ♪ Okay, wise guy ♪

♪ So what's the big secret? ♪

- And you become
a generation of swine.

How's that?

[Strummer yelling]

♪ ♪

♪ Should I stay
or should I go now ♪

- ♪ Yo me enfrío o lo soplo ♪

- ♪ Should I stay
or should I go now ♪

- ♪ Yo me enfrío o lo soplo ♪

- ♪ If I go,
there will be trouble ♪

- ♪ Si me voy
va a haber peligro ♪

- ♪ And if I stay,
it will be double ♪

- Why did you do
this campaign?

- Uh, to attract
more advertisers.

Try and say,
"Well, is 'Rolling Stone, '

"trying to reject,
you know, these--

some old values or, you know,
something like that?"

Um, are really
way off the mark.

In fact what it does,

it really celebrates
all that stuff.

- ♪ If I stay,
it will be double ♪

- ♪ Será el doble ♪

- That was
a "Rolling Stone" reader.

And this is us today,
and we've changed.

- ♪ Should I stay
or should I go ♪

[crowd cheering]

- It started off as music
and politics.

The gossip crept in.

That was a deadly thing.

Bon Jovi or whatever,
you know,

what color he paints
his fingernails

is more important
than the fact

that Ronald Reagan
is president.

I think it's a shame.

I don't know how you feel.

Uh, I think Jann,

in the darkness
of his private nights,

should be ashamed
and is ashamed

that "Rolling Stone" is not
more of a weapon and a tool.

- Hunter,
come back to work, then.

I mean, I can't go out
and create a, you know,

a new Hunter
or do what Hunter does.

I mean, if Hunter feels that
his stuff or his interests

are missing, well, that's
'cause he's not doing it.

I can't go out--
I mean, there's not another

Hunter Thompson around.

I can't go out and--
and make that happen.

That's up to him
more than it's up to me.

- The situation
with Hunter when I arrived

was that he and Jann
were still chewing

over that old argument
about the magazine.

They were like crazy dogs
growling over this

for years
and years and years.

But then this Roxanne Pulitzer
story began leaking out.

It was a divorce case,

heir to the great
Pulitzer fortune

and young, beautiful Roxanne.

I thought this
was perfect for Hunter.

- Nasty? Public?
You bet.

This is divorce
Palm Beach style.

At stake?

The Pulitzer fortune,

at up to $25 million.

- They were suing each other
for basically doing drugs

and sleeping with
all of the same people--

the upper crust
of society in Palm Beach.

- There was,
the court was told,

Belgian Grand Prix
driver Jackie Ickx,

French baker Hubert Fouret,

real estate broker
James Murdoch,

and a trumpet,
which Roxanne allegedly took

to bed with her to
communicate with the dead.

- I called Hunter, and I said,

"This is really a story
about the invention

"of American
tabloid journalism.

This is your chance to just
tee off on all of that."

He said, "Well, Jann
will never let me do that."

I said, "Well, Jann
says you won't do it.

He says you don't want
to do the work anymore."

He said, "Ah!"

- Case number 81-5263

in the Juvenile
and Family Division

of the Circuit Court
of the 15th Judicial Circuit,

uh, family division.

Ooh, here we go.

Roxanne Pulitzer
blew into town

more than ten years ago.

A ripe little cheerleader
just a year or so

out of high school
in Cassadega, New York.

[Donna Summer's
"Bad Girls" plays]

♪ ♪

Herbert "Pete" Pulitzer

millionaire grandson

of the famous
newspaper publisher.

He had his pick
of the ladies,

and he particularly enjoyed
the young ones.

- That Pulitzer piece was,
I think, the sort of birth

of a consciousness
about tabloid journalism

because of the way Hunter just
took it to all the limits.

- ♪ Bad girls ♪

♪ Talking
about the sad girls ♪

- "She was an incorrigible
coke slut," he said.

And on top of all that,
she was a lesbian

or at least some kind
of pansexual troilist.

In six and a half years
of marriage,

she had humped
almost everything

she could
get her hands on.

- You have to stop
yourself for a second

and realize
that all of the people

he was writing about in that
divorce voted for Nixon.

I mean, it was a different
way to slice up the culture.

- ♪ But you want a good time ♪

- The very name "Palm Beach,"

long synonymous with old
wealth and aristocratic style,

was coming to be associated
with berserk sleaziness--

a place where
price tags mean nothing,

where pampered animals are
openly worshipped in church

and naked millionaires
gnaw brassieres

off the chests
of their own daughters.

- ♪ Whoa-oh ♪

- With all the vile
treachery among friends

and cheap witchcraft
and champagne troilism

all day and all night
in front of the servants

while decent
people were asleep

or at least
working at real jobs

for sane amounts of money,

what mainly emerged from
the testimony was a picture

of a lifestyle beyond
the wildest and lewdest dreams

of anything on "Dallas"
or even "Flamingo Road."

Nowhere in the record
of the Pulitzer trial

is there any mention
of anybody

who had to go to work
in the morning.

- ♪ Beep, beep ♪

- Now, tell me about
the goings on in Palm Beach.

- Well, I've been going
to court every morning

for, uh, two weeks at 7:00.
- Yeah.

- And, uh, for me to go
anywhere at 7:00 is real hard.

So I, uh--I tend
to stay up all night.

- Yeah.

- So, in other words, I stayed
up all night for two weeks.

- Sure, you don't
sleep at all, do you?

- This is about
the 188th hour.

- Yeah.
- I want to prove something.

You know, I want to prove--

I'm not sure what.

Ha ha ha ha.

- So you're, uh--

- This is the Palm Beach
I've been trying to look--

I've been, uh,
educating myself to think

like the Palm Beach life.
- Uh-huh.

- And, uh, I've come
to some surprising

life stances in this.

[funk music]

- I am living
the Palm Beach life now.

Cruising the beach at dawn
in a red Chrysler convertible

with George Shearing
on the radio

and a head full
of bogus cocaine,

two beautiful lesbians
in the front seat beside me,

telling jokes
to each other in French.

We are on our way to an orgy,

and the girls
are drinking champagne.

There is
a wet parking ticket

flapping under
the windshield,

and it bores me.

The girls are naked now,

long hair in the wind
and perfumed nipples

bouncing in the dull blue
light of the dashboard.

One of them is tipping
a glass of champagne

to my mouth as we slow down
for a curve near the ocean.

♪ ♪

And... hello.

And that's what you don't
want to do, you silly bitch.

There is a lot of wreckage
in the fast lane these days.

Not even the rich
feel safe from it.

People are looking
for reasons.

The smart say
they can't understand it,

and the dumb snort cocaine
in rich discos

and stomp to a feverish beat.

The stomping of the rich

is not a noise to be ignored
in troubled times.

It usually means they're
feeling anxious or confused,

and when the rich feel
anxious and confused,

they act like wild animals.

Vultures, vultures,
vultures, hideous!

Thick necks, beaks.

Hovering creatures
looking for carrion.

- I was Hunter's
fact-checker on that story.

Now, to be Hunter Thompson's

is one of the sketchiest

in all of journalism,

and Hunter takes it
totally seriously.

The stuff that he wants
to get right that's not

in the Gonzo realm, you know,
he really wants to get right.

♪ ♪

You know,
Hunter's great aphorism

about fact-checking is,
if you call somebody

a thieving pig-fucker,

you better be able
to produce the pig.

[pig squeals]

- When you go against taboos,

you bring a combination of
humor and seriousness to it,

which, uh,
opens a few more doors

than if you bring
a sledgehammer.

I'll make a mistake.

I don't like to hurt people,

but if you're going to have
to deal in this world,

which is occasionally
pretty rough,

you're going to hurt somebody
usually by accident,

so you may as
well hurt the right people,

and that's a value judgment.

- That's a pretty good--
- And, uh--

I mean, if I'm wrong,

well, I'm going
to suffer for it.

- He had this fondness
for Roxanne,

but I think
she liked him, too,

and they were
peas in a pod.

- In the end,

she got even less
than her lawyer--

no house, no children.

The whole package came to
not much more than Pulitzer

had spent on the day-to-day
maintenance of his boats.

- ♪ Rock on, gold dust woman ♪

♪ Take your silver spoon ♪

♪ Dig your grave ♪

- Many people said
Roxanne Pulitzer

is gold digger.

She wants her husband's money.
- Right.

I was dealt a certain hand
of cards back in 1982,

and I lost a lot,
and all I've tried to do

is play those cards
the best I can,

and, um, I don't feel
that I've done anything wrong.

- Roxanne is a star now.

She was on
the cover of "People"

and a featured celebrity guest
on "Good Morning America."

The best piece of ass
in Palm Beach

is a curious case
these days.

From the ashes
of scandal and defeat,

she has emerged as
a cult figure of sorts,

a kind of national bitch
for the '80s.

- ♪ Well, did
she make you cry ♪

♪ Make you break down ♪

♪ Shatter your illusions
of love? ♪

♪ And now tell me... ♪

- Long after the Pulitzer case
was finally over,

I was still brooding darkly
on it.

Why do the finest flowers
of the American dream

turn up in asylums,
divorce courts,

and other gray hallways
of the living doomed?

What is it
about being born free

and rich beyond worry
that makes people crazy?

- There's that darkness
to the American spirit.

You know, Hunter was deeply
invested in America,

whether you call it
the American dream

or American politics,

or all the things
he wrote about, you know,

were always looking
at the dark side

of the American dream,

the dark spirit
as well as the hope.

- Any fool with a hundred
dollar bill in his pocket

can whip a gram of cocaine
into his head

and make sense
of just about anything.

[animal growling]

Ah, yes, I see it all
very clearly now.

These bastards have
been lying to me all along.

Stand aside.
Let the big dog eat.

[towel snaps]

[glass shatters]

- It was during that period
that we were winning

doing cultural coverage.

People would complain that
we were abandoning the music,

but that was bullshit.

We were covering the culture.

[crowd cheering]

[Talking Heads' "Burning
Down the House" begins]

- Who got a match?

♪ ♪

- There was no musical center
to the '80s

as there had been
in the '50s or '60s.

Music had split off
into a lot of fields

and different mainstreams.

- ♪ My house
is out of the ordinary ♪

- ♪ That's right ♪

- And we were trying
to persuade the magazine

to give coverage
to Talking Heads

or give a lead review
to Joy Division.

- ♪ Burning down the house ♪

♪ ♪

- As a music magazine

that tried to be
a magazine of record,

"Rolling Stone" wrote

about many musical forms
of the time.

♪ ♪

- ♪ Burning down the house ♪

- That music created
room for people

that had been successfully
kept out before.

♪ ♪

- That power of risk,
of threat, of change,

certainly existed
in the '80s.

- ♪ Burning down the house ♪

[crowd cheers]

- It's 22 before the hour,

and here's some news
you can use.

If you want to buy a rock
magazine, don't go to Walmart.

The department store chain
based in Arkansas

has stripped
all rock publications

from its shelves,

from "Rolling Stone"
to "Super Teen."

Walmart took the action after
evangelist Jimmy Swaggart

condemned rock magazines
on national television.

Joining us to talk about this
in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,

this morning,
the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart.

Well, I've got a copy here
of "Rolling Stone" magazine,

and it has--oh, it has
an article about a comedian.

It has an article
about some rock groups.

Now, do you really think
that's a--

that's a bad influence
on young people?

- These magazines,
as far as I'm concerned,

are pornography,
pure and simple.

And they're the only
pornography that's printed

for children
and distributed to children

and distributed
by family outlets,

and this is very serious.

[thunder rumbles]

- God was speaking to Jimmy.

He came to him in a dream.

There was an enormous field
of cotton below a gloomy sky.

God told Jimmy
that the field

needed harvesting
before the storm came.

"If you fail, there
is no one else to do it."

This was the stark commandment
that Jimmy lived with.

He had become the new messiah.

- People who live
intensely religious lives

are in some ways
living symbolic lives,

and as a writer,
that's what really drew me

to Jimmy Swaggart.

[musical flourish]

- Well, hallelujah!

Praise the Lord!

- I have to say,
I loved the music

in his church.

The service began
with a drumbeat,

and then, wow,
we were on our way!

- And all
over this place,

let's have an old-fashioned
camp meeting.

- ♪ I'll fly away ♪

♪ Oh, Glory ♪

♪ I'll fly away ♪

- ♪ Fly away ♪

- ♪ And now, when I die ♪

♪ Hallelujah by and by ♪

♪ Oh, I'll fly away ♪

- I saw it as
a "Rolling Stone" story

for several reasons.

One, there was the connection

to rock and roll,
because, you know,

Jerry Lee Lewis
is Jimmy Swaggart's cousin.

- ♪ Now, when I die... ♪

- And Mickey Gilley,
a country music singer,

is also a first cousin.

They all lived in this little
town of Ferriday, Louisiana.

- All right, now,
I want to turn you guys loose,

and let's relive the old days
in Ferriday, Louisiana.

["Lewis Boogie" begins]

- ♪ My name is
Jerry Lee Lewis ♪

♪ I come
from Ferriday, Louisiana ♪

♪ I'm gonna do you a little
boogie on this old piano ♪

♪ Doing mighty fine,
I'm gonna make you shake it ♪

♪ Make you do it and do it
and do it and do it ♪

♪ And do it
until you break it ♪

♪ It's called the Lewis Boogie,
Lewis way ♪

♪ I like to do
my boogie woogie every day ♪

- There was this little
Assembly of God church,

and there was a piano

that these three kids
learned how to play.

♪ ♪

- Play me one, Mickey!

- They had very
few outlets to escape,

but music was one,

and religion was the other.

♪ ♪

- [shouts indistinctly]

♪ ♪

Yeah! Go, boy!

♪ ♪

- So Jerry Lee took
the musical escape route,

as did Mickey Gilley.

- ♪ Lewis Boogie, Lewis way ♪

♪ Now, me and Mickey
do our boogie every day ♪

♪ ♪

[audience applauds]

♪ ♪

- Jimmy turned to religion,

but he hung on to the music
portion of it as well.

There's certainly
the element of performance

that reminded me
so much of his cousin.

♪ ♪

But there was a kind ecstasy
about his rapturous sermons.

- I'm coming out!

Without sin!
Of the salvation!

To set the country free!

By the power
of Almighty God!

[wild cheers and applause]

You say, Jimmy Swaggart...

you're preaching to hundreds
of millions of people.

You're not supposed to be
that exuberantly emotional.

[cheers and applause]

You have lost your dignity
and your decorum.

I'll admit I have.


But when I speak
of Jesus Christ...

[speaking in tongues]

That He lifted man
above the shadows,

broke the bombs
and the chains

and the shackles,

because when He walked
out of that tomb,

I walked out
of that tomb with Him.

When He walked
out of that tomb,

I walked out
of that tomb with Him!

When He walked
out of that tomb,

Jimmy Swaggart walked
out of that tomb with Him!

[cheers and applause]

- No single person
had ever assembled

such a global
television audience,

and it was
difficult to foretell

what the consequences

of such a supranational
phenomenon might be.

Although Swaggart's goal
was to evangelize the world

in the last days
before Armageddon,

he also had allied himself
with the Christian Right

and was vigorously pressing
its social agenda.

- Homosexuality,

the filth that I will touch
upon in this message

that beggars description.

I want to make a statement.

The homosexuals are not gays.

They are perverts.


And today
there are nearly 300

publicly advertised
meeting places

for homosexuals
called "glory holes,"

where gangs
of homosexuals meet

and, with little or no

practice oral-anal and
oral-penal sex with many men,

sometimes as many as 16
in a single encounter,

writhing like snakes
on the floor,

protected by the United States
government and politicians.

- It was kind of funny to me,

because I was representing
"Rolling Stone,"

which, if anything,
stands for all of those

cultural issues
that Swaggart opposed.

- People in the reporting

thought he never believed
any of this stuff anyway.

He was just in it
for the money and the power.

I thought maybe
he did believe it.

Maybe he is actually
living out some sort of drama.

I was interested in him,

but the scandal gave me
the excuse to write the story.

[The Stone Roses's
"I Wanna Be Adored" plays]

- The secret that burned
inside Jimmy Swaggart

was that he had been a slave

of sexual perversion
since the age of ten.

He had been chosen by God
to evangelize the world

in the last days,
and yet his own soul

was losing ground in
a desperate battle with Satan.

- ♪ I don't have
to sell my soul ♪

♪ He's already in me ♪

♪ I don't need
to sell my soul ♪

- His cousin Mickey Gilley
would say later,

"Jimmy to us
was like Jesus

walking on the face
of the Earth again."

- ♪ I wanna be adored ♪

- "But Jesus was a role Jimmy
wasn't quite ready to play."

♪ ♪

- You want to know
the very first time

I saw Jimmy Swaggart?

I was standing
in the Texas Motel.

I told my girlfriend, I said,

"Look at this man,
he keeps riding around

and riding around
in this big Town Car."

And I looked, and I looked
again, and I said,

"Girl, that's Jimmy Swaggart."

I got in his car,
and he asked me,

if he gave me $10,

would I pull down
my pants and let him

play with my pussy
while he jacked off.

- It seemed that
he was more interested

in depravity than in sex,

and in bringing himself low.

- ♪ I wanna be adored ♪

- He might have
had a mistress.

He might have been able to
hire a high-class call girl.

After all, you know,
he was getting

half a million dollars
a day in contributions.

People were sending in
their wedding rings.

He had his own zip code.

He was, uh, one of
the most powerful figures

in the country.

And yet he would
go to these depressing,

squalid little motels
on airline highway

and seek out women who were
advertising themselves

by sitting out
in a plastic chair

in front of the motels.

- ♪ You adore me ♪

- If you take
the symbolic view

of Jimmy Swaggart's life...

- ♪ You adore me ♪

- There was a devil
on one shoulder

and the angel on the other.

- ♪ I wanna, I wanna ♪

♪ I gotta be adored ♪

- And it was almost like
he was begging to be caught.

♪ ♪

- To my Lord and my savior...

I have sinned against You,
my Lord.

And I would ask
that Your precious blood...

Would wash and cleanse

every stain,

never to be remembered
against me anymore.

"Missionary Man" plays]

- On April 8th,
he was officially defrocked

by the Assemblies of God.

He has been booted off

the two major Christian
television networks.

Students have deserted
his Bible college.

IRS agents are poring
over his books.

"Maybe there is no other man
in history

more humiliated than me,"
Swaggart has said,

with his usual breathtaking

on his own importance.

- ♪ Well, I was born
an original sinner ♪

♪ I was born
from original sin ♪

♪ And if I had a dollar bill
for all the things I've done ♪

♪ There'd be
a mountain of money ♪

♪ Piled up to my chin, hey ♪

- The agreement that he
had made with the church

was that he would lay low
for a while,

and he couldn't.

He couldn't bring himself
to do that.

I went to one
of his services,

which was normally
filled to the brim,

but after all of his scandal,
it was sparsely attended.

There was another preacher
that morning,

but Swaggart
kept jumping up

and seizing the microphone
and talking in tongues.

He reminded me of a cult,
you know, that wanted to run.

He just
could not be suppressed.

At the end
of the service,

people were lining up
to give him money,

and I got in the line.

He put his arms around me,
and I said,

"I'm from 'Rolling Stone.'"

And he said,
"'Rolling Stone'? Good God!"

- ♪ But don't mess
with a missionary man ♪

- Then the guy behind me
was a private investigator

who stuck
a subpoena in his hand.

So it was a bad morning
for Jimmy Swaggart.

♪ ♪

- I think
Swaggart's disgrace

put the brakes on that whole
televangelist movement.

all: Right now.
- This morning...

- It's still very much
a part of us,

but it's not near as potent

and doesn't pose quite
the danger that it did

in the late '80s
when Jimmy Swaggart

was at his full bloom.

[applause, organ music]

[crowd cheering]

[U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky"

♪ ♪

- ♪ In the locust wind ♪

♪ Comes a rattle and hum ♪

♪ Jacob wrestled the angel ♪

♪ And the angel was overcome ♪

♪ You plant a demon seed ♪

♪ You raise
a flower of fire ♪

♪ See them burning crosses ♪

♪ See the flames
higher and higher ♪

♪ Bullet the blue sky ♪

♪ Bullet the blue ♪

♪ Bullet the blue ♪

- You know, I loved
my time at "Rolling Stone."

I did a U2 cover,
and I did a Neil Young cover,

and I did all this
other stuff, too,

but hip-hop was the most vital

and the most exciting thing
that was going on.

1992, a lot of people
still looked at hip-hop

as an outsider genre,
which felt crazy.

That was like covering
jazz in the '40s,

to be there when
bebop happened,

or, you know, covering
rock and roll in the '60s.

You knew every day
that this was

the most vital
and the most creative force

that was happening,

and you were watching
the world changing around you.

[Public Enemy's "By the Time
I Get to Arizona" plays]

[people screaming]

♪ ♪

- ♪ Well, I got 25 days
to do it ♪

♪ If a wall in the way,
just watch me go through it ♪

♪ 'Cause I gotta do
what I gotta do ♪

♪ P.E. number one
gets the job done ♪

- The year began with
an overblown controversy

over Public Enemy's video

"By the Time
I Get to Arizona"...

- ♪ That's the way it is,
he got to get his ♪

♪ Talking MLK ♪

- Which depicted the group
assassinating the state's

elected officials for refusing
to establish a holiday

honoring Martin Luther King
Jr.'s birthday.

- That I am a racist...

that I am a supporter
of the KKK.

- Looming over
all of the year's events

was the specter of the
April riots in Los Angeles.

- ♪ This is Sister Souljah ♪

♪ Public Enemy, security
of the first world ♪

♪ And all allied forces ♪

- In June, presidential
candidate Bill Clinton

took a cheap shot
at Sister Souljah,

quoting questionable
riot-related remarks.

- She told
"The Washington Post"

about a month ago,
and I quote,

"If black people kill
black people every day,

why not have a week
and kill white people?"

- Clinton's use of
those comments

was clearly
out of context,

presenting Souljah
as an indefensible racist.

- If you took the words
"white" and "black"

and you reversed them,

you might think David Duke
was giving that speech.

♪ ♪

- Democratic presidential
contender Bill Clinton

has chosen to attack
not the issues

but a young African woman

who is very well educated
and a community servant.

When the rebellions
occurred in Los Angeles,

everybody ran...

- ♪ So I pray,
I pray every day ♪

♪ I do and praise
Jah the maker ♪

- To the hip-hop community

and asked us
were we surprised.

I said that, no, I could not
possibly have been surprised.

In the mind-set
of a gang member,

why not kill white people?

- ♪ On my freedom,
oppressor, people beater ♪

- What was so revolutionary
about hip-hop at that time,

kids who were listening
to those records

understood tensions
between the police

and the black community
in L.A. before the riots,

and nobody else did.

- ♪ Go, go, go, go ♪

♪ ♪

♪ By the time I get
to Arizona ♪

♪ Zona, zona, zona ♪

♪ By the time I get
to Arizona ♪

♪ Zona, zona, zona ♪

- I remember being
at "Rolling Stone"

and kind of being furious

when Nirvana broke
and saying,

"God damn it!

"You all want
a rock band so bad

"that here's one
and they have one big song,

"and they get the cover of
the magazine,

"and I can't get Public Enemy

"on the cover of the magazine
after, you know,

three or four
world-changing records."

- ♪ Hey, young world ♪

- ♪ The world is yours ♪
- ♪ Hey, young world ♪

- You know, in the '80s,
hip-hop was a--

this was an East coast thing,

this was
a New York City thing.

- ♪ This rap here ♪
- ♪ It may cause concern ♪

- Nobody had written about
urban L.A. gang culture.

Nobody had written about
the violence in Los Angeles.

That didn't really exist.

- ♪ Times have changed ♪

- ♪ Hey, it's cool
to look bummy ♪

♪ And be a dumb dummy
and disrespect your mommy ♪

- ♪ Have you forgotten ♪

- ♪ Who put you
on this Earth, huh? ♪

- ♪ Who brought you
up right ♪

- ♪ And who loved you
since your birth ♪

- And then
Ice-T started making

some of his early records
like "6 in the Mornin'."

- I was deeply involved
in the streets, hustling.

I would make
rhymes for my crew.

Gangsta rhymes,
criminal rhymes.

But when hip-hop came along,

I would try to rhyme like
the rappers in hip-hop rhymed,

about parties and stuff.

- ♪ Scream, whoopee-doo,
go for yours ♪

♪ 'Cause dreams come true ♪

- And my friends were like,

"Say that shit
you say about us!"

You know, I'm like,
"But those are criminal rhymes.

Like, you don't want
to say those."

And they would--
they said,

"Say them,
just sing them!"

So I did a song called
"6 in the Mornin" with,

"6:00 in the morning,
police at my door.

"Fresh Adidas squeak
across the bathroom floor.

"Out the back window
I made my escape.

"Didn't even get a chance
to grab my old-school tape.

"Mad with no music,
but happy 'cause free,

"and the streets to
a player is the place to be.

"I got a knot in my pocket
weighing at least a grand.

"Gold on my neck,
my pistols close at hand.

"I'm a self-made monster
of the city streets.

"Remotely controlled
by hard hip-hop beats.

"But just living in the city
is a serious task

"Didn't know
what the cops wanted.

Didn't have time to ask."

This was the invention of
what they call gangsta rap.

♪ Didn't want trouble
but the shit must fly ♪

♪ Squabbled with this sucker,
shanked him in the eye ♪

♪ But just living in
the county is a serious task ♪

♪ Nigga didn't know
what happened ♪

♪ Didn't have time to ask ♪

That record hit.

"6 in the Mornin'" hit.

And I was like, "Wow.

People like this shit."

- Ice-T and I had
a relationship in place.

The first big piece
that I did with him

was I did a feature

when the "New Jack City"
movie came out.

And then we did some
other things in between.

I remember speaking
to him on his car phone

in the midst
of the L.A. riots.

Ice-T, by this time,
had established

not only his rap career,

he had already
started exploring

these other
interests that he had.

He made no secret ever
that he was also

this metalhead,
rock and roller.

[upbeat hip-hop music]

- Now, I'm doing this rap,
and I noticed

that when we would play
the up-tempo records,

they would mosh.

Mosh pits would start.

♪ ♪

A mosh pit
is fascinating.

What is really going on?
Is that dancing?

Is this some kind
of release of energy,

you know, male testosterone
just going crazy?

So I came back home
and I'm like,

I want to do a rock band.

So I got
my bandmate Ernie C.,

who played guitar
all through Crenshaw.

I got Mooseman,
who was a weed dealer,

but he could play bass.

Beatmaster V,
who was a weed dealer,

but he could play drums.

I said, "We're going to
make this group Body Count."

We're going to mix Suicidal
with Slayer with Black Sabbath.

It's gonna be fast,
evil music.

[Body Count's
"Body Count" begins]

♪ It's real fucked up ♪

At this time, Body Count,
we were just a concept.

We hadn't made an album.

We were playing,
like, pizza joints.

♪ Goddamn,
what a brother gotta do ♪

♪ To get a message through ♪

♪ To the red, white
and blue? ♪

Yo, Beatmaster V,

take these motherfuckers
to South Central.

♪ ♪

Ha ha!

The craziest member
of Body Count

was my drummer,
Beatmaster V.

We used to always say
he's got, you know,

one foot in the penitentiary,

the other one
on a banana peel.

He was that guy.

- ♪ Psycho killer,
qu'est-ce que c'est ♪

- I, uh, walked into
the rehearsal hall

singing, "psycho killer,
qu'est que c'est."

And he goes,
we need a cop killer!

And he started just
rambling off all the stuff

the cops were doing, how they
were whupping people's asses,

running up in the spot,
shot this guy's baby.

Just dirty cop shit.

And my wheels started turning.

I'm like,
"What if somebody snapped?

What if police brutality
sent somebody over the edge?"

So coming off
of "Psycho Killer,"

I turned the psycho killer
into a cop killer.

This next record
is dedicated

to some personal
friends of mine--the LAPD.

For every cop that has ever
taken advantage of somebody,

beat 'em down or hurt 'em,

for every one of those
fucking police,

I'd like to take a pig
out here in this parking lot

and shoot 'em in their
motherfucking face.

["Cop Killer" begins]

♪ ♪

The album was
out for a year...

♪ Cop killer ♪

Before it was brought
to the attention

of the Fraternal Order of
the Police from Austin, Texas.

all: Hey-hey, ho-ho,
Time Warner's got to go!

- Texas police who
started the controversy

urged Time Warner to pull
the album made by Ice-T.

- It calls for cold-blooded,
premeditated murder.

- And I call on every American
to condemn that kind of thing!

- Actor Charlton Heston,
an NRA supporter,

joined the protest
against the album.

- "Die, die, die, pigs, die.

Police, I know your
family's grieving."

Catchy little number,
isn't it?

- ♪ I know your
family's grieving ♪

♪ Fuck 'em,
cop killer ♪

♪ But tonight
we get even, ha ha ♪

- For the police, it was
a very savvy political move,

because at the moment,
the cops were under siege,

just like they are today.

They turned me into the enemy,
and everyone got mad at me

and stopped looking
at what they were doing.

So they--they--
they used me in a way.

♪ ♪

- When this story broke,

I remember going to Jann's
office and saying, "Look,

I can make one phone call
and go and get with this guy."

- "The Source" magazine,
which was the hip-hop

so-called Bible at the time,
they were telling me,

"You got to give
an exclusive interview to us."

So I was like, "You guys aren't
the source, I'm the source.

Y'all report on the source."

"Rolling Stone"
was very polite.

Alan, who wrote it,
was a friend.

He was like, "Ice, you know,
we would really be--

we'd like to give you this,"
and I was like, "You know what?

"I can be in 'The Source'
every day of the week, right?

I'm gonna do
'Rolling Stone.'"

So now I go to
"Rolling Stone,"

I say "Yeah, let's go.
Let's talk about this shit."

No, I mean,
I wrote the record.

It's a record
about a character.

I know the character.

I've woken up feeling
like this character.

I've never clicked over,

but when I saw
that shit on TV,

I wanted to get out there.
I know a lot of people did.

And to me, to say
I can't write about this

because I'm gonna offend

is bullshit, you know?

I didn't think it was
going to be the cover.

Mark Seliger,
he took the picture, right?

He had these ideas.

"We're going to put
you in a police uniform."

So I'm like, "What?"

He goes, "No, this is
the ultimate nightmare

"of a racist cop, is
getting pulled over by you

and having you
have the billy club."

And it actually did what
he said it was going to do.

It outraged a lot of people.

See, one thing about being,
you know, a black artist,

a lot of people
don't think that rappers

are capable of art.

They don't--they take
everything we say literal.

They don't understand
that we might have

a grain of intelligence.

So that's all a part
of the racism and shit

that goes into it.

You know, like, when
they attacked the record,

they called it a rap record,
which it wasn't.

It was a rock record.

- ♪ B-C, B-C ♪

- ♪ South Central, nigga ♪
- ♪ B-C ♪

♪ ♪

You know, if they say,
"Well, it's a rock record,"

well, people might go,

"Well, hey,
I like Fleetwood Mac.

"Maybe, you know--
maybe it's like

"one of those '60s records

where people were
against the police, you know?"

But by saying
it's rap, it's like,

"Oh, it's the niggas
talking that shit."

That became the issue.

I saw deeper
than even the song.

It was me transferring
black rage to white youth,

and once you cross
that border

and you put those
white fists in the air

singing about the same
injustices, that's the fear.

The fear is he's crossing over
to our kids.

And, you know, when
that parent wants to say,

"Oh, yeah, you know,
those niggers are rioting,"

his little daughter is going,

"They're not niggers, Dad,
and they have a reason."

♪ ♪

But I learned firsthand

that you have the right
to say anything,

but people also have
the right to get angry.

If I want to say
something anti-gay,

well, I got to be prepared for
the gay movement to attack me.

If I say something against
women--they have that right.

So you can't just,
you know, like I say,

you can't go home
to your girl and say,

"Yo, I fucked your sister.
Free speech."

It doesn't--
you know, it's like,

"Yeah, free speech, but, yeah!"

So my mistake was thinking
I could sing anything

and there would be
no repercussions.

- Sitting next to Ice-T
is one of his main critics,

Tipper Gore,
who is founder of the PMRC,

which for years
has been actively fighting

what they call
the destructive influence

of today's music lyrics
on children.

- We have freedom
of speech in this country,

and you have a right to
have lyrics that abuse women,

that use racism,
but was have a right

to speak out against them,
and we also have a right

to alert parents that this
is being marketed aggressively

to very young kids
at a time

when they are forming
their opinions.

- I think what nobody
was prepared for

in this situation was
just how strong an adversary

they had picked
in going after Ice-T.

- I'll just put it all
in a nutshell.

The enemies of the music
is what fuels the fire.

As soon as a kid
comes home from school

and his mother says,

"Have you listened
to your Ice-T album today?"

I'm through.

Rock and roll has always
got to have an enemy.

That's what keeps it
rock and roll!

[overlapping shouting]
- Stop hating his music!

- You were dealing
with somebody

who was absolutely up
for whatever sort of debate,

whatever sort of challenge
you were gonna throw at him.

- You know,
Tipper was very outspoken,

but if you noticed
when Clinton

and Al Gore
ran for president,

you never heard
anything else from her.

Someone issued a gag order.

Someone says,
"We're trying this youth vote.

You must remain quiet."

And I guess Tipper is just
shopping for shoes now.

I don't know where she's at.

But she ain't, uh, speaking.

She was unhip, and they
came off as the hip guys.

- Here's Arsenio....


[lively saxophone music]

♪ ♪

- Bill Clinton was
the first Baby Boomer

to run for president,

and the first Democrat
to come along in a long time,

and, of course, I found
this extremely compelling.

♪ ♪

And I just thought

this is a perfect subject
of "Rolling Stone,"

which accompanied the rise
and spoke for this generation

through the music
we spoke for,

the things that they had read
in "Rolling Stone"

or the crusades
we'd been a part of.

- The big man...

[crowd cheering]

- The first time
we interviewed Clinton,

we went down to Little Rock,
Arkansas, during the campaign.

It was kind of this joint
interview between myself,

Hunter, P.J. O'Rourke,
and Bill Greider--

our top political team.

- I was managing editor
at "The Washington Post,"

and Hunter claims that
he was up late one night

taking a leak
and thought of me,

and that was the inspiration
for my career change.

In "Rolling Stone,"
you're not talking

to the professor you had
in English 201.

You're talking to the people
who read this magazine.

It was liberating.

- ♪ Come on, baby,
let the good times roll ♪

♪ Come on, baby ♪

- You know,
Jann Wenner was this kid

who loved rock and roll

and decided he'd start
a rock and roll magazine,

and he's interviewing

the next president
of the United States

in this group
that he assembled

that's a pretty weird group.

- ♪ Come on, baby,
show me how you feel, yeah ♪

- We had drank too much
the night before

and got up in the morning
raring to go.

It was taking place in this
joint called Doe's Café,

which is where all
of the campaign people

and the press people
ate and drank.

- ♪ Come on, baby ♪

- Jann was in love
with the Clintons,

but Hunter
was also quite thrilled.

And he gave Clinton a couple

of high-quality
French saxophone reeds.

- I think we're on
the right side of history.

I think the time has come
for America to change

its policies fundamentally.

- Hunter had his
own list of questions

about the gun laws
but also the drug laws.

- You've seen the statement
I put out last week...

- Clinton wanted
that interview

to make it very clear

that he was not your
standard-brand liberal

who was for smoking dope.

Hunter was so offended.

He gets up from the table.

He came back in about
15 minutes with a tall drink,

and he never
asked another question.

It was like,
"Interview is over for me.

You've shown me
who you really are."

And then P.J. O'Rourke,

who was a sharp-witted

has come to the table
loaded for bear

with ideological questions.

- Sometimes the most
conservative thing

in the world to do
is to change.

It's the only you can
preserve those things

which are most
dear to you

and that's what I'm
obviously hoping

the American people
will believe.

- And Clinton just
turned him around on a dime.

So it's now down to me
and Jann Wenner,

and I'm left entering
into a pretty wonkish

with Bill Clinton.

Shift in tax burdens
and savings and loan...

He knew what
would fetter my ego,

asking about obscure things

that most people
had never heard of.

That was terrific.
- You're a really smart man.

Thanks, Hunter!

- Jann, P.J., Hunter
were of a certain age.

- You remember
Hunter Thompson.

- They had a feeling
that they were going

to change the country again,
maybe the world, and, uh,

I didn't share that self-glory
because I was a bit older.

- So now we know,
you know,

his favorite Beatle
is Paul McCartney.

He voted for the skinny Elvis
stamp, and he bites his nails.

- So you came away
feeling less enthused

than you were going in?

- I'm not going to, uh,
go out and campaign for him,

'cause there's other people to.

- Is that good
or bad news for Bill?

- During the war in Vietnam
and during the Nixon era,

the youth culture had
gotten pretty well stomped,

but rock and roll prevailed.

- Together for the
first time since 1982,

Lindsey Buckingham,
Mick Fleetwood,

Christine McVie,
John McVie,

and Stevie Nicks!

Fleetwood Mac!

["Don't Stop" plays]

- ♪ Why not think
about times to come ♪

♪ And not about
the things that you've done? ♪

♪ If your life
was bad to you ♪

♪ Just think
what tomorrow will do ♪

- ♪ So don't stop
thinking about tomorrow ♪

♪ Don't stop,
it'll soon be here ♪

♪ It'll be
better than before ♪

- It was a generation
taking power.

- ♪ Yesterday's gone ♪

- We all got shaped
in the same way,

so justice and equity

and a kind of deep belief
in America.

- Sir, would you
join us, please?

- Those are the ideals
of my generation.

- ♪ It'll soon be here ♪

♪ It'll be
better than before ♪

- I was very invested
in them as leaders

trying to carry out
the principles and ideals

of that generation in a very
tough real-world situation

of the power
and all the interests

they had to navigate.

- ♪ It'll be
better than before ♪

- I had the same optimism

that was widely shared
about the Clinton potential.

My one regret
is that I was slow,

and I'm talking months,
not years,

in saying in print what I saw
happening in Washington.

- ♪ Yesterday's gone ♪

- Clinton was essentially

abandoning organized labor
and working people.

It happened literally

in the first year
of the administration.

And that was a sort of
double-cross of the values

he expressed
as a young candidate.

- I think I do
need to be reminded

that what I'm doing every
day is for these folks.

- Right.

- It was a very quick thing

for Clinton
to make some gestures...

- Hi, folks!
- Hi, Bill!

- Which his people applauded

and made a big deal out of

but were actually trivial
or even deceptive.

- I think we accomplished
an awful lot.

Maybe you can say
some of it was due

to newness
or a touch of, you know,

the arrogance of being new.

- There's a word
called hubris.

- Sure is.
Greek word.

- Certainly is.

- At the beginning
of his administration,

he had just come off
a couple of big victories

and Bill Greider
went on to interview Clinton

in his little
executive dining room

off the Oval Office.

- To understand Clinton,

you have to understand
he was a seducer.

He knew how to appeal
to people in a way

that would flatter them
or beguile them.

And he's good at it,
but I'm a reporter.

After everything else,
I'm a reporter.

And I realized
there was something

that I should have
asked about.

At the very end,

as we're literally getting
up from the table, I said,

"What do you care about that
you would fight and die for?"

And he--he just exploded.

- I have fought more damn
battles here for more things

than any president has
in 20 years

and not gotten
one damn bit of credit

from the knee-jerk
liberal press,

and I'm sick and tired of it,

and you can put
that in the damn article.

- He thinks he has
beguiled me especially,

but also Jann.

And this was a signal

that he did not succeed
in seducing me.

- And you get
no credit around here

for fighting and bleeding.

And that's why
the know-nothings

and the do-nothings
and the negative people

and the right-wingers
always win...

because of the way
people like you

put questions
to people like me.

Now, that's the truth, Bill.

- I'd been toe-to-toe

with angry politicians
over the years.

He was more personal
in his tone and bearing.

- And I'm sorry
if I'm not very good

at communicating it,
but I haven't got

a hell of a lot of help
since I've been here either.

- Thank you.

- I think Bill was
a well-intentioned good man.

As a president, he was
a little slick by half

and flawed and--

and somewhat
undisciplined as a person,

but you do have
to accept in politics

and in life that it's
not all going to be pure,

and it's not all going to be
exactly what you wanted.

- I misled people,
including even my wife.

I deeply regret that.

I can only tell you I was
motivated by many factors.

First, by a desire
to protect myself

from the embarrassment
of my own conduct.

I was also very concerned
about protecting my family.

Indeed I did have
a relationship

with Ms. Lewinsky
that was not appropriate.

In fact, it was wrong.

- ♪ I've stepped in the middle
of seven sad forests ♪

- Do we need to let
the impeachment process

continue much further?

Vote down this inquisition.

- My memory of that period
was that Jann and me--

we didn't see this story
the same way.

- In this special issue,

we have collected
many of the voices

of our culture,
speaking out

to Congress
and to the media.

- I thought that Democrats
were being way too forgiving,

including women who called
themselves feminists.

- I wrote this
one very strong piece

to say people on the left
were tolerating things

they shouldn't have tolerated.

- That's part
of that explosion

in our famous
White House interview,

'cause I was going right at it
in that question I asked,

and he knew
that he was selling out.

- ♪ I heard
one person starve ♪

♪ I heard many people
laughing ♪

- The distortions
that both political parties

get away with constantly,

left us with an electorate
that's mad as hell,

and they don't want
to take it anymore.

- ♪ And it's a hard ♪

♪ It's a hard,
it's a hard ♪

♪ It's a hard ♪

♪ It's a hard rain's
a-gonna fall ♪

♪ ♪

- ♪ You're all
I ever wanted ♪

♪ You're all I ever needed,
yeah ♪

♪ So tell me
what to do now 'cause ♪


♪ I want you back ♪

- In a distant
demographic echo

of the Baby Boom,
the American teen population

has reached
the kind of critical mass

that makes the culture
industry sit up and listen.

Welcome to the new Teen Age.

- They sing well,

and they're very hot,
and I really just love them.

- Teen pop became this huge
phenomenon in the late '90s.

So we would
do Britney Spears

and Backstreet Boys.

Every generation of
readers thinks that magazine

has sold out,
because they're putting

who's currently popular
on the cover,

not who was popular
when they were 17 or 18.

You know, it's like,
we weren't gonna put

Grace Slick on
the cover in the '90s

just because she
had been cool in 1974.

[chuckles] You know?

There was a pretty
hardheaded approach

to figuring out the covers.

What we're really
thinking is, like,

you know,
"What's going to sell?"

- ♪ Back ♪

[crowd cheering]

♪ ♪

- I guess my way
of reliving my youth

and sharing this with her.

- ♪ I want you back ♪

- Even though
my leg is broken,

I came here because
it's the kind of thing

a good parent
would do for their child.

all: You're the one I want!

- Louder!

all: You're the one I need!

- ♪ Girl, what did I do? ♪

♪ ♪

♪ You're the one I want ♪

♪ You're the one I need ♪

♪ So tell me what to do ♪

♪ You're all I ever wanted ♪

♪ You're all I ever needed ♪

- I'm not,
in any way, ashamed

of the amount of coverage
we gave to various pop stars.

If you look at what
teenage America is thinking

and you understand
what's changing

in their morality
and their values--

it's important
to know that

because soon enough
they're young America,

and soon enough they're
young adult America.

- ♪ You back ♪

[wild cheering]

- When I got the call
from "Rolling Stone"

asking if I would write
about Britney Spears,

I immediately said yes,

and the next thing I did
was ask my girlfriend,

"Who is Britney Spears?"

- Two, three...

- I probably started dancing
when I was three years old.

It's tough.
- Okay, music.

[upbeat dance music]

- She had a sort of steel core
of show biz values.

This is the kind of girl
who would get up

at the second grade
talent show

and knock everybody out with
her version of "Tomorrow."

- I really love living
in Louisiana.

- Britney Jean Spears
is a golden child,

the chart-topping
apotheosis of a generation

that's breathing life
into an imperiled business.

- ♪ You drive me crazy,
I just can't sleep ♪

- First came the Britney
Website, email address,

an 800 number advertised

on several hundred
thousand postcards.

In summer 1998,
Spears performed

at 26 malls
across the country.

- It occurred to me that we
were going back to the '50s,

when you had people
like Frankie Avalon,

Annette Funicello,

these very
wholesome pop stars

just singing, you know,
boy-girl love songs.

- ♪ Got my new gown ♪

♪ Let me hair down ♪

♪ All I need now
is the boy ♪

- ♪ I got my striped tie ♪

♪ Got my hopes high ♪

♪ Got the time and the place,
and I've got rhythm ♪

♪ Now all I need
is the girl to go with them ♪

[Britney Spears's
"Sometimes" begins]

♪ ♪

- The Britney Spears
that I met

had this very chaste
persona, really.

When she talked
about her cover shoot,

she thought it would be
a good idea if she dressed up

in vintage lace dresses

in some quaint
antebellum setting.

[Britney Spears's "...Baby
One More Time" begins]

Of course,
when the photographer,

David LaChapelle,
rolled up in rural Louisiana,

his vision
for America's new sweetheart

was more like Jodi Foster
in Taxi Driver.

♪ ♪

- ♪ Oh, baby, baby ♪

♪ How was
I supposed to know ♪

♪ That something
wasn't right here? ♪

- She was similar
to the kind of pop stars

that they had
in the '50s, but by 1999,

she was often wrapped in
the imagery of soft-core porn.

- ♪ Show me
how you want it to be ♪

♪ Tell me, baby ♪

- It was regressive,
but it was wrapped up

in the styles of the day,

which goes to show
that there was a generation

that knew
how to have it both ways.

- ♪ When I'm not with you,
I lose my mind ♪

♪ Give me a sign ♪

♪ Hit me, baby,
one more time ♪

[school bell rings]

- What's always struck me
as odd, "Rolling Stone,"

their highest-ranked covers
are Dylan, right?

And that famous George Bush
cover and, like, Jimi Hendrix,

but this is what people
were thinking about

and talking about.

- I mean, a lot has been said
about Britney

being a toy
of some male impresarios

and that she herself
was not the genius

behind the Britney

- ♪ Baby, can't you see
I'm calling? ♪

♪ A guy like you
should wear a warning ♪

- But the fact is that she won
a Grammy for "Toxic."

She was like a football
quarterback on that stage.

She never missed a beat,
and she never missed a step.

- ♪ I need a hit,
baby, give me it ♪

♪ You're dangerous,
I'm loving it ♪

- But I do think of her

as a celebrity
culture tragedy

and a tragedy of fame.

- ♪ I'm on a ride ♪

♪ You're toxic,
I'm slipping under ♪

- That out of the ashes
of Britney Spears,

Rihanna and Katy Perry
and Beyoncé

all rose like a phoenix.

There were some very
serious conversations

that went on among
managers and producers

and pop stars about,
how does this not happen?

You don't want to go so crazy
that you end up on the cover

of "Rolling Stone"
for the wrong reason.

- Vanessa Grigordia--

I'm sorry, I--

Vanessa, I knew I was
gonna mess up your name.

She's written a cover story
about Britney Spears

for the current issue
of "Rolling Stone" magazine.

You describe one occasion

where she really kind of lost
it with a fan and a cashier.

Can you give me
the crib notes on that?

[The Cure's "Pictures of You"

- February 21, 2008--

a pop star at the mall

is an eternal
cause for happiness.

One moment, shoppers
in the Westfield Topanga mall

are living in the real world,

but upon the rapture
of Britney Spears,

they are giggling, laughing,

already sharing
their secret on cell phones

as Britney beelines for
the Betsey Johnson boutique.

- ♪ I've been looking so long
at these pictures of you ♪

- Britney rifles
the racks as The Cure's

"Pictures of You" blasts
in the airless pink boutique.

A crush of managers
try to keep the peace,

but the crowd running
after Britney gets larger,

and now the shop girls have
started to catch up to her,

one of them
slipping spectacularly

in her platform shoes.

She pulls herself up,

mustering the strength
to tap Britney's shoulder.

"Um, I'm from
the South, too," she mumbles.

"And I was wondering if I
could get a picture with you

for my little sister."

Britney whirls around
and stares the girl

deep in the eyes, her lips
almost vibrating with anger.

"I don't know
who you think I am, bitch,

but I am not that person."

[Britney Spears's
"Piece of Me" plays]

- ♪ Oh, yeah ♪

- ♪ I'm Miss American Dream ♪

♪ Since I was 17 ♪

- The huge issue with her
was just that she collided

with the height
of paparazzi culture.

- ♪ Pictures of my derriere
in the magazine ♪

♪ You want a piece of me,
you want a piece of me ♪

♪ I'm Miss Bad Media Karma ♪

♪ Another day,
another drama ♪

- I do feel like
I have been attacked

for being too harsh
on her in the story.

- ♪ And with a kid
on my arm ♪

- And I think,
in retrospect, I was.

- If there is one thing
that has become clear

in the past year
of Britney's collapse,

the most public downfall
of any star in history,

it's that she doesn't
want anything to do

with the person
the world thought she was.

She is not a good girl.

She is not
America's sweetheart.

She is an inbred
swamp-thing who chain-smokes,

doesn't do her nails,
and screams at people

who want pictures
for their little sisters.

She is the perfect celebrity
for America in decline.

Like President Bush,
she just doesn't give a fuck.

But at least we won't have
to clean up after her mess

for the rest of our lives.

[jet engine whooshing]

- I remember, in the time
I was brought in,

being struck by the way
"Rolling Stone" was perceived.

I was interviewed on CNN, and
the host of the program said,

"'Rolling Stone, ' I thought
they just covered music."

That was really the
reputation of the magazine.

People didn't know

P.J. O'Rourke
and Hunter Thompson.

The great tradition
that the magazine had

on the political scene
had really been forgotten,

even by people in journalism.

- So, at that moment,
Jann was really focused

on restoring the magazine
as a primary source

of hard-hitting
political journalism.

"Rolling Stone" interviewed

every president
it could interview.

Certainly we would have
interviewed George W. Bush

had he let us.

And Obama arrived
in such a history-making way.

Obama was the first president
where the magazine decided

to endorse a Democratic
candidate for president

before the primaries
were over.

- At that time,
there was the war in Iraq.

There was the financial
meltdown in 2007 and 2008.

There was no shortage
of pressing political issues.

While there were
all those issues,

there were still
a lot of stories

that weren't being told
in a very compelling way.

I had been lobbying
for months and months

to do a piece
on Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was kind of
off the radar at that moment.

But I was really convinced
that there must be some way

back into Afghanistan.

And then we met
Michael Hastings.

- I'm not trying to be
a smartass here,

um, though it takes effort

for me sometimes,
and I apologize for that.

Uh, working for "Newsweek,"
the most interesting parts

of my stories were
actually being taken out.

The news was always there,
but it was, you know,

the offhand comment,
what people really say,

how people really act,
what it was like to be there.

These sort of details
that I find really fascinating.

When I decided to leave
"Newsweek," one of the things

I wanted to do was capture
all those details.

- Michael was
absolutely obsessed

with Hunter S. Thompson--

shocker for a young
journalist like him, uh,

but, you know, he even
named his corgi Gonzo.

Writing at "Rolling Stone"
was something

that was always
very aspirational for him.

- "Rolling Stone" is a rock
and roll-style journalism.

You know, no holds barred,
kick down the doors,

you know,
toss the hand grenade,

expose the powerful,
sort of journalism.

- He went in to pitch
about five articles,

and one of them was
that he wanted to profile

General McChrystal,
who was the commander

of forces in Afghanistan.

At the time, he said,
you know,

"I don't know if I'll get
any access at all."

- Michael himself thought

he was never going to get
to see McChrystal,

that McChrystal
would turn him down.

And I said,
"Well, give him a call,

because I think
you'll be surprised."

"Rolling Stone" at that point
had really remarkable access

to the military
for a very simple reason,

which is that the U.S.
military wanted to recruit

and send our readers
into battle.

- ♪ Only in dreams ♪

♪ We see what it means ♪

♪ Reach out our hands ♪

♪ Hold on to hers ♪

- So he called up
McChrystal's folks,

and lo and behold,
they said, "Come along,

and we'll give you
all kinds of access."

- ♪ And so it seems ♪

♪ Only in dreams ♪

- Generals tend to be

and their press aides aren't
just, you know, giving you

unfettered access.

It was just so bizarre, and it
doesn't happen like this.

It had never
happened like this

in his previous reporting.

It really was "Almost Famous"

but with
the rock star general.

- McChrystal is a snake-eating
rebel, a Jedi commander.

He carries a custom-made set
of nunchakus in his convoy,

engraved with his name
and four stars.

And his itinerary often bears
a fresh quote from Bruce Lee.

"The fucking lads
love Stan McChrystal,"

says a British officer.

He went out on dozens of
nighttime raids unannounced,

with almost no entourage.

You'd be out
in Somewhere, Iraq,

and someone would take
a knee beside you,

and a corporal would be like,
"Who the fuck is that?"

And it's fucking
Stan McChrystal.

♪ ♪

Paris is the most
anti-McChrystal city

you can imagine.

It's a Thursday night
in mid-April,

and the commander
of all U.S. and NATO forces

in Afghanistan is sitting
in a four-star suite

at the Hotel Westminster.

He's in France to sell
his new war strategy

to our NATO allies...

to keep up the fiction
that we actually have allies.

Last fall
McChrystal dismissed

the counter-terrorism strategy

by Vice President Joe Biden

as shortsighted,
saying it would lead

to state of "Chaosistan."

Now, flipping through
printout cards

of his speech in Paris,

he and his staff imagine
the general dismissing

the vice president
with a good one-liner.

"Biden?" suggests
a top adviser,

"Did you say, 'Bite me'"?

In private, Team McChrystal
likes to talk shit

about many of Obama's top
people on the diplomatic side.

One aide calls Jim Jones,
a retired four-star general

and veteran of the Cold War,

a clown who remains
stuck in 1985.

- It was very apparent
that the opening section,

in particular, where
they're saying nasty things

about Joe Biden
and displaying

their contempt
for the presidency

and the commander in chief
fairly openly

was really explosive,

but Michael was telling me
that he was convinced

that McChrystal
was untouchable

and that nothing could happen
to McChrystal.

[sirens wailing, gunfire]

- World Police!
Get down on the ground!

- The general's staff
is a handpicked collection

of killers, spies, geniuses,

and outright maniacs.

- You lose.

- They jokingly refer to
themselves as "Team America,"

and they pride themselves
on their can-do attitude

and their disdain
for authority.

[dramatic music]

♪ ♪

After arriving in Kabul,

Team America set about
changing the culture.

McChrystal banned
alcohol on base,

kicked out Burger King
and other symbols

of American excess.

- McChrystal himself keeps
a murderous schedule.

Up at 4:30, this is
his idea of leisure time.

- In the month
I spend around the general,

I witness him eating
only once,

a staple in almost
every media profile.

- He eats one meal a day.

Anything more makes
him feel sluggish.

- You have what you have,
and that's all you need.

You realize you don't need
a lot of other stuff.

One thing of course
you miss is family,

but besides that, it's--
it's pretty much perfect.

- It's a kind
of superhuman narrative

that has built up
around him,

as if the ability to go
without sleep and food

into the possibility

of a man single-handedly
winning the war.

- General McChrystal was
challenging the status quo.

You know, McChrystal wouldn't
allow Fox News to be played.

He wasn't your typical
Republican general.

That was something that
Michael found fascinating.

He found Mike Flynn,
who at the time

was General McChrystal's
intelligence chief,

also to be a really
interesting character.

It was, you know,
a lot of men

who had really
dedicated their lives

to fighting these wars and had
suffered great loss,

and so, I think on some level,

they got
each other's mentality,

but at the end of the day,

he was going to be honest
no matter what.

He saw as his main

telling the truth
to his readers.

- After nine years of war,

the Taliban simply remains

too strongly entrenched
for the U.S. military

to openly attack.

There is a reason
that President Obama

studiously avoids
using the word "victory"

when he talks
about Afghanistan.

Winning, it would seem,
is not really possible,

not even
with Stanley McChrystal

in charge.

- I remember walking

into the managing editor's
office and saying,

"I think this story is really
going to get some attention."

I remember no one else
taking that very seriously

at the time.
It was kind of like,

"Oh, yeah, really?
Okay, great."

But there was no moment
of recognition

until the morning
that the story hit.

- "Rolling Stone"
making trouble.

How did you get the leading
general trashing the President,

trashing the ambassador,
trashing the head of the--

- The story was supposed
to come out

on a Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday morning,
at 4:00 in the morning

my phone rang, and it was
a producer from "Morning Joe,"

and he said,
"The story has been leaked,

"and President Obama
has called General McChrystal

back from Afghanistan."

The McChrystal story
brought down McChrystal

before it was
even published.

- The conduct represented

in the recently
published article

does not meet the standard
that should be set

by a commanding general.

It undermines the civilian
control of the military

that is at the core
of our democratic system.

- The White House
was fighting.

The State Department
was fighting.

It was openly spoken about
among people who were

over in Afghanistan,

and no one was really
telling the story.

- A lot of blowback
came not from the Pentagon,

but from other reporters
who began to attack

the story almost
immediately, saying,

"This can't be true,"

or, "Michael must have heard
these things off the record

and violated that agreement
by printing them."

- He was a rat
in an eagle's nest.

What he did is removing
a fine soldier

who's risked his life for this
country time and time again.

- Okay, okay, I got it.
Geraldo, we got it.

"Rolling Stone" says it ran
the quotes by McChrystal.

Do you believe that?

- I--I--
If they say they did,

I know Jann Wenner,
I assume that it's true.

I have to take him
at his word.

- He really broke
an unspoken code

of putting
military leaders

up on a pedestal,
and by stripping off

that veneer
and reporting honestly,

he got so much flak.

- Michael Hastings,
if you believe him,

says that there were
no ground rules laid out.

And, uh, I mean that
just doesn't really

make a lot of sense to me,
because I know these people.

They never let their
guard down like that.

To me, something
doesn't add up here.

I just--I don't believe it.

- It wasn't so much
that they played

by certain rules
and we didn't.

The real issue was that
they were beat reporters.

They covered this
day in and day out.

So they had to make
certain choices every day

about the things that they saw
and the things that they heard

and whether
sharing them would mean

that they wouldn't
be allowed back in the room.

It disappointed me
that they would attack Michael

when what Michael did

was a very different kind
of journalism.

- What it illuminated was
the extremely cozy relationship

that many in my profession
have established

with--with very
powerful figures

and how much they cherish
that relationship.

Basically, the criticism is,

"Wait. This guy wrote down
what he heard and saw.

Wait a minute. We're not
supposed to do that."

- The McChrystal story
was the biggest story

that "Rolling Stone"
had ever had online,

because it's history.

It was a piece of history,

and that work,

the work of long journalism,
in-depth journalism,

deep-dive journalism,

there's still
a hunger for it.

- In the early-morning hours
of June 18, 2013,

Michael Hastings died in
a car crash in Los Angeles.

A colleague remembers,
part of his passion

stemmed from a desire to make
everyone else wake the fuck up

and realize the value
of the life we're living.

He always sought out
the hard stories,

pushed for the truth, and let
it all hang out on the page.

[indistinct chatter]

- The very first
editorial meeting I went to,

it was a story-idea meeting,
and Jann was leading it.

I was the only woman
at the table,

and so I was thinking of
stories that I might be able

to bring to the paper
that would be important.

The level of violence
towards women

was at that time
completely unknown.

So I had thought that
if people understood

what a rape was,

what an actual rape was,

what--what a rape did,
that it took

the most, uh...

precious relationship
between two people

and turned it
into the most horrible thing--

And I thought that if we
could really get a rape case

and simply go through
the rape case,

it would wake people up.

Well, when I started
to tell this story,

of course
I was a nervous wreck,

and someone
at that table said,

"Why don't you just lean back
and enjoy it?

Then it wouldn't
be a rape."

I, um, was carrying on

about how the story
would be constructed,

how the ideas,
what the ideas would be,

and there was still
this titillating laughter,

and I turned around
and looked at Jann,

and Jann was looking at me
just like,

"Yes, yes."

He wasn't laughing.
He took me seriously.

- Sipping from a plastic cup,
Jackie grimaced

then discreetly spilled
her spiked punch

onto the sludgy
fraternity house floor.

The University of Virginia
freshman wasn't a drinker,

but she didn't want to seem

like a goodie-goodie
at her first frat party.

She smiled at her date,
whom we'll call Drew,

and he smiled
enticingly back.

She took his hand
as he threaded them out

of the crowded room
and up a staircase.

Drew ushered Jackie
into a bedroom.

The room was
pitch-black inside.

Jackie began to scream.

"Shut up," she heard
a man's voice say

as a body
barreled into her,

sending them both crashing
into a low glass table.

There was a heavy person
on top of her,

and another person
kneeling on her hair,

hands pinning down
her arms

and excited male voices
rising all around her.

"Grab its motherfucking leg,"
she heard a voice say,

and that's when Jackie knew
she was going to be raped.

- I'm drawn to stories

about people
who do bad things

or bad things
have been done to them,

especially people
who deceive other people.

I think that
really fascinates me.

And then on the other end,
I'm really interested in,

like, the repercussions
of all those bad things.

You know,
what happens to people

when bad things
happen to them?

- Sabrina was very, very
valuable at "Rolling Stone,"

like an MVP.

She was somebody
that they could count on.

She turned out a lot
of really good stories

that were really hard,
and she nailed them.

- A chilling account
of a gang rape

at the University of Virginia
has reignited a tension

over the problem
of sexual assault on campus.

In this case, it is provoking
new investigations

and questions
about the university's response

to assault cases

and whether it has
covered them up.

The story appears
in "Rolling Stone" magazine.

It's an account
of what happens

to an unidentified freshman
who is called Jackie.

- The article comes out.

The first thing off the bat,
it galvanized everybody.

It got so much attention.

We felt, "Oh, great, look at--

we're causing the issue of
rape on campus to be examined."

Surely a worthy issue.

- Sabrina, thank you
for talking with us.

First of all,
how is she doing?

And what's--is there is
an investigation under way?

Where does it stand?

- Jackie herself is
still incredibly traumatized

by her assault,
and, um, she feels really good

about having spoken out.

Um, it was a very difficult
situation for her to speak out

because she was really
criticized for it by her peers

and very much
discouraged for it.

- And then within
a couple days,

the writer of the article
called up in tears,

saying she doesn't trust
her principle source anymore,

and it was like
a punch in the gut.

It just started collapsing
from there.

- Two weeks ago,
a "Rolling Stone" article

with this headline
got worldwide attention.

Well, today "Rolling Stone"
magazine backed off the story.

In a letter to readers,

the managing editor wrote,

- At "Rolling Stone,"
a big part of my job

is managing a lot
of personalities,

a lot of creative people
and sort of figuring out...

how you get the most
out of each person.

These were our best people.

I had no reason
to second-guess.

You know, maybe I should have,
but, you know, I didn't.

- The magazine also
acknowledged its reporter,

Sabrina Rubin Erdely,

never talked
to Jackie's alleged accusers,

saying Jackie
asked the publication not to

for fear of retaliation.

- You've got this very
young woman who's telling you

that she's afraid of
retaliation by this fraternity

where you believe
she has been gang raped.

And the other thing is that

in the ten years that
I worked at "Rolling Stone,"

there were men at the top of
the masthead the entire time.

Being a progressive man,

working at
an antiauthoritarian magazine,

they believed that they
should not question women

about cases of rape.

- Representatives
with the fraternity

released a statement
saying they never had a party

during the weekend in question

and sexual assaults are not
a part of a pledge ritual,

as Jackie alleged.

In an article today,
"The Washington Post" reported

Jackie's friends
recently began

to question her account.

- Nothing like that had
ever happened to us before.

50 years.

- The editors of
"Rolling Stone" committed

one of the worst journalistic
sins in recent memory.

- How can you fact-check
something and not go around

to some other people
who were there and say,

"Is this
how you remember it?"

- This is actually
a tremendous act

of public disservice
to survivors

of rape everywhere
and to the people who are doing

everything we can to make sure
that this becomes

a culture in which we honor
and believe survivors of rape.

- You know,
it was a disheartening

and dispiriting
and sad experience.

The only thing
I could do about it

was commission
an investigation.

So I called up the
Columbia School of Journalism.

We'd open up
everything we had,

all of our records on it,

and would they come
in and investigate

and write a report up
and I promise to publish it.

- "Rolling Stone's"

of the main narrative
in "A Rape on Campus"

is a story of journalistic
failure that was avoidable.

The problem
was methodology.

Journalists with decades
of collective experience

failed to bring up
and debate problems

about their reporting.

- Most of the famous cases
of journalism failure

involve a fraud.

So Janet Cooke invented

and lied to her editors
about that.

So did Jayson Blair.
So did Stephen Glass.

What's so interesting about
the "Rolling Stone" case

is that's not at issue here.

Sabrina Erdely
worked honestly.

She did not invent anything.

She took
really rigorous notes.

And it also wasn't primarily
a failure of fact-checking.

It was a systems failure.

- The fact-checking system

is essentially
based on the notion

that the person
is telling you the truth.

And we had this
extremely rare situation

where someone has made up
a story that is so elaborate

and so complicated at so many
different levels and layers.

- The failure
of "A Rape on Campus"

was not due
to a lack of resources.

"Rolling Stone's"
editorial staff

has shrunk
in recent years,

yet the magazine
continues to invest

in professional fact-checkers

and fund
time-consuming investigations.

Erdely and her editors
had hoped their investigation

would sound an alarm
about campus sexual assault.

the magazine's failure

may have spread the idea

that women
invent rape allegations.

- It was pretty damning.

It did not help us
in the eventual trial.

I mean, we had been writing
these kinds of stories

for a long, long time.

Maybe we were too cocky

or sloppy,

or it was just
dumb fucking luck.

Dumb fucking bad luck.

- We opened ourselves up

to a very transparent

and it wasn't
seen as like,

here's an otherwise trustworthy
place that made a mistake.

It was seen as,
oh, this is those elite

mainstream-media journalists
revealing their true colors.

People used to view
"Rolling Stone"

as being on their side,

and something shifted
more recently where...

you know, it became
just another piece

of the mainstream media
that couldn't be trusted.

♪ ♪

- 2015 was a very, very
bad year for this magazine.

The UVA thing had happened.

We lost our managing editor,
and it was a big blow.

It impacted our reputation,
in that it became very easy

for those on the right
to just call us fake news.

- Um, "Rolling Stone,"
they were fake news before CNN.

The whole UVA hoax--
that was bad.

I'm surprised
they're still in circulation

after those guys
sued the pants off of 'em.

- It was in that summer
that Donald Trump

had announced his candidacy,

and covering this was
a chance for the magazine

to get back to what it has
always tried to do.

Taking what you read in
a newspaper article

and then, you know, zeroing in
on it

and--and finding
what it's really about.

[Alabama Shakes'
"Don't Wanna Fight" plays]

♪ ♪

For the 2016 campaign,

Matt basically
went around the country,

talked to other people
to find out

how we as a country
got to this point.

It was just like in the '70s
when Hunter S. Thompson

reported on Richard Nixon

in his different
Gonzo, bizarro way.

- [squealing]
♪ My lines ♪

- We love you all, folks.
Have a good time.

Make America great again.
Thank you, thank you.

Thank you.

- When I started
to cover the campaign

for "Rolling Stone,"
I realized that the 1972

and 2016 presidential election
had a lot in common

in--in terms of an approach
to covering news.

Hunter Thompson believed,

and I actually
believe this, too,

that there is no such thing
as objectivity.

Objectivity is bullshit.

Every single thing you do
is an editorial choice,

whether it's in a headline,

how big the photo is,
what page it's on.

You're always having
an opinion.

You might as
well just admit it.

- Keeping up with the Trump
revelations is exhausting.

By late October,

he'll be caught whacking it
outside a nunnery.

There are not many places
left for this thing to go

that don't involve kids
or cannibalism.

We wait miserably
for the dong shot.

- He referred to my hands,

if they're small,
something else must be small.

I guarantee you
there's no problem.

I guarantee, all right?
- Okay.

- There's evidence
that human polling

undercounts Trump's votes,

as people support him
in larger numbers

when they don't have
to admit their leanings

to a live human being.

Like autoerotic asphyxiation,

supporting Donald Trump
is an activity

many people prefer to enjoy
in a private setting,

like in a shower
or a voting booth.

- And similar to the way
Hunter Thompson

and Ralph Steadman
had the same sense of humor--

they were both crazy
in kind of the same way--

I work with an illustrator
named Victor Juhasz.

Victor has the same
sense of humor that I have.

He asks me early on
in a story

what the big metaphor
is gonna be,

and I have to come up
with the encapsulating image

before I even write it,
and then he runs with that.

- ♪ I don't wanna fight
no more ♪

- The image that I thought
was the best from this year

was the one
where he sort of riffed

on the statue of the Death
and the Maiden story.

Trump is playing
the role of the Devil,

and he's got his hand

up the Statue of Liberty's

and it's just
an amazing iconic image.

♪ ♪

- I'm always just knocked out
by Matt's writing.

I try my best to top it

with some totally
inappropriate image.

♪ ♪

Back of my mind,
I thought the campaign

with Trump,
it was gonna be chaos.

It could fucking destroy
everything, all right?

But there are a fair amount
of people who would think

it's a great idea
to fucking destroy Washington.

Uh, those were his voters,
you know?

The tornado.

[The Beatles's
"Revolution" begins]

♪ ♪

- [yelling]

♪ You say you want
a revolution ♪

♪ Well, you know... ♪

- Whenever he came in
to his events,

he always had The Beatles
playing "Revolution,"

you know,
with that amazing, like,

guitar riff that comes in,

but, of course,
if you listen to the song,

the song is about
don't be fooled

by false political prophets

who are peddling
fake revolutions,

which is exactly what--
what Donald Trump was doing.

♪ ♪

But he understood
that the dominant emotion

out there
in America is anger.

When he went
into these events,

he did whatever he could

to kind of work the crowd up
into a frenzy.

- Build a wall!
Build a wall!

Build a wall!

- The presidential
election campaign

is really just a badly acted
billion-dollar TV show

whose production costs
ludicrously include

the political

of the audience.

- It drives us apart

during two years
of furious arguments

and prevents us
from examining the broader

systemic problems
we all face together.

- ♪ Someone's got it in
for me ♪

♪ They're planting stories
in the press ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Whoever it is, I wish
they'd cut it out quick ♪

♪ But when they will... ♪

- I could stand in
the middle of 5th Avenue

and shoot somebody,

and I wouldn't
lose any voters, okay?

- ♪ They say I shot
a man named Gray ♪

- Donald Trump's innovation
was to recognize

what a bad TV show
the campaign was.

Any program that tried to make
stars out of human sedatives

like Scott Walker
and Lindsey Graham

needed new producers and a new
script, so here came Trump,

bloviating and farting his way
through his campaign stops,

acting like Hitler one minute
and Andrew Dice Clay the next.

TV couldn't take
its eyes off of him.

- ♪ Now everything's
a little... ♪

- Trump found the flaw
in the American Death Star.

It doesn't know how
to turn the cameras off,

even when it's filming
its own demise.

- You want to challenge me
to a match at WrestleMania?

- Absolutely right.


I will kick your ass.
- Ohh!

- What Trump understands
better than his opponents

is that NASCAR America,
WWE America,

always loves
seeing the preening,

self-proclaimed good guy
get whacked with a chair.

He knows how to play
these moments like a master.

- This is a tough business
to run for president.

- Oh, I know,
you're a tough guy, Jeb.

- And we need to
have a leader that is--

- Real tough.
- You're never going to be

of the United States

by insulting your way
to the presidency.

- Well, let's see,
I'm at 42, and you're at 3.

So, so far, I'm doing better.
- Doesn't matter.

[crowd cheers]

- Mr. McMahon just got--

- ♪ Idiot wind ♪

♪ Blowing like a circle
around my skull ♪

- I don't know what I said.

I don't remember!

- He even mocked
the neurological condition

of Serge Kovaleski.

That left puppies
and cancer kids

as the only groups
untargeted by his campaign.

- Get him out of here.
He's all mouth.

He's all mouth.
Get him out.

- ♪ You're an idiot, babe ♪

♪ It's a wonder... ♪

- Isn't it great to be
at a Trump rally, really?

- What Trump did
is he created

such a cathartic experience

of letting your anger out

that people went out,
and they told two friends,

and they told two friends,
et cetera, et cetera,

and that's how
this movement started.

And I could see
that Bernie Sanders

was on the same thing
that Trump was.

He just had a different take
on things.

They're completely
opposite people.

The way I put it in the--

in the magazine
was that, you know,

Trump would eat a child
in a lifeboat,

while Bernie, you know,
cares about the poor.

- ♪ As I went walking ♪

♪ That ribbon of highway ♪

♪ I saw above me
that endless skyway ♪

- I actually have
a relationship

with Bernie Sanders.

I did this long feature

following him
through Congress.

I really like and respect
and admire him.

- ♪ This land was made
for you and me ♪

- ♪ This land is your land ♪

- At "Rolling Stone,"
there was an assumption

that Hillary was gonna win,

and then there was
a love affair with Bernie.

It was a love affair.

- ♪ To the New York islands ♪

- At "Rolling Stone,"
within the staff,

those under 40
were all about Bernie,

and those over 40
were about Hillary.

- ♪ For you and me ♪

- Jann looked back on
that campaign trail in 1972

with a little bit of regret.

By supporting George McGovern,

Jann worried that they had

basically elected
Richard Nixon

and that was the rationale
that Jann openly referred to

in his editorial
when he decided

to endorse Hillary Clinton.

- "Rolling Stone"
has championed the youth vote

since 1972,
when 18-year-olds

were first given
the right to vote.

We worked furiously
for McGovern.

We failed.

Nixon was re-elected
in a landslide.

- We endorsed Hillary in
the primaries against Bernie,

and I said, "I've been
to the revolution before,

and it's not happening."

Bernie has got much less
of a chance

of beating the Republicans
than Hillary.

I could feel the Bern,
like everybody else.

But as an older guy,
rather than, you know,

the young passionate guy

that I was
in the '72 elections,

I understood, if we're really
gonna get something done here,

we must have somebody
who has all those

somewhat pedestrian things

that go into making
a great leader.

- When Jann
did that editorial,

I just felt like it would be
good to kind of say,

you know, just because
young people got beat once

doesn't mean we're going
to get beat every time.

What was so cool about that
is that there aren't

many publishers or editors
who would allow a dissenting,

um, endorsement
in his own magazine.

- The millions of young voters
that are rejecting

Hillary's campaign this year

are making
a carefully reasoned,

even reluctant calculation

about the limits
of the insider politics

both she and her husband
have represented.

Young people don't see
the Sanders/Clinton race

as a choice between idealism
and incremental progress.

The choice they see is
between an honest politician

and one who is so profoundly
a part of the problem

that she can't even
see it anymore.

- To give undeniable evidence
of our commitment

to justice and equality
by nominating

Hillary Rodham Clinton
as our candidate.

[cheers and boos]

- At the DNC, I realized that
Democrats were in trouble.

The Bernie people--
they are booing her,

and it was speaking
to something

that nobody wanted
to focus on.

I mean, my whole story was
about the hatred of Hillary.

I saw this on both sides,

but especially
with people on the right.

What always gets recognized
with Hillary Clinton

is how polarizing she is,
how controversial she is,

and not why electing her
would have been important

and what it would have meant
to people.

Lock her up! Lock her up!

[Radiohead's "Burn the Witch"

♪ ♪

- The piece began
at the Republican Convention.

It was all about the hawking
of hatred of Hillary Clinton.

The visceral hatred
for Hillary Clinton is--

how dare she even run?

Who does she think she is?

She got to the White House
on her husband's coattails,

and it's really,
underneath it is--

she's a woman,
that's not her place.

In the broader sense,
the 2016 campaign

was a referendum on cultural
attitudes towards women

and how casual misogyny
had been accepted

for so many years.

- Crooked Hillary--
we're going to end

the Clinton corruption

and restore...
[cheers and applause]

- Hillary Clinton is a person
that people love to hate,

so Trump was telling people
what they wanted to hear,

and it worked.

all: Lock her up!
Lock her up!

To his supporters, he sounds
like an ordinary person

because he has
the same passions

that ordinary people do.

- Well, I know one thing,
Mr. Trump has good taste.

- He is exactly
what they would be

if they had
a billion dollars.

You know, he's just a guy
who travels the world,

balling models and talking

about how great it is
to be rich.

That is the American dream,

the modern American dream,
and he's the embodiment of it,

whereas Hillary Clinton

something else entirely.

- ♪ I saw her today
at the reception ♪

- If you want a graphic
picture of the cluelessness

of people
inside campaign bubbles,

just watch Hillary Clinton's
now infamous

Mannequin Challenge.

As a metaphor
for an overconfident

and incompetent
ruling class

that was ten miles up
its own backside

when it should have
been listening

to the anger percolating
in the population,

the Mannequin Challenge
is probably unsurpassable.

Here was a planeload
of effete politicos

all dressed in blazers
and smart glasses,

and buzzed at being
on the same plane

as two Clintons
and Jon Bon Jovi.

If those people
had known the election

was even going
to be close,

they would have outlawed
smiling on that plane,

let alone making
nutty souvenir videos.

- And we're good.
[cheers and applause]

- She was exactly the wrong
person for this campaign.

The college-educated
liberal class

just does not resonate
when the central issue

is about resentments that
have built up over decades.

I remember on one day that
Trump was giving a speech,

the press as always
is behind the rope line,

and he pointed to us,

and he said, "Look at them,
look at those people,"

how we hated him,
we didn't believe in him.

And the crowd physically
turned toward us.

all: CNN sucks!
CNN sucks! CNN sucks!

- If Crooked Hillary Clinton
were up here

and they had this kind
of a crowd,

the cameras would be
showing the crowd all day long.

- He villainized us.

He turned the media
into a character in a story,

and that was the moment
where I realized

that Trump
was on another level.

That and the fact that when
he left, the song was usually

"You Can't Always
Get What You Want,"

which I always thought
was a very strange message.

- ♪ You get what you need ♪

♪ Ah, yeah ♪

- Knock the crap out of him,
would you?


♪ ♪

- Trump unleashed
something dark and violent

in the American psyche.

Pull a lever for me,
he promised,

and you'll horrify them all,
and they did it.

60 million of them chose it.

They wanted us to feel
the way we feel this morning.

They wanted
to watch our faces

as the dream
went up in smoke.

- Okay, you got
enough tape over there?

- Yeah.
- Uh...

- So you, uh--
you've got 45 minutes?

Fire away.
- All right.

Well, so I got
to start with last night

and ask you, you know,
how you're feeling about it

and how you felt last night
when you were watching it.

Could you believe
what you were seeing?

Were you blown away
like the rest of us?

- Well, um, you know,
I'm disappointed,

because a lot
of the work we've done

is only partially complete.

[thunder rumbling]

- It was a grim day.

It was drizzling,
it was raining, gray,

and of all the times
I've been in the White House,

it's this bustling center
of activity and people.

This was
a deserted White House.

It was quiet.

But Obama was there,
and as much as he had

the same contempt as so many
other people had for Trump,

that a man of this character
would become the president,

he had to put
the best face on it.

- There's no benefit
that's derived

from pulling
into a fetal position.

You know, we go out there,
and we work,

and we slog
through challenges,

and over time
things get better.

History doesn't travel
in a straight line.

It zigs, and it zags,
and sometimes you take

two steps forward, and
then you take a step back.

But if you look
at the data from the election,

if it were just
young people who were voting,

Hillary would have gotten
500 electoral votes.

So we have helped,
I think, shape a generation

to think
about being inclusive,

being fair,

caring about the environment.

- You think it's still
a progressive country?

- There's a group
of working-class white voters

who turned out
in huge numbers for Trump.

They are hugely suspicious
of Wall Street,

hugely suspicious
of the establishment.

Whatever policy prescriptions
that we've been proposing

don't reach,

are not heard by the folks
in these communities.

This is not simply
an economic issue.

This is cultural issue.

- ♪ 'Twas in
another lifetime ♪

♪ One of toil and blood ♪

♪ When blackness was a virtue,
the road was full of mud ♪

♪ I came in
from the wilderness ♪

♪ A creature void of form ♪

♪ "Come in," she said ♪

♪ "I'll give you shelter
from the storm" ♪

- Given the strangeness

and the disheartening
quality of our times,

I think when
you turn to Bob Dylan,

you find a mind that's
looking at a bigger America,

an America that
wasn't simply divisions

of conservatives
and liberals.

- ♪ Hunted like a crocodile,
ravaged in the corn ♪

- Dylan was writing
about a sense of history

that ran through
both America's promises

and its sins.

- Mr. Dylan is a poet.

He'll answer questions
about everything

from atomic science
to riddles and rhymes.

- What poets do you dig?

- W.C. Fields,
Smokey Robinson,

Allen Ginsberg.

- Dylan was already
a meteor crashing

through the sky by the time
"Rolling Stone" was born.

- ♪ "Come in," she said,
"I'll give you"... ♪

- But what the magazine did
was start documenting

what Bob's up to
all the time,

and Dylan started using
the "Rolling Stone"

interview format as almost
an existential game.

- ♪ Now there's
a wall between us ♪

♪ Something there's
been lost ♪

♪ I took too much
for granted ♪

♪ I got my signals crossed ♪

- The dialogue between
"Rolling Stone" and Bob

covered our whole 50 years.

He so powerfully expressed
everything that young people

in general and my generation
was going through

as they came up against

all these contradictions
of America.

- ♪ Well, the deputy
walks on hard nails ♪

♪ And the preacher
rides a mount ♪

♪ But nothing
really matters much ♪

♪ It's doom alone
that counts ♪

- Bob Dylan writes
about these are dark lands,

these are dark times.

It is a landscape
in which you

have to be prepared
to face the truth.

"Rolling Stone"
has always been unflinching,

not afraid of the truth.

- ♪ I've heard
newborn babies wailing ♪

♪ Like a mourning dove ♪

- What "Rolling Stone" is,
and certainly was,

and I hope continues
to be really good at

is dissecting a story
that nobody is even aware of

and finding
its larger universal meaning.

♪ ♪

- "Rolling Stone"
never lost its idealism,

but also it got tempered
with a lot of cynicism

and, you know, reality, and--

and yet continued to fight
and struggle for the things

that we believed in,
a generation believed in,

and it's still a struggle.

I mean, it hasn't been won,
it hasn't been lost.

And I think that the heirs
to this generation,

our own children,
our next generation

believe in all those things

and are there
to fight the fight

and will be even smarter.

♪ ♪

In that sense,
time is on our side.

[Muddy Waters'
"Rollin' Stone" plays]

♪ ♪

- ♪ Well, I wish ♪

♪ I was a catfish ♪

♪ Swimmin' in a, oh,
deep blue sea ♪

♪ I would have all you
good-looking women ♪

♪ Fishing, fishing after me ♪

♪ Sure enough after me ♪

♪ Sure enough after me ♪

♪ Oh, enough ♪

♪ Oh, enough ♪

♪ Sure enough ♪

♪ ♪

♪ I went to ♪

♪ My baby's house ♪

♪ And I sit down, oh ♪

♪ On her steps ♪

♪ She said, "Now, come on
in now, Muddy ♪

♪ You know my husband
just now left" ♪

♪ Sure enough,
he just now left ♪

♪ Sure enough,
he just now left ♪

♪ Oh, enough ♪

♪ Oh, well ♪

♪ Oh, well ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Well, I feel ♪

♪ Yes, I feel ♪

♪ Feel that I could
lay down ♪

♪ Oh, time ain't long ♪

♪ I'm going to catch
the first thing smoking ♪

♪ Back, back down
the road I'm going ♪

♪ Back down
the road I'm going ♪

♪ Back down
the road I'm going ♪

♪ Sure enough, back ♪

♪ Sure enough, back ♪

♪ ♪

[bright tone]