The FBI raided a notable journalist’s home. Rolling Stone failed to tell readers why

The FBI raided a notable journalist’s home. Rolling Stone failed to tell readers why

NPR reports:

Last Oct. 18, Rolling Stone served up a foreboding scoop: The FBI had raided the home of a renowned journalist at the top of his game months earlier, and he had disappeared from public view.

It should have been a coup. Instead, acrimony inside the newsroom over how that scoop was edited led to accusations that the magazine’s brash leader pulled punches in overseeing coverage of someone he knew. The reporter who wrote the story, enraged, accepted a position at a sister publication two months later. And her complaints prompted a senior attorney for the magazine’s parent company to review what happened.

FBI raids on journalists are rare. News organizations often respond with formal protests and legal challenges. Under a 2021 Justice Department policy, raids, subpoenas and other compulsory means of obtaining materials from reporters are banned for any investigation of matters related to their journalism. The policy became the basis for a significant shift in the stance of the Justice Department toward the press.

The Rolling Stone story created a stir. Reporter Tatiana Siegel stated that the April 22 raid was “quite possibly, the first” carried out by the Biden administration on a journalist.

In this case, the journalist was ABC News national security producer James Gordon Meek. A former investigator for the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, Meek had been with ABC News since 2013. He also was a producer of 3212 Un-Redacted, an investigative documentary that streamed on Hulu.

As published, the Rolling Stone article’s first two paragraphs lionized Meek’s record and swashbuckling style.

“Meek appears to be on the wrong side of the national-security apparatus,” it stated.

As the story noted, Siegel’s sources told her “federal agents allegedly found classified information on Meek’s laptop during their raid.” Siegel reported that Meek left his job at ABC after the raid; a publishing contract with Simon & Schuster evaporated.

As edited by Rolling Stone Editor-in-Chief Noah Shachtman, however, the article omitted a key fact that Siegel initially intended to include: Siegel had learned from her sources that Meek had been raided as part of a federal investigation into images of child sex abuse, something not publicly revealed until last month. [Continue reading…]

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