In the end, no one involved in the story’s production will be fired, and amazingly, Sabrina Rubin Erdely—who knowingly dodged a series of basic journalistic steps in order to ensure her story could keep its shocking, deliberately non-representative lede—will still write for the magazine. We’ve come a long way since 1996, when Jann Wenner fired senior music editor Jim DeRogatis after eight months on the job for writing a negative review of Hootie and the Blowfish.
Previous to his firing, DeRogatis was told he was a “bad apple and [didn’t know anything about music]” after he filed his review, which was swapped for a positive one; he later told the New York Observer that perhaps Hootie’s eight and a half million records sold had something to do with Wenner’s decision. The day the Observer report came out, he was fired.
The key, if you’re going to survive, would appear to let Wenner write the instantly embarrassing reviews of his buddies’ terrible records himself. (Incidentally, do Wenner’s reviews allow for a Straussian reading? When he calls Lenny Kravitz and Rob Thomas “outstanding artists,” is he just a suck-up with horrible taste and/or the willingness to shamelessly lie, or is the idea to allow for an esoteric reading where the audience figures out that while he’s obligated to give his friend’s record 5 stars nobody should actually consider buying the thing?)