Would You Have Agreed to the Conditions of Sean Penn’s Interview With El Chapo?

By Brian Flood 

When news broke of actor Sean Penn‘s clandestine meeting and controversial Rolling Stone interview with Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, it was about 14 hours until CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter quickly rearranged the show’s rundown to include a breakdown of the first-person account in Rolling Stone. New York Times media reporter Ravi Somaiya and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joined Stelter to discuss the situation.

“I would have interviewed him. I think most journalists would have interviewed him,” said Toobin. “We don’t just interview good people. This would limit our sources a great deal. So, you know, that alone, the decision to interview El Chapo, I have no problem with at all.”

“It’s kind of genre of journalism,” argued Somaiya. “I guess it’s sort of reverse access journalism where the star gets greater access to the news making figure.”

Rolling Stone also agreed to terms that go against the basic tenets of journalism, which was to give the subject (El Chapo) the final say on the article. So we’re asking you:

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