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'Absolutely damning' NPR report accuses Rolling Stone of covering up child porn charges in article on FBI raid of star journalist's home

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Photo by Michael Le Brecht/ABC via Getty Images

An NPR report documented how the Rolling Stone misled readers on a story about an FBI raid on a prominent journalist's house by hiding accusations of child sex abuse against the reporter.

The Rolling Stone report implied that the April 2 raid on the home of ABC News national security producer James Gordon Meek might be a case of the government going after journalists out of political motivation.

The report from October lionized Meek, who had worked for ABC News since 2013 but left the organization after the raid and had a book deal cancelled.

Almost a year later, it was revealed that Meek was being investigated for child sex abuse, and NPR says the Rolling Stone covered up the information.

"Why did Rolling Stone suggest Meek was targeted for his coverage of national security, rather than something unrelated to his journalism?" asked NPR reporter David Folkenflik.

Folkenflik documented from many sources that Rolling Stone editor in chief Noah Shachtman appeared to influence the framing of the story to mislead readers.

The report said that Shachtman even requested that they not use a photograph of Meek for the article but instead use something focusing on the FBI instead.

When the writer of the report was pulled away to care for her dying mother, Shachtman stepped in and edited the report so that it appeared that Meek was raided as a result of his reporting.

In February, the Department of Justice released details about the charges against Meek including the accusation that he had shared a video of the rape of an infant. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The affidavit has shocking details about the evidence the FBI captured in which Meek allegedly had disturbing conversations under the screen name "Pawny4."

"The iPhone 8 contained three chat conversations in which the username 'Pawny4' was engaging in sexually explicit conversations where the participants expressed enthusiasm for the sexual abuse of children. In two of those conversations, Pawny4 received and distributed child pornography image and video files through Kik, an internet-based messaging platform," the affidavit read.

"Have you ever raped a toddler girl? It’s amazing," Pawny4 allegedly asked a 25-year-old male.

NPR reported that the writer of the Rolling Stone article was furious when she found out it had been published with the additional edits by Shachtman.

Critics pummeled the Rolling Stone over the report, calling it "absolutely damning."

"[T]his is utterly appalling. i’ve written for rolling stone, and i have no problem saying it. journalistic malpractice of the highest form," replied Marisa Kabas.

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