Archive for June 18th, 2013

by lizard

Michael Hastings received journalistic notoriety for bringing down The Runaway General, Stanley McChrystal.

Michael Hastings died this morning in a car accident. He was 33 years old.

The mere fact a journalist who was a dick to those in power died is enough to illicit immediate speculation (I’m looking at you, Bob Brigham).

Instead of immediately “going there” it might be more constructive to first focus on why this guy was an inspiration to so many involved in an information war that does indeed produce casualties.

This June 7th piece for Buzzfeed is, I believe, Michael Hasting’s last article. Here’s an excerpt:

For most bigwig Democrats in Washington, D.C., the last 48 hours has delivered news of the worst kind — a flood of new information that has washed away any lingering doubts about where President Obama and his party stand on civil liberties, full stop.

Glenn Greenwald’s exposure of the NSA’s massive domestic spy program has revealed the entire caste of current Democratic leaders as a gang of civil liberty opportunists, whose true passion, it seems, was in trolling George W. Bush for eight years on matters of national security.

“Everyone should just calm down,” Senator Harry Reid said yesterday, inhaling slowly.

That’s right: don’t panic.

The very topic of Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties is one of the most important issues that Greenwald has covered. Many of those Dems — including the sitting President Barack Obama, Senator Carl Levin, and Sec. State John Kerry — have now become the stewards and enhancers of programs that appear to dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years, the very same scandals they used as wedge issues to win elections in the Congressional elections 2006 and the presidential primary of 2007-2008.

Knee-jerk speculation is defeatist, deflating.

Hastings contributed important stories about what kind of characters are in charge of the US death machine, and he wrote about how personal those impacts can be (Michael’s girlfriend was killed in Iraq in an ambush).

From the dick link, by Marc Ambinder:

Michael Hastings was the type of national security reporter I didn’t have the guts to be.

“A dick?”

I guess — well, yes. A dick. A dick to those in power. Fearless. Someone who didn’t care what others thought of him.

It’s a big loss to those of us who value the punches critical journalism should be swinging at institutional power structures, regardless of party politics.

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