Journalist Michael Hastings Dead at 33

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.

  1. lizard19

    Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith piece on Hastings.

  2. JC

    And so it begins:

    “From The Operators [Hastings’ book on General Stanley McChrystal and his team, that took him down], Hastings writes that as they drank and sang, several McChrystal staff members make subtle threats, saying:

    ‘You’re not going to f*ck us, are you?’ asks one staff member.

    Hastings responds: ‘I’m going to write a story; some of the stuff you’ll like, some of the stuff you probably won’t like.’

    Another staffer then says: ‘We’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write.’

    Not exactly subtle, in retrospect. Perhaps they followed through with their threat?”


  3. That link went to a puff piece by Marc Ambinder, self described “dick”: Do you have the link to Hastings’ last piece at BF?

    • lizard19

      thank you for pointing that out, draftmama. I fixed the link so it goes to Hastings’ last article, which is titled Why Democrats Love To Spy On Americans.

  4. lizard19

    a potentially significant tweet via @wikileaks:

    Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.

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