Michael Hastings, reporter who brought down Gen. McChrystal dies at 33

I didn’t know Michael Hastings, but I definitely knew his work.  He’s the young journalist, now with Buzzfeed, who did the profile of our then-top general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, for Rolling Stone.  Hastings caught McChrystal and his staff taking swipes at the civilian leadership of the military in the White House, including the President himself.

As a result, Obama called McChrystal back to Washington, the general resigned, and Obama took a swipe back at him:

“The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be  met by – set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system.”

Well, the 30 year old reporter who was strong enough to take down a general just died in a car crash at the age of 33.

It’s a lesson about the fleeting nature of life, but also about the importance of journalists and the professional overall.

Michael-Hastings-large

Michael Hastings

We on the left (like those on the right) like to criticize the media, but we’ll be in far more trouble in this country if the only media we have left is Fox News and the Koch papers.  I can never remember if it was Atrios, but I think it was, who once said that the difference between the left and the right was that the left simply wanted the media to do its job, while the right wanted the media to do their job, meaning the right’s job for them.  (Or maybe put it this way – the left wants the media to get better, the right wants the media to get lost.)

And for all of its foibles, the media on average still does far more good than harm.  And I’m not sure people appreciate that point nearly enough.  They also don’t appreciate how hard the job is.  For all the mocking we gave CNN for its Boston Marathon coverage, you trying filling airtime live, unscripted, for hours on end, in the middle of a crisis.  It’s not easy to do it well and make no errors.

It’s also not a particularly thankful job, as you’re bound to tick someone off no matter what you write – and trust me, 99 out of 100 times the folks who write you won’t be the fans, it’ll be the haters :)  Heck, half the people out there hate me for daring to question Edward Snowden’s motives, while the other half hate me for having a sincere admiration for the tireless work of Glenn Greenwald, who broke Snowden story.

I think a lot of readers see the “glory” of having your name print, without fully considering what it’s like to constantly put your name and face out there every single day for a cause you believe in (if you’re a partisan journalist), staking your credibility on getting the story right, and facing the slings and arrows that naturally come with it.

And finally there’s the money.  It’s becoming increasingly difficult to earn a respectable income as a journalist, and a profit as a media entity.  These are trying times for the media, and it worries me what will happen to our country if the only people buying failing papers in a yard sale are the Koch brothers.

So while I’ll remain critical of journalists when necessary, I have a healthy respect and understanding for the job after 9 years of running my own media venture in goods time and in bad.  Yeah, they mess up from time to time, but the world would be a worse place without them.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Winghunter

    The leftist mainslime media ‘doing their job’?? ROFL!

    Former network producer: ‘I’m done’ denying liberal bias in the media http://exm.nr/MrmPE0

    “…After NBC’s Andrea Mitchell was caught using edited video to make Mitt
    Romney look out of touch, Kandra decided he was finished defending what we call
    the “Democrat-media complex.” “Forget it. I’m done,” he wrote, adding: You
    deserve what they’re saying about you. It’s earned. You have worked long and
    hard to merit the suspicion, acrimony, mistrust and revulsion that the
    media-buying public increasingly heaps upon you. You have successfully eroded
    any confidence, dispelled any trust, and driven your audience into the arms of
    the Internet and the blogosphere, where biases are affirmed and like-minded
    people can tell each other what they hold to be true, since nobody believes in
    objective reality any more. You have done a superlative job of diminishing what
    was once a great profession and undermining one of the vital underpinnings of
    democracy, a free press.”
    He concluded by asking NBC: “What the h**l is wrong with you guys?”

  • mpeasee

    Wanted to share this link on reddit, it really needs to
    be shared as much as possible. Hope you are surprised as much as I
    am…the thread is really interesting to read through too, wish it had
    more hits. Click on the title and you’ll link to wordpress and there are
    some interesting links from a DARPA forum and a NOVA profile…it is
    pretty f$%king freaky!

    http://www.reddit.com/user/TurkFromAustralia

  • mpeasee

    Wanted to share this link from reddit, it really needs to
    be shared as much as possible. Hope you are surprised as much as I
    am…the thread is really interesting to read through too, wish it had
    more hits. Click on the title and you’ll link to wordpress and there are
    some interesting links from a DARPA forum and a NOVA profile…it is
    pretty f$%king freaky!

    http://www.reddit.com/user/TurkFromAustralia

  • mpeasee

    Wanted to share this link on reddit, it really needs to
    be shared as much as possible. Hope you are surprised as much as I
    am…the thread is really interesting to read through too, wish it had
    more hits. Click on the title and you’ll link to wordpress and there are
    some interesting links from a DARPA forum and a NOVA profile…it is
    pretty f$%king freaky!

    http://www.reddit.com/user/TurkFromAustralia

  • mpeasee

    Wanted to share this link with you that is on reddit, it really needs to be shared as much as possible. Hope you are surprised as much as I am…the thread is really interesting to read through too, wish it had more hits. Click on the title and you’ll link to wordpress and there are some interesting links from a DARPA forum and a NOVA profile…it is pretty f$%king freaky!

    http://www.reddit.com/user/TurkFromAustralia

  • ezpz

    Let’s hope so.

  • Butch1

    At least this is good news.

  • Sweetie

    Frankly, not going immediately to “CT” reeks of political naivete. Conspiracy is the business of the elite. I’m not being insulting. It’s just a fact. The plebs are trained to believe that “CT” is rare, but it’s not rare. It’s been going on forever, and it will continue.

    The only difference between government and organized crime is a label and more elaborate theater.

  • Sweetie

    excellent, and saddening

  • ezpz

    I think there will be an investigation now. I hope so, anyway.
    Only problem is, I fear, that it will show a hermetically sealed cover up, or worse, more ‘accidents’.

    http://www.maxkeiser.com/2013/06/michael-hastings-contacted-wikileaks-lawyer-a-few-hours-before-death-claiming-fbi-were-investigating-him/

  • ezpz

    Someone posted this link which lends credence to what many/most of us are thinking:

    Michael Hastings contacted Wikileaks lawyer a few hours before death claiming FBI were investigating him

    Read more at http://www.maxkeiser.com/2013/06/michael-hastings-contacted-wikileaks-lawyer-a-few-hours-before-death-claiming-fbi-were-investigating-him/#3esuvAdy7CquHFiu.99

  • AnitaMann

    Yep. I’m reluctant to go CT, but this reeks of WTF? How fast do you have to be driving to blow up after hitting the tree- and rip the engine out of the car? And if you’re going that fast, why? Who’s chasing you? Or couldn’t you stop? And at 4:30 in the morning? Why?

  • ezpz

    YW

  • Betty Roberts

    MMM. no details of “car accident”…wonder if he was run off the road??

  • Butch1

    Something really smells in all of this. It just doesn’t add up. That was a brand new Mercedes and even at 100mph, the motor doesn’t separate from the chassis. This car is supposed to do much faster than that. One witness said it sounded like a “bomb” went off. Indeed!

    Before they sweep the evidence all away, there needs to be an investigation!

  • Butch1

    I know the rules; I like to make sure that it is not missed when I am making a point. It is important to note that he is no liberal at all. There are no other definitions of what a liberal is. He just plain isn’t one. There are none left in the democratic party. Obama derided them during his first four years in office.

    You will notice I do not capitalize democrats anymore either since it is not the party it once was. I used to belong to the old Democratic Party when it stood with the people and backed them. This present party is a iteration of the republican party which doesn’t represent the old Republican Party anymore either in my opinion. Both of these parties have moved to the right. Former President Eisenhower wouldn’t recognize the present GOP for being nothing but the fringe of what was his party when he was in office.

    The only person who has been standing up for us on the left is actually an Independent, Senator Bernie Sanders. One can see him on MSNBC standing up for us tirelessly for Social Security, Medicare and our Safety Net. Hardly a peep comes from any democrat ever. If we are ever going to have liberal support in the Congress we are going to have to go to Independents and elect them to office. That is our only hope for change.

  • Thanks for the link.

  • Sweetie
  • Sweetie

    About the same time we find out what really happened to Bush’s IT guy.

    The guy who was actually warned not to fly because of sabotage.

  • Zorba

    Or even more, the LA police. We may never find out what really happened here. :-(

  • ezpz
  • “If the president does it, it’s legal.” Oh, you mean the kill list and the absolute executive power to kill anyone anywhere? Obama is a tyrant.

  • Don’t ever expect the truth to come out of the LA Times.

  • Car bomb.

  • Don’t waste your energy on Bager L, it’s strictly hit and run with this troll.

  • ezpz

    Someone at CommonDreams posted a link to a video of raw footage minutes after the accident.

    Actually, CD just posted the video on their website
    (It’s the one that’s 5:32 minutes):

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/19-0

  • Stay on topic ah.

  • So, when is the assassination going to be investigated?

  • Some SOB or group is breaking out the ‘Crystal’ and celebrating.

  • ezpz

    Thank you.

  • emjayay

    Biased in what way? By the way, it’s “biased” (adjective) not “bias” (noun).

  • emjayay

    Obama may not be a liberal, or as liberal as we would like at least, but he is certainly in no way a dictator. (Note: no need to capitalize unless it’s part of someone’s title.)
    Nixon, on the other hand once said something like “If the president does it, it’s legal.” He wasn’t a dictator either, but in that instance at least a bit in that direction. As is the “unitary executive” theory beloved by advisors to G W Bush.

  • Jeffrey Karter

    I think the headline should read “killed at 33” instead of “dies at 33”.

    Even if it was a complete accident, he was killed in the crash.

  • Sugapea
  • mpeasee

    …I am thinking the same thing…there is some funky physics here for a engine to be half a block away, and the rest of the car is for the most part intact, burning in a really hot flame with sparks arcing from the fire. It doesn’t make since when you start think about the externalities around the vehicle.

  • nicho

    It can’t happen. That’s what’s so creepy about this. I don’t care how fast you’re going — never mind on a city street. If the car had fallen off an overpass or gone over a cliff and fallen a couple of hundred feet — maybe. Even if this guy were going 200 mph (highly unlikely on that street), making a turn would have dissipated some of the force. Hitting the object, even more. Then, the engine would have had to tear free of its mounts, which, even if it were to happen, would dissipate a hell of lot of energy. Then, it would have to tear free of other structures to which it’s attached. Then, it would have to go through the engine compartment, which, even if everything else had happened, is unlikely. Then, it would have had to have enough force left to travel another 100 feet. Not going to happen. I’ve seen cars in high speed crashes that broke in half — front and back — but nothing traveled very far — and the engine stayed pretty much attached. They don’t put these things on with paper clips.

  • lynchie

    He never sought sanctuary in China and what was untrue about Greenwald’s story. go back to the NSA or CIA or Obama’s apologist cabal and try your bullshit there. We are no better than China although I must say at least they don;t invade foreign countries on a lie.

  • Butch1

    He reported the news no matter whom it affected. Take your right-wing glasses off and perhaps you will be able to see that. He was a great investigative journalist and it didn’t matter who the person was he focused upon, if he was interested in them he researched them. Whatever came out he reported blemishes and all. If he was what you say he was, he would only cherry-pick what he wanted to present. That was not the man he was.

    Another thing, Obama is NOT a liberal; I wish he had been a liberal like he pretended to be. We will never get a liberal into office because bother parties are controlled by a Corporate controlled government. The only way it will ever happen is if we can get third parties involved in the system again.

  • Butch1

    This was quoted in one of the papers from Yahoo:

    “The Los Angeles Police Department would not release the name of a male driver killed in one-car crash at approximately 4:25 a.m. in Hollywood. According to the Los Angeles Times, the vehicle crossed the median, slammed into a tree and burst into flames; the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. According to KTLA, coroner’s officials said the body was too badly burned to make an immediate identification. Video purportedly taken from the scene—posted on LAWeekly.com—shows a vehicle engulfed in flames.”

    ***************************************************************************

    This just sounds so suspicious to me for some reason. This fellow doesn’t sound like that sort of fellow that would do this kind of thing. It smells. The car burst into flames and burnt for a long period of time? I am having a hard time digesting this. Is this a cover-up or something? Did he piss off someone enough to have this happen or was there more coming and whoever may have done this stopped it from reaching the news. I know I am always one to believe some in our government are up to no good but this story just doesn’t feel right to me. I need more information and something not made up. The way this article was written is even suspicious. Am I reading in-between the lines on this one? I hope more develops.

    He was a very good investigative journalist/reporter and he will be missed. There are very few of them in the business. May he rest in peace.

  • Zorba

    Yes. Maybe I need to break out the Reynold’s Wrap and make myself a tinfoil hat because, like you, I am reluctant to go the conspiracy theory route. But this just does not seem at all plausible. I hope that they are fully investigating what remains of the car to determine whether it was tampered with in any way. But I’m not holding my breath, unfortunately.

  • mpeasee

    …I was just amazed to see that the engine was totally out of the car, and half a block away…how fast would he have to be going (velocity= displacement divided by time) how fast would he have to be going to dislodge a engine!

  • cole3244

    if you think obama is a liberal you are either a fool or an idiot, possibly both.

  • Hastings will be missed — he was one of a rare breed: The real journalist.

    And I don’t care if we don’t always agree on everything, John, but so are you.

  • ezpz

    YW.

    Yes, there are just too many things in this story that just don’t add up, imo.

    It was a brand new Mercedes!
    I don’t know if they make them like they used to, but years ago, I had a fender bender in one of those convertible sports models (not mine – it belonged to the guy I was dating at the time). The other car had major damage, yet the small 2-seater convertible Mercedes that I was driving was like a tank! It seemed to only get scratched a bit.

  • mpeasee

    Thanks for sharing the link to the news story…that is crazy about the car engine being thrown out of the car…that is really weird to say the least.

  • mpeasee

    …that’s what I thought too when I saw the photos of the car, and there was know other vehicle. He is/was part of just a few a handful of journalist that challenged, and spoke truth to power. Really gonna miss him.

  • ezpz

    What a tragic loss!

    We can only hope that he didn’t suffer and that he died BEFORE the blaze.
    The report initially said that he was burned beyond recognition.

    RIP, Michael Hastings

  • mpeasee

    Sorry, but I don’t know what your talking about, what was “mostly inaccurate”?

  • ezpz
  • Badgerite

    I only ask of the media that they make an attempt to filter out their own biases, do not take every source a face value, and do the work necessary to report accurately and truthfully. This last time around, I’m pretty sure Glen Greenwald didn’t do anything of the kind. Screeching headlines turned out to be mostly inaccurate and the ‘corrections’ that were never really admitted to be such were buried in language meant to obscure the fact that the underlying story was not really true. He glorified a guy who went off to seek sanctuary in China. In China, it is assumed that the government does all of the things that his source seemed to say the US was doing.

  • mpeasee

    Thanks for the sensible commentary on this John, I am sure he pissed “not” just a few people off, he took down some pretty influential power wielders. Your commentary beats a quick cut and paste by a long shot. Thanks again.

  • mpeasee

    Shocking read this morning, feel as though he is gone too soon. The LA Times quoted the witness saying that the current model Mercedes roadster was speeding, jack-knifed and exploded, the car was really damaged…not easy to look at, and didn’t think cars jack-knifed or exploded when they hit something; well, not a current model.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-michael-hastings-dies-car-crash-20130618,0,7611310.story

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-melrose-collision-20130618,0,7080273.story

  • nicho

    Something smells here. I hate to go all CT, but according to the police report, the engine was found 100 feet from the car. That just doesn’t happen. Do you know how fast you would have to be going to create enough energy to rip the engine of a Mercedes from its engine mounts and then propel it 100 feet through the air — and on city streets? In my career, I’ve seen an awful lot of accidents, some of them pretty horrific. I’ve never seen anything even close to this.

  • olandp

    Well, Dan Mason (Author), you might want to learn Standard Written English before you call yourself an author. Spelling, grammar, verb tense, punctuation are some of the skills needed to be an author, yet are skills that you seem to lack. Since everything for you comes down to abortion, perhaps comprehensive sex education might be an idea that you can support, after all without conception there can be no abortion. Something to think about…

  • Monoceros Forth

    Since he describes Pres. Obama as “liberal” I think we can safely say he’s writing fantasy.

  • nicho

    Rubbish.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Author of what? I can only find your attacks on Gabriele Gifford.

  • Z-wind

    Right on Dan…the article is as bias as the reporting…I hope some day things can get back to common sense.

  • The left wing politics, just like the right, has only one purpose,
    which is to describe life as their dogma dictates. Michael Mahon Hastings well
    represented the lefts outlook and specific position in his reporting. By
    overplaying conversations of General Stanley McChrystal and his team, he
    protected a runaway liberal President who has turned out to be a drone empowered,
    wire tapping Dictator, may his soul rest in peace.

  • Indigo

    May he rest in peace.

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