iPublicityAgent: MICHAEL HASTINGS, "Fearless" Reporting In The Line Of Duty
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. — In his short 33 years of life, Michael Hastings was on the verge of becoming an instrumental asset in the world of investigative reporting.
Unfortunately, an oddly one-car crash in Los Angeles that claimed his life ended Hastings’ pursuit of the art of journalism, particularly gonzo reporting, a style that invokes subjectivity as much as the objective voice.
An American journalist who lived in New York, Vermont, and Canada Michael Mahon Hastings was an author, contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine, and reporter for BuzzFeed.
After he graduated from New York University, Hastings began as an unpaid intern for Newsweek. He also honed his journalist skills at Gentlemen’s Quarterly. In 2005, he went into the trenches by reporting on the Iraq War in Baghdad.
In 2007, Hastings lost his fiance Andrea Parhamovich, who, along with her envoy, were killed in Baghdad after returning from teaching
a course on democracy. Parhamovich was an employee for the National Democratic Institute.
Known as a courageous reporter who sought the truth to the end of the earth, Hastings wrote an exposé of U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, “The Runaway General,” for Rolling Stone in June 2010. Gen. McChrystal was then the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in the Afghanistan war.
Due to some unflattering remarks in the article about U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration by sources close to McChrystal, the general was summoned to the White House. Gen. McChrystal publicly apologized before his meeting with the president, but was relieved of duty on June 23, 2010.
Hastings suddenly became a rock-star reporter for the story and wrote a book, released in 2012 entitled, “The Operators.” The book, based on quotes and audio recordings, delve further into Gen. Chrystal’s status and the people included in his circle.
On June 7, 2012, Rolling Stone published another article by, what the magazine coined “fearless” Hastings, called “America’s Last Prisoner of War.” The story profiles Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier who was caught by the Taliban when he drifted from an U.S. Army airbase.
Bergdahl, captured June 30, 2009, was freed in exchange for Afganistan prisoners held by the U.S., but was later charged in 2014 for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Bergdahl was reportedly at odds with the state of war.
Photo Art by Rolling Stone (Glenn Moody)
In May 2013, Hastings himself would later be a critic of the Obama administration, denouncing the president’s foreign policy, use of drones and position on journalists’ rights to exercise Freedom of Speech.
Hastings, while explaining his stance on MSNBC’s morning news show, “UP with Steve Kornacki,” said of President Obama that, “He enshrined killing people and spying on journalists as the two major tenets of his national security state. I think that outrageous.”
Also on that segment of UP, Hastings told Perry Bacon Jr., a MSNBC contributor and reporter for the Griot that his “talking points” from the White House were “stenography” in regard to the drone speech by President Obama.
“I dig your work and I’ve read it in the past as a colleague, but I was not impressed the piece,” Hastings said.
Bacon, who said, “I don’t agree with what Michael said, to be blunt about it,” responded to Hastings’ accusation and tried to clarify the story he wrote.
“He (President Obama) basically said he don’t like the drone program himself is sort of what I heard of the speech,” Bacon said.
“It’s such a cop out though,” Hastings interjected.
Nearly a month later, Hastings was driving his Mercedes Benz C250 Coupé through Los Angeles’ Hancock Park neighborhood at a high-rate of speed, a witness reported as well as security camera revealed.
Supposedly, the vehicle burst into flames before slamming into a palm tree. Hasting died in the fiery crash that took place around 4:30 a.m., on June 18, 2013.
Later that day, upon learning of the passing of Hastings, Rolling Stone reporter Tim Dickinson wrote the following:
“Hastings’ hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power. While other embedded reporters were charmed by (Gen. Stanley) McChrystal’s bad-boy bravado and might have excused his insubordination as a joke, Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war.
“Hard-charging, unabashedly opinionated, Hastings was original and at times abrasive. He had little patience for flacks and spinmeisters and will be remembered for his enthusiastic breaches of the conventions of access journalism.”
PA pays tribute to a true Press Information Officer,
Michael M. Hastings (Jan. 28, 1980 - June 18, 2013)
SOURCES: Rolling Stone