Remembering Michael Hastings

This evening news broke that journalist Michael Hastings has died in a car accident in Los Angeles. I'm crushed by this news, and I never knew him. His death is a loss for journalism and for the truth. He told stories others missed, or were too timid to report, and he did it with a brashness and a compelling pace that left no mistake that what he was saying was the truth, raw and uncomfortable.
Hastings fearlessly cared more about the important story than about ensuring his continued access. His account of the second Obama campaign, Panic 2012, was unique in that its coverage was shaped by the fact that he was granted some access, but not much. It was consistently obvious that there was little love lost between the Obama press flacks and the man who brought low their celebrity general.
That general, Stanley McChristal, was cut low by his assumption that Hastings' desire to continue covering him trumped his interest in accurately portraying his team's roguish behaviors and disdain for civilian leadership. "The Runaway General" for Rolling Stone, and its book-length follow up The Operators peer under the carefully crafted media narrative to show a war far more grotesque, more cynical, and less winnable than the one on cable news.
I never knew Michael Hastings, I'm just a guy from Ohio who loves good journalism, but he took the time to reach out to me on several occasions. He thanked me for reading and reviewing both of the aforementioned books, and engaged with me on a couple of other occasions. Trivial as it sounds, I was flattered that he actually followed me back. My heart goes out to his friends, colleagues, and especially to his wife. His voice was important, and it will be missed by everyone who heard it.

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