Michael Hastings was a great journalist even before bringing down the general.
By now you know that President Obama gave General Stanley McChrystal the boot yesterday. It’s the first time in nearly sixty years (since Truman fired MacArthur at the height of the Korean War) that a President has released a commanding general from duty in the middle of a foreign engagement. McChrystal was in command of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, but he has since been replaced by General David Petraeus. Ah, that familiar face.
And who is to blame for the sinking of the general, besides the general himself? An article. In Rolling Stone. The big question is why the hell McChrystal talked to the writer, Michael Hastings, in the first place.
A lot of theories are bouncing around, from the relatively silly (McChrystal was excited to see his name in print in such a popular magazine) to personal (McChrystal just didn’t give a shit what people thought).
But Business Insider gives perhaps the most compelling: Hastings is simply a solid journalist. Hastings was already seasoned before this story, and he was no stranger to intense narrative. The article breaks down “10 Great Stories Michael Hastings Wrote Before He Brought Down Gen. Stanley McChrystal,” including a poignant account of how he met his fiancé in Baghdad only to lose her in a 2007 car bombing.
And if you’re in the mood for one of the best examples of contemporary reporting—regardless of whether McChrystal deserved to be fired—check out the story that ended it all for the general here.