The acclaimed journalist Michael Hastings has died in a car crash in Los Angeles. He was 33.
Hastings is best known for the bombshell 2010 story in Rolling Stone which prompted President Obama to fire then-commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal.
But one story doesn’t quite do justice for something more deeply felt: What Hastings stood for. For more on Hastings’ impact on journalists: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/216357/friends-colleagues-remember-michael-hastings/
He will be fondly remembered as a journalist who, in the great Harrison Salisbury’s immortal phrase, “had rats in the stomach.”
I noted in the headline that Hastings was courageous — any time a reporter in these watered-down, celebrity-driven times tries to write a serious piece and bring about a change, that’s pretty courageous.
Hastings fearlessly challenged societal conventions and stuck his finger in the eye of the establishment. Did he get into trouble? Of course!
This is what journalists are supposed to do.
Hastings was a role model to many at Rolling Stone and beyond. I never met him though I suspect that he would have been a tough interview, which may be ironic in a way. He probably had a low tolerance for unnecessary compliments and questions because he always seemed to be in a big hurry to get his next story. I hope I’m right, anyway.
Michael Hastings, and what he represented, will be sorely missed.