Michael Mahon Hastings (January 28, 1980 – June 18, 2013) was an American journalist, author, contributing editor to Rolling Stone, and reporter for BuzzFeed. He was raised in New York, Canada, and Vermont, and attended New York University. Hastings rose to prominence with his coverage of the Iraq War for Newsweek in the 2000s. After his fiancee,Andrea Parhamovich, was killed when her car was ambushed in Iraq, Hastings wrote his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story (2008), a memoir about his relationship with Parhamovich and the violent insurgency that took her life.
He received the George Polk Award for “The Runaway General” (2010), a Rolling Stoneprofile of General Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO‘s International Security Assistance Force in the Afghanistan war. The article documented the widespread contempt for civilian officials in the US government by the general and his staff and resulted in McChrystal’s resignation. Hastings followed up with The Operators (2012), a detailed book account of his month-long stay with McChrystal in Europe and Afghanistan.
Hastings became a vocal critic of the surveillance state during the investigation of reportersby the US Department of Justice in 2013, referring to the restrictions on the freedom of the press by the Obama administration as a “war” on journalism. His last story, “Why Democrats Love To Spy On Americans”, was published by BuzzFeed on June 7.Hastings died in a fiery high-speed automobile crash on June 18, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Stanley McChrystal interview
In June 2010, Rolling Stone published “The Runaway General”, Hastings’s profile of US Army general Stanley McChrystal, then commander of NATO‘s International Security Assistance Force in the Afghanistan war. The article reported remarks by McChrystal’s staff that were overtly critical and contemptuous of White House staff and other civilian officials. On June 22, the news of the forthcoming article reached the attention of the American print media and the White House. McChrystal immediately issued an extensive apology, and Duncan Boothby, the civilian contractor responsible for coordinating the article with Hastings, resigned. U.S. President Barack Obamasummoned McChrystal to the White House on June 23, and relieved him of command. Hastings offered his views on relations between McChrystal and the Obama administration.
Hastings was originally meant to have controlled contact, which expanded when he had to catch a bus to Berlin with the general and his entourage after international flights were grounded, because of the air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption, which gave him sufficient time to pick up less discreet remarks. How Hastings got access to McChrystal’s inner circles is detailed in a Newsweekarticle. The Huffington Post named Hastings a 2010 Game Changer for his reporting, along with Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone.Hastings was also awarded a Polk Award for his reporting.