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Michael Hastings Leaves Legacy of Promoting Accountability

Michael Hastings

Michael Hastings

Update: Read POGO's 2012 interview with Hastings about his book The Operators.

Renowned journalist Michael Hastings died early Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles car crash first reported by Hastings’ employer, BuzzFeed.

Hastings was best known for his Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal that ultimately led to the general’s resignation, but that was just one example in which the 33-year-old stood out for his commitment to holding the government accountable. Hastings also produced candid reporting from Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, helped expose the U.S. Army’s psychological propaganda program and documented the rising use of drone warfare.

Ben Smith, Hastings’ editor at BuzzFeed, wrote a profile of the reporter he described as unlike any other.

From BuzzFeed:

“Michael Hastings was really only interested in writing stories someone didn’t want him to write — often his subjects; occasionally his editor. While there is no template for a great reporter, he was one for reasons that were intrinsic to who he was: ambitious, skeptical of power and conventional wisdom, and incredibly brave. And he was warm and honest in a way that left him many unlikely friends among people you’d expect to hate him.”

Rolling Stone also published an obituary of its correspondent:

“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.”

Read more about Hastings and the legacy he left behind at Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed.

Below are some thoughts from Hastings' colleagues.

Image from Blue Rider Press/Penguin.

By: Jana Persky
Intern, POGO

Photograph of Jana Persky Jana Persky is an intern for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Government Accountability

Related Content: Miscellaneous

Authors: Jana Persky

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