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Michael Hastings' Widow Hits 'New York Times' on Obit | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Michael Hastings' Widow Hits 'New York Times' on Obit


Michael Hastings. (AP Images)

Michael Hastings’ widow, Elise Jordan, has released her e-mail to The New York Times, and an editor’s reply, concerning the newspaper’s online obituary following his death in a car crash Tuesday at the age of 33. She argues that it tries to diminish his famous “Runaway General” article. She also, in a bonus, refers to what she heard on tapes she transcribed for him for his article.

The Times’s response, from its obits editor, indicated it is standing by the obit and would make no change before the piece appeared in print today. Indeed, I see no change in my print copy.

So she’s taking her protest to the paper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan.

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Her concerns relate to exactly what I posted at my blog earlier today—the credibility of the Times claim that a Pentagon probe “cleared” General Stanley McChrystal (the subject of Hastings’ award-winning article) of wrongdoing. Here’s what I wrote:

You may have forgotten, if you ever knew, that an official 2011 Pentagon probe of the late Michael Hastings’ takedown piece of Gen. McChrystal called the article into question. Then again, they interviewed only 15 witnesses—and talked to neither the general nor Hastings! See Rolling Stone’s full defense of the piece. The highlight on the Pentagon report, for me:

The inspectors did suggest that some version of a Biden slur may have occurred, although they said they were unable to establish the exact words and the speaker. “We consider credible a witness’ recollection that General McChrystal said, ‘Are you asking about Vice President Biden? Who’s that?’ and that a follow-on comment or rejoinder of some sort referring to Vice President Biden was made,” the report said. “Witness testimony led us to conclude that someone in the room made a rejoinder about Vice President Biden to General McChrystal’s comment, and that the rejoinder may have included the words ‘bite me.’ ”

Greg Mitchell remembers the prolific and courageous career of Michael Hastings. 

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