I’ve just read a brilliant piece in LA Weekly about the last weeks and months of Michael Hastings life. Michael was a war correspondent and investigative journalist, best known for bringing down a US Army general with a Rolling Stone profile. He died in a car crash in June, aged 33.
Michael was one of my heroes. He had a fuck you attitude to power. He didn’t play the “access” game that most Beltway reporters play i.e. toe the line and respect the Establishment in exchange for access to the President and key players. He went after the powerful, showing favour to no one. He was angry. His fiancee, Andi Parhamovich, was killed in Iraq in 2007. He knew the real cost of the war: the families left without sons, daughters, fathers, husbands and wives.
While the press coverage around his death has, at times, descended into conspiracy theories, the LA Weekly piece is well worth your time. It quotes many on the record sources and verifiable facts; it’s a solid piece of work (although US investigative news site WhoWhatWhy has raised questions about the coroner who investigated Hastings death). Swatting aside the conspiracies, it paints a picture of Hastings as a man struggling with his demons, with his mental health deteriorating in the weeks leading up to his death.
Having done no reporting on the subject myself, I can’t say for certain whether this is true or not – although LA Weekly makes a very good case for it. It certainly wouldn’t be unusual for a war correspondent to have undiagnosed PTSD, as the article suggests.
The one thing we don’t talk about in this industry is mental health. War reporters and investigative reporters Read More