January 28, 1980
Malone, New York, United States
June 18, 2013
Los Angeles, California, United States
American journalist Michael Hastings was a leading political writer between 2002 and 2012, penning highly informative and frequently critical stories on the United States' involvement in the Middle East and President Barack Obama's foreign policy, before his untimely death in 2013. Born January 28, 1980 in Malone, New York, Hastings was one of three sons of medical professionals Brent and Molly Hastings. When he reached the age of 11, the family moved to Montreal, Quebec; there, Hastings wrote his first articles for Lower Canada College's newspaper. He continued to pursue writing at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington, Vermont, and then at New York University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism in 2002. That same year, Hastings began an unpaid internship at Newsweek while also contributing to GQ and Rolling Stone. In 2005, he traveled to Baghdad to cover the Iraq War for Newsweek,; two years later, he suffered the loss of his fiancée, National Democratic Institute spokesperson Andrea Parharmovich, who was ambushed and killed by gunmen. Hastings recounted the incident and their relationship in his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story (2008). Hastings soon established himself as one of the most hard-charging political correspondents on the current American news scene; among his most memorable articles were an interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, investigations in the U.S. Army's use of drones and psychological warfare, and a profile of prisoner of war Bowe Bergdahl. As important as those stories were, his Rolling Stone feature "The Runaway General," which profiled Army general Stanley McChrystal, proved to be his most powerful piece, both in terms of the depiction of its subject matter and the impact of the piece on American policy in Afghanistan. In the feature, McChrystal, who was then commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in that region, made openly critical remarks about members of the Obama Administration. When the article went to print in 2010, McChrystal was forced to issue an apology before President Barack Obama relieved him of command. Hastings would go on to publish a book about his encounters with McChrystal, titled The Operators, in 2012. Now firmly established as a leading political journalist, Hastings went on to publish Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Story of Obama's Final Campaign (2013), and high-profile features on the Department of Homeland Security's involvement in the Occupy Wall Street campaign. His meteoric rise came to a sudden and violent end on June 18, 2013, when Hastings was killed in a high-speed automobile crash. His untimely death was mourned by many fellow journalists while also serving as fodder for conspiracy theorists who suggested that his death had been ordered by the Central Intelligence Agency, whose director, John O. Brennan, was the subject of an article Hastings was writing at the time of his death. Family members disputed the notion, stating that the accident may have been the result of high levels of stress associated with his work. In 2014, Hastings' only novel, The Last Magazine, received a posthumous publication.