With Washington agape at Michael Hastings's incendiary Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal, journalists have covered every angle, from rationales for keeping and firing McChrystal to the impact on the war in Afghanistan. Last night, Bill O'Reilly and Rachel Maddow departed from the main thrust of debate, taking to their respective broadcast soapboxes to discuss Rolling Stone's integrity rather than McChrystal's.
O'Reilly, recalling his anger over a "hatchet job" about him written by the same Rolling Stone reporter, questioned Hastings' credibility. "The writer of this article, Michael Hastings, has a long left-wing history, so let the reader beware," seethed O'Reilly.
To be fair to Rolling Stone, Gen. McChrystal has not denied anything in the article. So we'll have to wait to see what the general says when he meets with President Obama. Of course, the situation is just awful. We have Americans dying in Afghanistan and now the commander there is on the carpet because of Rolling Stone? Are you kidding me? Our military in the field cannot afford this chaos.
In contrast to O'Reilly, Rachel Maddow adamantly defended Hastings, asserting that critics are missing the point.
The issue is not Rolling Stone. The issue is not Michael Hastings. I have been the beneficiary of this criticism before, where the news outlet itself gets faulted for what the interview subject said to that news outlet. Are we really supposed to believe that if General McChrystal and his staff had said the same things to some other reporter that they said to Michael Hastings, the reporter wouldn't have published those remarks for political reasons? Seriously?