The death of controversial BuzzFeed/Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings kept making news Thursday, two days after the award-winning reporter rammed his Mercedes-Benz sports coupe into a palm tree on Hollywood’s famous Melrose Avenue. The Drudge Report today featured two headlines about the fiery crash that killed Hastings:
Colleagues confirmed Hastings was “a nervous wreck” because of fear he was under federal surveillance:
“He was incredibly tense and very worried and was concerned that the government was looking in on his material,” said Hastings’s friend and Current TV host Cenk Uygur. “I don’t know what his state of mind was at 4:30 in the morning, but I do know what his state of mind was in general, and it was a nervous wreck.”
Uygur told KNX-TV: “Michael Hastings was a journalist who definitely gave the government trouble, the Pentagon trouble, so if they were surveilling him it wouldn’t be that surprising.” The Los Angeles CBS affiliate also quoted another friend who said Hastings had begun to be “paranoid” about his fear of government surveillance.
Hastings wrote an award-winning 2010 article for Rolling Stone that resulted in the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Aghanistan. Eleven days before the fatal high-speed crash that left his body burned beyond recognition, Hastings’ final article for BuzzFeed was a denunciation of the Obama administration’s surveillance scandals headlined, “Why Democrats Love To Spy On Americans.”
Critics of Hastings’ journalism were on the defensive after his death, with Fox News host Geraldo Rivera forced to apologize on Twitter for his remarks about the reporter’s takedown of McChrystal, and left-wing columnist Spencer Ackerman excoriating the “haters in the media” who objected to Hastings’ unorthodox reporting. Meanwhile, supporters of Barrett Brown — the former “Anonymous” spokesman who was arrested last fall after threatening an FBI agent in a bizarre YouTube video rant — say Hastings was pursuing an article about the federal charges against Brown:
Before his untimely death, Hastings was working on a story about Barrett, announcing mysteriously to his followers “Get ready for your mind to be blown.” Hastings had been in touch with Barrett’s lawyers, and intended to interview him in June for the story. Barrett has been in prison for 281 days pending trial, and faces over a hundred years imprisonment for what Hastings called “trumped up FBI charges regarding his legitimate reportorial inquiry into the political collective known sometimes as Anonymous.”
Notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones wrote on his InfoWars site, “Journalists who mess with government and military power often die under mysterious circumstances,” and Wednesday claimed on Twitter: “Looks like Hastings was killed with a car bomb!” Watch video of Cenk Uygur talking about Michael Hastings on Current TV: