Investigative journalist Michael Hastings’s widow discusses ‘The Last Magazine’

Elise Jordan curled her petite frame into the sofa in her sunny apartment in TriBeCa and kept her voice steady as she explained why she pushed to publish the unfinished novel of her husband, Michael Hastings, on the first anniversary of his death.

“I know he’d be so happy right now to be sparking controversy,” Ms. Jordan said.

Controversy was something of a specialty for Mr. Hastings, an investigative journalist who became known for poking sticks at authority figures and digging into issues related to the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He gained national attention in 2010 for a Rolling Stone article that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of United States forces in Afghanistan. He wrote another Rolling Stone article in 2012, long before Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl became an internationally known prisoner of war, that took a critical look at his Army platoon.

His new novel, “The Last Magazine,” to be published on Tuesday by Blue Rider Press, has a lighter touch than his reported pieces but can be every bit as cutting. A satire of Mr. Hastings’s experiences as an intern at Newsweek in 2002-3 as the Iraq war approached, the book skewers characters who seem to be thinly disguised portraits of his bosses there, while serving up a humorous but damning indictment of the mainstream news media’s role in the march to war.

The couple had discussed the novel, Ms. Jordan said, but she had mostly forgotten about it as she grieved over his death at 33 in a fiery car crash in Los Angeles. Then some of Mr. Hastings’s former colleagues at Newsweek sent her the manuscript. She read it through on the first sitting. “I laughed when I read it,” she said. “I thought it was his best book.”

Read on.

 Interesting enough that the FBI opened a file on Hastings. FBI denied it at first. But, it took some journalists to push for FOIA request. From Wikipedia:

The FBI file on Michael Hastings and its attachments (totaling 21 pages) were released to the public on September 24, 2013, after investigative journalist Jason Leopold and MIT doctoral candidate Ryan Shapiro filed a joint suit in July 2013 against the FBI for ignoring their FOIA requests for the file. The FBI failed to respond to the requests within the allotted 20-day period. On  August 15, Leopold released a statement that read, “The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicated that the FBI has likely located responsive records pertaining to investigative journalist Michael Hastings.”  Al Jazeera, along with Shapiro, released results from a FOIA request showing that the FBI’s Washington field office had opened a file on Hastings in June 2012 to store “unclassified media articles” and “memorialize controversial reporting by Rolling Stone magazine on June 7, 2012”. The attorney who filed the FOIA lawsuit, Jeff Light, suggested that it was uncommon for the FBI to open such files on reporters.


The FBI turned over the three-page document to Al Jazeera and MIT doctoral candidate Ryan Shapiro in response to a joint-Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the agency.

Date 19 September 2013, 23:59:57

Click to access Al-jazeera-fbi-michael-hastings-release.pdf


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