33-year old journalist, Michael Hastings, winner of a Polk Award, author of the article "The Runaway General" in Rolling Stone Magazine, as well as the book, "The Operators ", and who will most likely be remembered for taking down the career of General Stanley McChrystal, died yesterday in a fiery car crash.
One witness to the crash said it "sounded like a bomb went off. " Hollywood producer, Gary Grossman, described the scene by saying, "I couldn't have written a scene like this for a movie where the engine flies from the car which was about 60 yards up right down here to this telephone pole." While single car accidents are certainly not uncommon, a car exploding and throwing the engine almost the length of a football field certainly is uncommon. Especially a brand new Mercedes.
Hastings was about to start work on an article about Barrett Brown, the investigative journalist (Salon, Vanity Fair amongst others), author and alleged mastermind behind Anonymous who is currently awaiting trial in prison for allegedly sharing data hacked from Stratfor. Hastings also had harsh words for President Obama's drone speech.
“Besides Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, most Democrats abandoned their civil liberty positions during the age of Obama. With a new leak investigation looming, the Democrat leadership are now being forced to confront all the secrets they’ve tried to hide." -- Michael Hastings
A few other relatively young journalists who died before their time:
Gary Stephen Webb (August 31, 1955 – December 10, 2004) was a Pulitzer prize-winning American investigative journalist. Webb was best known for his 1996 "Dark Alliance" series of articles written for the San Jose Mercury News and later published as a book. In the three-part series, Webb investigated Nicaraguans linked to the CIA-backed Contras who had allegedly smuggled coc aine into the U.S. Their smuggled coc aine was distributed as crack coc aine in Los Angeles, with the profits funneled back to the Contras. Webb also alleged that this influx of Nicaraguan-supplied coc aine sparked, and significantly fueled, the widespread crack coc aine epidemic that swept through many U.S. cities during the 1980s. According to Webb, the CIA was aware of the coc aine transactions and the large shipments of drugs into the U.S. by Contra personnel.
On December 10, 2004, Gary Webb was found dead from two gunshot wounds to the head. Sacramento County coroner Robert Lyons ruled that it was suicide, noting that a suicide note was found at the scene.