Jack Baruth, at The Truth About Cars, seemed just as broken-hearted as I am, but is just a trifle more tastefully discreet at concealing his feelings.
The writing-about-writing crowd is abuzz with discussion about the rather unusual death of Buzzfeed/RollingStone/Gawker writer Michael Hastings. Mr. Hastings, whose name is never mentioned in the press without the immediate mention that he was â€œthe fearless journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystalâ€, died in a single-car accident in Los Angeles yesterday morning. This in and of itself is not unusual, but the circumstances of the crash and its aftermath wonâ€™t do anything to quiet the conspiracy theorists who are already claiming that the military-industrial complex found a way to cap the guy. …
Mercedes-Benz USA is no doubt sweating bullets over this one. An eyewitness report says that Mr. Hastings was driving at an excessive rate of speed down a suburban street when his car â€œsuddenly jackknifedâ€ and hit a tree â€œwith the force of a bombâ€. The Benzo, which by the wheels and quarter-panel appears to be the relatively prosaic but cheerfully stylish C250 four-cylinder turbo coupe, proceeded to throw its powertrain out of the engine bay, immediately catch fire in a manner typically reserved for episodes of â€œMiami Viceâ€, and burn its driver until said driver was charred beyond recognition. …
Mr. Hastingsâ€™ aggressively Democrat-friendly storytelling has the Internet already considering the idea that his death was engineered somehow. I canâ€™t say itâ€™s totally unlikely. As noted above, the reported (and videotaped) behavior of the C250 was not in line with what weâ€™d expect. On the other hand, surely itâ€™s expected that a respected, mature writer on non-automotive topics wonâ€™t be barreling through a suburb so fast that any tree he hits will cause his car to burst into flames, right? Weâ€™ll keep an eye on this to see what, if anything, develops.
Michael Yon adds:
Michael Hastings was killed in a car crash in Los Angeles. The single car accident happened at about 0425. He crashed into a tree and was burned beyond recognition. He was 33.
Mr. Hastings was the war correspondent whose Rolling Stone article led to the firing of General Stanley McChrystal, who at the time was the top General in Afghanistan.
Although Hastings was widely read, no serious war correspondents took him seriously, or at least not the ones I know. … Hastings was like an undisciplined hitman with a pen and license to kill. One of his gonzo articles damaged the career and reputation of Lieutenant General Bill Caldwell, for no cause. My sense was that he picked fights with key people mostly to draw attention. Though Hastings was not respected among war correspondents, it is sad to see a man die so young so horribly. Just why he crashed into a tree at 0425 remains unknown. No doubt the conspiracies will begin to fly.
New Joke: What do you call a metrosexual Rolling Stone attack dog journalist’s explosive collision with an LA palm tree? A good start.