The freelance reporter whose bombshell Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal is being denied access needed to complete a Men’s Health story about helicopters, and has had his invitation to “embed” with the 101st Airborne Division retracted, reports the Stars & Strips.
While units on the ground in Afghanistan have no problem with Hastings, public affairs officials both there and inside the Pentagon are punishing him for his portrait of McChrystal and his inner circle.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul pulled the embed with the support of the Pentagon.
Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell‘s sharp quotes in article don’t match up to the media relations guidelines for warzones, “You’re only as good as your word, and clearly they don’t believe his word is worth much,” said the ABC TV journalist-turned spokesman. An anonymous source supports Hastings’ side of the story.
Stars & Stripes itself tangled with the Pentagon’s embed profiling last summer when one of its reporters was denied access. The Rendon Group lost their contract with the military over the controversial approach.
General McChrystal lost his job as commander of the war in Afghanistan when Hastings’ magazine piece landed in June, laced with damaging quotes from his senior staff about the President and Vice President. He retired shortly after. His humor at his retirement party serve as a kind of warning, “I have stories on all of you, photos on many, and I know a Rolling Stone reporter.”