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Morning Reading List 06.20.13

Michael Hastings’ wife confronts NY Times — Since Michael Hasting’s tragic death was reported Tuesday, numerous friends, coworkers and journalists have published remembrances and obituaries, most sticking to a pretty obvious guideline of, say, not questioning Hastings’ most well-known and praised piece of journalism, “The Runaway General,” which was featured in Rolling Stone. HuffPost‘s Ryan Grim and Jason Linkins reported that the NY Times, however, did just that, and Hastings’ wife, Elise Jordan, wasn’t happy about it. So Jordan emailed Times editor Jill Abramson after she read Margalit Fox’s obit that was published on the Times’ website Wednesday evening to ask Abramson to correct it before printing it the following day. Jordan quoted parts of the Defense Department Inspector General’s report in a response to the obit suggesting that Hastings’ reporting had been disproven. Abramson sent the email to Bill McDonald, obituaries editor, who wrote back to Jordan to say, basically, that she was wrong and that the obituary was correct, making it clear that he wasn’t going to change it before it printed.

Rich Lowry on Rand PaulPolitico published a column by National Review editor Rich Lowry in which he examined Rand Paul’s chance of a 2016 presidential bid. So far, Lowry said, his chances look good, thanks in large part to recent headlines, the NSA surveillance leak being the most recent and helpful to Paul’s case. Lowry runs through a checklist of Paul’s ideals touched on by the secret surveillance program: “ [The NSA] meta-data program couldn’t be better fashioned to play into fears of the government. Is it vast? Yes. Was it secret? Check. Does it arguably run outside the normal checks and balances of government? Uh-huh. Does it raise profound questions about privacy? Roger.” And this leak comes just after the disclosure of the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups and the seizure of the AP’s phone records by the Justice Department. Lowry points out that pretty much all of the headlines are catering to Paul and giving him ammo as he vies to be the Republican front-runner in a crowded field of candidates. It also helps, Lowry explains, that Paul is somewhat of an anomaly in the GOP: he’s interesting. Lowry also makes sure to point out that he’s no “Rand Paul-tie,” but he sees the establishment’s ideals aligning more and more with the unique libertarian conservative from Kentucky.

See what WikiLeaks is up to now…

WikiLeaks capitalizing on recent stories — WikiLeaks has been struggling to stay relevant, and, as The Atlantic’s Alexander Abad-Santos reported, the organization has inserted itself into two of the biggest stories in the current news cycle. Not only did WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange involve the organization in NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s search for asylum Tuesday, but WikiLeaks also thrusted itself into the story of Michael Hastings’ tragic death. On Tuesday night, the organization’s official Twitter account posted a Tweet that read: “Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.” Robinson is, as the article describes her, “something of a human-rights watchdog and a protector of investigative journalists — not just a representative of Assange and his lengthy legal fight.” The article points out that Robinson could be more than a source of help to investigative journalists being investigated themselves, but also a source of information to journalists who are simply reporting. Abad-Santos suggests that the Tweet was just WikiLeaks “getting desperate” to stay revelant. Hastings reportedly died in a car accident in Los Angeles, and toxicology texts will takes weeks to yield results.

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