‘How Rolling Stone was able to bring down a general’ by Guy Adams
Rolling Stone — a fluffy magazine or hard-hitting journalism? The press team behind General Stanley A. McChrystal, Commander of US forces in Afghanistan, assumed the former in hopes of increasing public favor and ‘reaching a different demographic’. In doing so, he allowed freelance journalist, Michael Hastings, into what Guy Adams describes in this October 2010 piece in The Independent as ‘the inner sanctum … where he would be privy to a frat-boy atmosphere and culture of contempt for The White House’.
Shockingly, McChrystal criticised The President and mocked The Vice President. ‘The Runaway General’ quickly angered President Obama and The White House called the bombshell interview ‘an enormous mistake in judgment’. McChrystal promptly resigned his post before his inevitable firing. ‘They (McChrystal’s press team) were quite wrong…and their apparent surprise at the forensic tone of the article reveals a profound ignorance about the nature of Rolling Stone,’ writes Guy Adams.
Adams details the 40 year history of Rolling Stone’s ‘agenda-setting’ journalism and its intellectual readers’ devotion despite the decline of publications and print sales overall. Journalists are not defined by their publication, but rather by their talent. Good material is good material. Whether it’s Newsweek or The New York Times or Rolling Stone, don’t ever underestimate the power of the written word. Just look at McChrystal’s fall.
Want to contribute to our list of the 100 articles every journalist should read about journalism? Full details, including the list so far, can be found here.