On her program Tuesday, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow delivered a heartfelt tribute to her friend Michael Hastings, the young but accomplished reporter who had died in a car crash in Los Angeles earlier that day.
In the segment, Maddow recounted their many years of friendship and some of the signature moments in his life as a reporter, including the death of his girlfriend—whom Maddow knew personally from their days of working together at the liberal radio network Air America—in Iraq in 2007, and his famous Rolling Stone profile that prompted Gen. Stanley McChrystal to resign.
Recounting a conversation she had with Hastings the night the McChrystal piece was published, she said, “He was in Afghanistan at the time, he was about to head out on an embed, and I was trying to talk to him about what he had just done, and talk him into the idea that he might want to make his way out of the war zone he was in before the moment at which his reporting would cause the firing of the very popular man who was running the war he was in the middle of. But Michael was in Kandahar that night, and Michael stayed. He went out on that embed. He was fearless.”
In addition to being brave, Hastings was mad about what he had seen, Maddow noted.
“Michael was angry. He was also loving, and thoughtful, and constructive, and brilliant, but he was angry,” she continued. “He was angry with things that weren’t right in the world, and with war, and with loss, and that drove his reporting and it made him fearless when he realized he had found something important that he could report.”
Maddow added that he didn’t write to make friends, but to those he was friends with, “he was an inspiring and exciting and original and deeply lovable guy” and “also very sweet.”