Rolling Stone article made media realize they “kind of sucked”: Jon Stewart

Jon StewartThe Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart lampoons the media’s surprised reaction to
the investigative journalism in Rolling
that dethroned General Stanley McChyrstal. A Huffington Post headline summed it well: “Jon Stewart mocks media
reaction to Michael Hastings’ ability to do actual journalism.”

In typical Daily Show style, Stewart played a series of similar clips of journalists interviewing Hastings and asking the exact same questions: how did you get this access? Why would the administration give access to Rolling Stone? Some even suggested the government was “stupid” to grant access to Hastings.

After the clips, Stewart quipped: “At approximately 11:04 Eastern Standard Time, the American news media finally realized they kind of sucked.””

Stewart: But the real shock to these reporters was what this Rolling
journalist would be giving up.

Celeste Headlee, NPR: [on tape, to Hastings] You obviously were not
worried about access in the future; I can’t imagine you’re going to get

Stewart: Yeah… I don’t need it anymore… I got this amazing story.

Watch The Daily Show clip (the McChrystal bit starts at 4:20).

The Huffington Post
agrees with Stewart, adding:

“Of course, I wish Stewart had gone a little bit further. Having watched several news anchors slap themselves silly in stunned befuddlement over Rolling Stone’s coup, I’ve been wanting to ask: “Hey, you all realize that Jann Wenner didn’t dispatch the kid who turned in that really great review of the new Band Of Horses album to embed himself with McChrystal, right?” The story was reeled in by Michael Hastings, who covered the Iraq War for Newsweek. To watch some of these dolts on the teevee interact with him, it’s as if they’ve never heard of him!

“But in a way, Hastings is an alien thing to them, the way he used his access to McChrystal to do actual reporting, instead of the more traditional “gash for ass” model where a reporter flatters a subject in order to create an opportunity for further flattery.”

A recent Politico story (that has since been edited to remove the two telling paragraphs) suggests that a beat reporter wouldn’t risk his access to high-profile sources, but as a freelancer Hastings was free to “burn bridges.”

Watch CTV’s interview with Hastings.