Yesterday, we made note of the curious way that Rolling Stone decided to roll out Michael Hastings's story "The Runaway General" -- tease it, get the media's saliva flowing, book some teevee appearances and then watch as Politico and Mark Halperin run the entire story on their own websites -- because, hey, it's not like Rolling Stone was doing anything with it, right? Eventually, the magazine decided to post the story on its own website around 11:00 a.m. yesterday.
Since then, Rolling Stone's editor Eric Bates spoke to Alex Pareene over at Salon. The good news is that Rolling Stone apparently now knows where it can find the Internet!
I just talked to Rolling Stone editor Eric Bates -- and I should apologize for calling the magazine confused by and terrified of the internet. (Though I still suspect that is true of publisher Jann Wenner!) According to Bates, Time Inc, and not just Politico, posted the story in its entirety. Rolling Stone had scheduled the story to run online tomorrow morning, when their national affairs stories usually go live, but they hadn't expected the White House to respond so quickly. Once they saw the McChrystal story become "not just a story, but the story of the day," the decision to put it up immediately took "ten seconds."
"We responded immediately," Bates told me. And the story went live as soon as he got to the office -- after doing "Morning Joe."
So, it took a while before they realized that the Hastings piece was going to be the "story of the day?" Wasn't getting booked on "Morning Joe" a pretty good hint that the story was important and that the feeding frenzy was underway? Baffling.
At any rate, I imagine that Rolling Stone understands that the White House will respond very quickly the next time the commander in charge of our controversial war puts the entire operation in jeopardy over some ill-advised sass talk.
How volcanoes and booze got the McChrystal story, and how Rolling Stone lost it [Salon's War Room]