After journalist Michael Hastings was killed in a car crash on Monday, friends and admirers took to social media to express their shock and grief at the loss of a talented and uncompromising reporter.
On Tuesday, Fox News host Geraldo Rivera offered his own backhanded version of condolence.
Reporter Michael Hastings KI tragic car wreck Condolences to familyBut hard to forget he destroyed career of 1 of our best fighting generals
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) June 19, 2013
Rivera is referring to Hastings' Polk Award-winning Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal, who at that time was leading U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan.
McChrystal's negative comments about the Obama administration eventually led to the general's resignation.
Rivera's comments were met with a strong backlash on Twitter.
@GeraldoRivera oh, the general's own words & actions had nothing to do with it? Thanks for setting record straight!
— Susie Madrak (@SusieMadrak) June 19, 2013
@GeraldoRivera Remember when you gave away US troop positions on live TV?
— Christopher Brower (@cfbrower) June 19, 2013
(Fox News pulled Rivera out of Iraq in 2003 under pressure from the military after he shared details of American troop movements on the air.)
Rivera isn't the only person suggesting that Hastings did undue harm to McChrystal's career. Hastings' wife, Elise Jordan, wrote an email to The New York Times criticizing their obituary for her late husband, which brought the accuracy of his reporting into question.
"I was shocked and saddened to read a blatant mischaracterization of my late husband Michael Hastings’s Rolling Stone story 'The Runaway General' in his obituary," Jordan wrote.
She went on to say that McChrystal's downfall was primarily brought on by comments he made himself on tape.
I can personally verify that some of the most damning comments were made by McChrystal himself, and many others made by his aides in his presence were greeted with his enthusiastic approval. Michael refused to give further evidence to the Pentagon investigators, even though he could have directly attributed a host of insubordinate comments to others on the general’s staff, in part because he believed that it was not the role of a journalist to open his notebooks to the military, and in part because he felt that what was needed when it came to the war in Afghanistan was not a change in personnel, but in policy.