When Michael Yon attacked Generals Menard and McChrystal, his readership soared. When Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone magazine published disparaging remarks by General McChrystal's staff, their hits peaked at 943,000 the day after, 600% of their norm. Their American readership soared from 100k to 753k that day. There's no telling how many copies of that issue were sold. The General was fired within hours for daring to note that the POTUS had hardly given him the time of day. Hastings got a Polk Award from for taking down the General. Their online revenue likely hit 6x the norm as well.
So, it's little surprise, that Hastings and Rolling Stone have decided to try to replicate those numbers. This time, they're going after LTG Caldwell IV, and relying on hearsay and "he said, she said," with a zeal reminiscent of the Inquisition. He's aligned himself with an officer with a bone to pick: LTC Holmes (a married man) was investigated for inappropriate relations with a subordinate and evidently took issue with orders given him by the General, his boss. Hastings decided to get the hackles of Senators up, by implying they had been played.
While IO is designed to get the truth publicized across the spectrum, psyops (now called MISO) is designed to be used against the enemy. It would be illegal and immoral for psyops to be used against Americans, even though it is still the truth. IO is important though, because the MSM is not getting the full story out. IO is designed to publicize the atrocities of the enemy and the good deeds of Our Own Troops, which seems to be the opposite of what the MSM wants to spotlight.
It seems that LTC Holmes is in marketing when he's not playing Army, so he was a good choice to do IO ops. And it is likely that his civilian career was a principal reason why LTG Caldwell wanted him to shape his message to his audience. Because, when you believe in something, you want it to succeed, and when you believe the Mission needs more Troops, you want to know what buttons to push with those that will decide to give you the resources you need, or not.
But who reads Rolling Stone magazine anyway? More than 3 Million a month online alone. It is ranked the 764th site in the world and its readership is 27.2 times more likely than normal to read "Think Progress,Org's" site. Yon must be furious that he hasn't gotten a link from them and was an unnamed conspirator in the takedown of General McChrystal. He must be furious that he didn't get 1/100th of the interest in attacking the General that Hastings got. Expect him to jump on the bandwagon, when he wakes up.
(That Feb 22 spike in readership for Rolling Stone.com is the day Hastings got the Polk Award. Evidently his attack on General Petraeus earlier in the month was less effective. And the spike a week later, with the Caldwell attack, didn't match his Polk Award, but it was nearly 4x the norm.)
Did it work? Did they get the ratings they wanted? Well, they didn't match their McChrystal attack numbers, but they did jump from #784 on the web to #680 in less than a week. They hit 6 month highs in readership for the 30 day period and all time highs for British and Canadian readers in the 30 day ratings. It may not be all about money, as it certainly appears RS has an anti-military bias, but the money sure is good for them in attacking Generals and publishing gossip.
So what did the world of "investigative journalism" have to say about it?
"But I respect reporters who go after generals. More should do that."
And that was after, it became apparent that the story was not only sensationalized, but also full of factual errors.
Jonn at This Ain't Hell weighs in. Looks like another story he beat me to. Matt at BlackFive adds to the discussion. CJ Grisham follows up with more facts in the case. And Susan Katz Keating, a true National Defense Correspondent, and impeccable journalist doesn't take things lying down. And the investigative Canadian, Assoluta Tranquillita wraps it up in a nice pretty box, with a great headline: "On the Cover of Rolling Stone."
Assoluta does an absolute smackdown on Hastings for failing to do his homework!
Jonn at This Ain't Hell actually does the homework that Hastings should have, and discovers the depth of lies, deceit, and misuse of government resources.
Meanwhile, I'm about to strike "Michael" from the list of potential names I'd endorse for kids. Between Yon, Hastings, & Holmes, it appears that those bearing the name have no honor or integrity, which is a shame considering the meaning of the name as "Protector" and the archangel's role in doing so.
Rolling Stone needs to stick to music. Hastings needs to move over to National Enquirer if he wants the gossip beat. And the LTC? He should have exhausted the investigative means of the Chain of Command, if he really thought he was wronged, instead of just caught with his hand in the wrong place. Of course the MSM won't support that. They need disgruntled Troops to report to them instead of the Inspector Generals office.
We can expect a Congressional Investigation, a General pulled from his duties to testify, and the MSM to go after Generals for the ratings.
ISAF: KABUL, Afghanistan (Feb. 24) - Based on the information included in today’s Rolling Stone article, Gen David Petraeus, Commander of US Forces-Afghanistan, is preparing to order an investigation to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the issue