Was Rolling Stone’s Exposé McChrystal-Clear?

Last year’s Rolling Stone takedown of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal has now been called into question by a Pentagon inquiry.

From Tuesday’s New York Times:

Pentagon Inquiry Into Article Clears McChrystal and Aides

An inquiry by the Defense Department inspector general into a magazine profile that resulted in the abrupt, forced retirement of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal has found no proof of wrongdoing by the general, his military aides and his civilian advisers.

Pentagon investigators said they were unable to confirm the events as reported in the June 2010 article in Rolling Stone, and found the evidence “insufficient” to demonstrate a violation of Defense Department standards.

Too bad McChrystal’s already resigned, eh?

Rolling Stone, for its part, stood by the accuracy of its story.

In a statement later Monday on its Web site, Rolling Stone questioned the methods of the Pentagon inspectors, who interviewed 15 people but not General McChrystal or Mr. Hastings.

“The report by the Pentagon’s inspector general offers no credible source — or indeed, any named source — contradicting the facts as reported in our story, ‘The Runaway General,’ ”the Rolling Stone statement said. “Much of the report, in fact, confirms our reporting, noting only that the Pentagon was unable to find witnesses ‘who acknowledged making or hearing the comments as reported.’ This is not surprising, given that the civilian and military advisers questioned by the Pentagon knew that their careers were on the line if they admitted to making such comments.”

Beyond that, a Rolling Stone spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that McChrystal and the Pentagon didn’t have a leg to stand on:

Mark Neschis, a spokesman for Rolling Stone, noted that Gen. McChrystal himself apologized after the article came out. Mr. Neschis suggested that military and civilian officials interviewed by the inspector general knew they would risk their careers if they owned up to making the anonymous comments.

“Asking unnamed sources to reveal their identities strikes us as an exercise in futility,” Mr. Neschis said in a statement.

Actually, this whole story strikes the hardworking staff as an exercise in futility, a.k.a. your tax dollars at work.

What say you, splendid readers?

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