General Stanley McChrystal did not push back or take issue with a Rolling Stone article in which the general’s top aides ripped the Obama Administration, the magazine’s editor said this morning. McChrystal has reportedly been summoned to the White House to explain himself.
“They knew when we were on the record,” Rolling Stone executive editor Eric Bates said on MSNBC this morning.
They said a lot of stuff to us off the record that’s not in the story, so we respected all those boundaries.
A Politico story this morning incorrectly reported that Rolling Stone had shown McChrystal the full story prior to publication as part of the fact checking process. In fact, Rolling Stone did fact-check the quotes in the article — either using the reporter’s transcripts of interviews, or by re-interviewing sources, according to Managing Editor Will Dana. He said no one was shown the story before publication. The Politico piece has now been corrected.
Here’s the original text:
Eric Bates, the magazine’s editor, said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that McChrystal saw the piece prior to its publication as part of Rolling Stone’s standard fact-checking process – and that the general did not object to or dispute any of the reporting.
Bates didn’t say anything on MSNBC about showing McChrystal the quotes. What he did say was: “We ran everything by them in our fact checking process as we always do. So I think they had a sense of what was coming. But this was all on the record, and they spent a lot of time with our reporter so I think they knew that they had said it.”
And this from earlier in the MSNBC interview:
BATES: We would have been fact checking this within the last week and week before
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yes. So, they knew this was coming for some time?
Bates also addressed the access that the magazine got.
Well, we got a really unprecedented access with him. We spent — we reported this story over the course of several months. We were with him on a trip in Europe that wound up getting extended because of the volcano in Iceland. So, our reporter was kind of trapped with him for about two weeks in Paris and traveling from Paris to Berlin. They couldn’t fly, so they had to take a bus. So, we really spent a lot of time with him and really got to look behind the curtain, and hear how he and his men, top men, talk among themselves on their own.
“I wasn’t surprised by the access,” Bates said. “I was surprised by what they did with it. I’m surprised that they weren’t more guarded.”
Here’s the MSNBC segment. It’s long, but Bates and the Morning Joe crew discuss the story throughout the segment.
Bates also addressed fact checking during an appearance on CNN this morning.
“We fact checked it thoroughly. We spent the last two weeks before the story went to press checking with them, checking all of our sources and making sure we had it right.”