Rolling Stone Editor Explains Fact-Checking Of McChrystal Profile

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Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana told TPM in an interview this morning that the fact-checking process for the magazine’s profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal went extremely smoothly and the magazine has “utter confidence and faith in the reporting.”

Dana said that, contra a report in Politico, neither McChrystal nor anyone else was shown the article before it ran.“We don’t read the quotes back directly. If there’s any assertion made that’s factual in a quote, we check that independently, and we talk whenever possible with the person who said the quote to make sure they said that. We don’t let them retract the quotes,” Dana explains.

He said a Rolling Stone staffer did the fact-checking on the piece and the process was “very smooth.” Writer Michael Hastings “is a pro,” Dana says. “Everything was backed up. He had all his research, all his notes.”

Dana said that one incendiary section of the story in which an unnamed adviser to McChrystal says that the general “was pretty disappointed” after his first meeting with an “uncomfortable and intimidated” President Obama was checked against the transcript of Hastings’ interview with the adviser. McChrystal himself was not asked by the magazine’s fact-checker about his impression of the Obama meeting.

Dana pointed to McChrystal’s own response to the article as a verification of the magazine’s reporting.

“He didn’t retract anything, he just said, ‘I shouldn’t have cooperated with them.’ I take that as an endorsement of the factual accuracy of the story. If there were inaccuracies we’d have people crawling all over us by now.”

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