Los Angeles, CA -- Video of the Michael Hastings car crash aftermath has been released by LoudLabs News.
One of the company's freelance videographers who was following-up a Justin Bieber-related tip just happened to catch with his dash camera what is purported to be Michael Hastings running a red light (see embed above). When the accident is reported over a police scanner, he rushed to the scene and filmed the fiery blaze that consumed Michael Hastings' car after he hit a tree in his Mercedes. A public-spirited citizen is seen trying to hose down the car before the Los Angeles Fire Department arrives.
The horrific accident that took the life of the BuzzFeed journalist occurred about 4 am Tuesday morning on Hollywood's Highland Avenue near Melrose. The LA Weekly explained how this footage came to be: "Freelance videographers work the night shift in L.A. because local TV stations don't budget enough for expensive, three-person news vans to work overnight. The freelance crews listen to police scanners and sell their footage to the stations."
Within hours of his untimely death, conspiracy theories were spawned across the internet suggesting that Hastings may have been targeted because of his political reporting, which was touching on several controversial issues. At the time of his death, the BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone reporter was working on stories including the National Security Agency and the CIA. It was also his 2010 Rolling Stone cover story that famously brought down the career of U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Hastings apparently wrote an email the day before his death saying that he was onto a big story. Hastings reportedly also contacted Wikileaks a few hours before the crash, saying that he was under investigation by the FBI.
The LAPD has ruled out any foul play in Hastings' death, however.
In his final story for BuzzFeed, Hastings wrote in part about the Glenn Greenwald blockbuster Guardian story featuring NSA PRISM program leaker Edward Snowden: "Glenn Greenwald’s exposure of the NSA’s massive domestic spy program has revealed the entire caste of current Democratic leaders as a gang of civil liberty opportunists, whose true passion, it seems, was in trolling George W. Bush for eight years on matters of national security.The very topic of Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties is one of the most important issues that Greenwald has covered. Many of those Dems -- including the sitting President Barack Obama, Senator Carl Levin, and Sec. State John Kerry -- have now become the stewards and enhancers of programs that appear to dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years, the very same scandals they used as wedge issues to win elections in the Congressional elections 2006 and the presidential primary of 2007-2008."
Hastings, 33, was also one of the few journalists to publicly acknowledge media bias in admitting that that most star-struck reporters, including himself, “swooned” in the presence of Barack Obama.