‘Rolling Stone’ Wins Polk Award for Gen. McChrystal Coverage

Article that led to military commander’s ouster by President Obama wins journalistic prize

Rolling Stone will receive the prestigious George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting.

The magazine is receiving the award thanks to Michael Hastings' article "The Runaway General," a controversial profile on U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal. The article prompted President Barack Obama to dismiss McChrystal as commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Published in the July 8-22, 2010 edition of Rolling Stone, Hastings' profile exposed political infighting in the prosecution of the war, portraying McChrystal as being at odds with several Obama administration officials. The article quotes McChrystal staffers as making disparaging remarks about several Obama officials, including vice president Joe Biden. Hastings, who had previously covered the Iraq war, followed McChrystal and his advisers through Paris, Kabul and Kandahar as research for the profile.

Announcing the decision to grant Hastings the award, Polk Awards curator John Darnton said, “Michael Hastings’ magazine piece captured a worrisome cowboy mentality among Gen. McChrystal’s inner circle. The general’s officers disparaged our allies, our diplomats and our
top elected leaders – all of which pointed to a disconnect between
Washington and the warriors that was disturbing and potentially
dangerous.”

The full list of 13 Polk Award winners for 2010 follows:

The George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting: Rolling Stone, "The Runaway General

The George Polk Award for Environmental Reporting: The Associated Press, for coverage of the Gulf oil spill

The George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting: The New York Times, "Above the Law"

The George Polk Award for National Reporting: The Washington Post, "Top Secret America"

The George Polk Award for Local Reporting: The Los Angeles Awards, coverage of the City of Bell

The George Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting: The Star-Ledger, "Strong at Any Cost"

The George Polk Award for Education Reporting: Bloomberg News, "Education Inc"

The George Polk Award for Criminal Justice Reporting: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wiped Clean"

The George Polk Award for Military Reporting: The New York Times, Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazzetti's coverage of Afghanistan

The George Polk Award for Commentary: Juan Gonzalez, the New York Daily News

The George Polk Award for Radio Reporting: National Public Radio and ProPublica, "Brain Wars"

The George Polk Award for Television Reporting: PBS' "Frontline," ProPublica and the Times-Picayune, "Law & Disorder"

The George Polk Career Award: Sandy Close of New America Media