Leaving the ethics of publication by other sites aside, some observers are questioning whether Rolling Stone missed an opportunity to capitalize on its story. With the wave of perfectly legitimate commentary, discussion, excerpting, and follow-on reporting that the story generated, it wasn’t until late Tuesday afternoon that the original story even showed up on the first page of results for the Google search “mcchrystal rolling stone.” That had Business Insider’s Joe Pompeo asking, “Did Rolling Stone Just Massively Blow its own McChrystal Scoop?”

Bates, for one, didn’t see it that way, and wasn’t inclined to second-guess his magazine’s approach. “If we could have foretold the future, we probably would have had the story ready,” he said, but he had no regrets. Sparking discussion and follow-up reporting is “part of what we’re in business to do,” he said. “If the word’s out all over the place, that’s terrific.”

Greg Marx is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.