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Media Knives Come Out Over the Downfall of Petraeus: The Facts You Need to Know

Mainstream media spent years shilling for David Petraeus, the CIA head felled by a sex scandal. Now that the need to valorize the general is gone, a torrent of information is emerging.

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The warning signs about Petreaus’ core dishonesty have been around for years. Here's a brief summary: We can start with the persistent questions critics have raised about his Bronze Star for Valor. Or, that in 2004, during the middle of a presidential election, Petraeus wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post supporting President Bush and saying that the Iraq policy was working. The policy wasn’t working, but Bush repaid the general’s political advocacy by giving him the top job in the war three years later.

Other failures of Petraeus include his handling of Iraqi security forces, riddled with corruption and the presence of “death squads,” as Hastings puts it. But real scrutiny of Petraeus never came. “How did Petraeus get away with all this for so long? Well, his first affair — and one that matters so much more than the fact that he was sleeping with a female or two — was with the media,” writes Hastings. “Petraeus’ first biographer, former U.S. News and World Report reporter Linda Robinson, wrote a book about him, then went to CENTCOM to work for him. Yes — a so-called journalist published a book about him, then started getting a paycheck from him soon after. This went largely unremarked upon.”

Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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