Hey, Hey, Paula

I haven’t wanted to get into the mess that is David Petraeus. As I briefly alluded, Paula Broadwell is definitely being treated as The Bitch in Apartment 23 while Petraeus is just Chuck … but Doc Cleveland, my former coblogger at dagblog, takes an uncomfortably closer look at David’s affair with the media in general:

Excusing Petraeus

David Petraeus’s downfall at the CIA, resigning after his marital infidelity was exposed, has gotten the kind of press coverage generally reserved for winning the Nobel Prize or becoming the first man on Mars. Story after story about his resignation rhapsodizes about the greatness of Petraeus, his military brilliance, his reputation for “probity and integrity.” He is hailed as the model of a modern general, without a whiff of Gilbert & Sullivan irony in that phrase. Some people even single out the resignation itself as a sign of Petraeus’s lofty sense of honor, as if why he was resigning had nothing to do with it. Of course, some of this is the standard journalistic fall-from-glory narrative, which needs to establish how high the subject was riding to demonstrate how far he’s fallen. But it’s peculiarly intense. Petraeus has always gotten idolatrous treatment from the media, and his resignation has become another opportunity to write the man valentines and give him lingering tongue-baths on the front page. What on earth did he need a mistress for?

Meanwhile, his extra-curricular lover gets blamed for seducing him. She “got his hooks” into him. He had a lapse in judgement, or simply “stumbled” in an unaccustomed situation. Virtually everyone agrees that Petraeus was weak and unable to resist, although everyone also agrees that they have no idea how this affair started. That no one knows any facts about whose idea the affair was or who started it is irrelevant, because this isn’t about facts. An illicit relationship between a powerful man and less powerful woman is always treated as something that happens to the man and that the woman does.

Of course, later, Doc talks about hubris sex like it’s a bad thing. 😉

To me the scandal is that some spook decided that this story just had to be leaked to Eric Cantor.


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