Read the mea culpa of Spencer Ackerman, as he takes a courageous look at how he and so many others in the Fourth Estate were drawn into the Cult Of Petraeus.
Like many in the press, nearly every national politician, and lots of members of Petraeus’ brain trust over the years, I played a role in the creation of the legend around David Petraeus. Yes, Paula Broadwell wrote the ultimate Petraeus hagiography, the now-unfortunately titled All In. But she was hardly alone. (Except maybe for the sleeping-with-Petraeus part.) The biggest irony surrounding Petraeus’ unexpected downfall is that he became a casualty of the very publicity machine he cultivated to portray him as superhuman. I have some insight into how that machine worked.
Read the whole thing. Spencer could have just pretended it all never happened and kept on keeping on doing the same old thing with other public figures, like so many others are going to do. Instead he wrote this piece, so I’ll give him kudos for that. Petraeus was masterful at massaging the media’s message, and surrounded himself with a team of equally accomplished media managers. Five years ago, or thereabouts, I told Spencer he had “lost his punk” in that he was too ready to believe the Petraeus camp’s spin – mostly because they were simply so good at it and Spencer wasn’t experienced at the time in getting that level of attention from national figures, but also partly because what they were feeding to him was very good for his career – and we fell out, having been pretty good blogging buddies up until then. On occasion, things have gotten pretty acrimonious since then, but I’m willing to let bygones be bygones if he is.