14 November 2012


OK, so there's this media storm of fractal scandal weirdness going on right now — it seems to turn out that if you look at any part of the scandal closely it contains another scandal, which in turn contains other scandals, turtles all the way down — and I'm not above finding that amusing in an unwholesome modern media way. But I don't want to write about that. Plenty of that going on.

I want to get into a meta-story here. We have seen a sudden torrent of critical journalism circulated about David Petraeus unrelated to the sex. Prior to this scandal he had been a media darling. Now I see circulated a powerfully damning Buzzfeed piece and a good little PBS piece calling him a “paper tiger”. I've been reading Pecunium's obscure blog for years; today his incisive comments about why Petraeus probably belongs in prison for violating operational security has been picked up by A-list blogger Lindsey Beyerstein.

Vice has a critique of Petraeus by a guy who served under him. That piece is less serious, calling the General out for cheap ambition rather than serious crimes. But there's a very important observation by the author before he tells his tale.

I’ve tried writing about him for a decade, but nobody seemed to listen. He was bulletproof back then—not so anymore. Now’s the time for me to tell you all about this self-serving shithead ....

Now isn't that interesting. It takes a sex scandal for our media to finally start getting some journalism in front of people. Spencer Ackerman has a long mea culpa in Wired about how he was complicit in this. Somehow I doubt that many other people in news media will do the same.

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