Global Politics

The Mystique of David Petraeus: Were Tough Questions Brushed Aside?

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Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)/U.S. Forces in Afghanistan General David Petraeus shakes hands with author Paula Broadwell in this ISAF handout photo originally posted July 13, 2011. The FBI investigation that led to the discovery of CIA Director Petraeus' affair with Broadwell was sparked by "suspicious emails" from her to another woman and Petraeus was not the target of the probe, U.S. law enforcement and security officials told Reuters on November 10, 2012. REUTERS/ISAF/Handout (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

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REUTERS

Some journalists are starting to ask whether their coverage of Gen. David Petraeus glossed over difficult questions about his command of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Spencer Ackerman, a senior writer at Wired who covered Petraeus, says the media's tendency to portray the general as "larger-than-life" is having serious consequences.

"Harder questions about strategy, about the two wars in general that Petraeus had commanded had gotten sort of swept under the rug while focusing on the mystique, the myth of this somewhat super-human figure, Petraeus," Ackerman says. "Painting him as a super-human has its consequences in moments like this."