Friday, January 4, 2013

What Happens When The Media Leaves?

It's been about two months since General Petraeus's sad love life hit the airwaves.

I've seen virtually nothing since then about it, reinforcing the precept that only the most gory, upsetting and titillating stay in the public limelight.

Who will follow up with the sad parents in Newtown, CT a year from now to see how they're faring? Or send a kind word to the wrecked families of 9/11 victims? Etc etc...

On the Patreaus matter, I've found this excellent article from Foreign Policy that deals with the fallout that few others have addressed (,1 ), including this well-written conclusion:

"When people are caught in an extramarital affair, and the imaginary world they have been avidly constructing abruptly implodes, leaving them flailing to right themselves amid the sharp-edged rubble, their first instinct is often to try to salvage something, anything. So perhaps Petraeus's energetic spinning in the days following his exposure was to be expected -- especially given his trademark practice of working aggressively to control messages that reflected on him. In this case, the effort was particularly transparent, since quotes from various friends and former staff members kept featuring the same vocabulary.
"What was most disappointing was the absence in these statements by surrogates of any expression of remorse for the impact the pair's actions had on the institution that made them: the U.S. military. While a jolt of schadenfreude may have traversed some at news of the scandal, for others it has been deeply troubling. Troops -- whose bravery both Petraeus and Broadwell have often applauded -- are in the line of fire right now, many with their worldview badly dented. Two senior officers I know have spoken of their conversations with rattled company and battalion commanders. Many looked up to Petraeus as the ultimate role model. Others have seen their careers wrecked for much smaller lapses. Damage may be particularly great at the pair's alma mater, West Point. There and in our other military academies, young cadets or midshipmen are struggling, with perhaps more difficulty than before, to absorb lessons on the responsibility that goes with public service.
"Repair after a personal crisis of these dimensions can lead to profound growth, but it requires a realization of what went wrong. For the moment, I don't see that either Petraeus or Broadwell, or members of the community that cosseted them, have made that realization. None has yet quite understood that this drama is not all about them."


  1. Hi Terri,

    I'm so glad to have come across your blog via HuffPo. I worked for you and Jim in 2006 before heading off to law school.

    I'm enjoying your writing and looking forward to reading more of it. Hope you and the girls are well!


  2. Marissa!

    Yes, I remember you!

    Thanks so much for popping by here!

    I'm afraid I've been remiss in my blogging and HuffPo articles... Working on revising a novel I've been killing myself on for over four years!

    Hope you're doing well!