One Interesting Thing About Paula Broadwell’s Petraeus Biography
Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
POSTED: November 21, 1:50 PM ET
The book is so one-sided that it is almost supernaturally dull, and I was forgetting about it just minutes after I put it down.
Then it hit me – it was an interesting book, after all! Because if you read All In carefully, the book’s tone will remind you of pretty much any other authorized bio of any major figure in business or politics (particularly in business), and it will most particularly remind you of almost any Time or Newsweek famous-statesperson profile.
Which means: it’s impossible to tell the difference between the tone of a reporter who we now know was literally sucking the dick of her subject and the tone of just about any other modern American reporter who is given access to a powerful person for a biography or feature-length profile.
The real scandal in the Petraeus episode isn’t that a would-be journalist was sleeping with her subject, it’s that lots and lots of other journalists are doing the same thing – metaphorically, anyway.
Decades ago, when people like Sy Hersh were the go-to-profilers of influential people, journalists reflexively distrusted power, and any reporter, male or female, who wrote a blowjob profile (that’s what we call them) of a politician or tycoon was looked down upon as a hack and a traitor. But these days, you can’t tell the difference between your average profile of a Senator or CEO or a four-star general and an ESPN feature about a day in the life of Lebron James.