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Michael Hastings vs. Piers Morgan Panel On Petraeus As A Hero

Michael Hastings, reporter for BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone, gets in a contentious argument on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" over the media "mythologizing" Gen. Daniel Petraeus.

MORGAN: Michael Hastings, in your BuzzFeed article, "The Sins of General David Petraeus," you argue that Petraeus was a master of deception. Do you think he should have resigned?

MICHAEL HASTINGS, "ROLLING STONE": I think there's many other reasons Petraeus should have resigned besides who he's sleeping with that's not his wife. But I just want to make a point here. The larger point that I've been making is that essentially the media has played a role in protecting David Petraeus and promoting David Petraeus and mythologizing David Petraeus.

We saw it here tonight. General Kimmitt, who was a spokesperson in Baghdad, who was a roommate of Petraeus, who was involved in one of the biggest debacles in recent foreign policy history, is on TV defending David Petraeus without actually addressing the real problems with David Petraeus' record.

Those are the fact that he manipulated the White House into escalating Afghanistan. He ran a campaign in Iraq that was brutally savage, included arming the worst of the worst, Shiite death squads, Sunni militiamen. And then you go back to the training of the Iraqi army program that also had similar problems.

So for me, all the while, he's going around the country talking about honor and integrity. So for me the questions of honor and integrity -- I was raising those earlier. A number of other journalists who were actually covering David Petraeus were raising those concerns. You might not get that from someone like Barbara Starr at CNN, who essentially is a spokesperson for the Pentagon in many ways.

So I think I just want to step back and have my piece, because this -- even the way the scandal is being covered is so different than how usual sex scandals are being covered, where they hammer the guy mercilessly. Now everyone is saying oh, my God, he just went to the CIA; how could he be -- you know, he was susceptible to being seduced by this woman.

Give me a break. Petraeus now has all his allies coming out to defend him, where Paula Broadwell is there yet again -- where are her protectors?

MORGAN: Barbara is not a spokesperson for him, obviously. Let's move to --

HASTINGS: Not too obviously. I have followed her coverage pretty closely as she has covered my work before, too.

MORGAN: Just because she's written naughty things about you doesn't make her a spokesperson.

HASTINGS: No. What makes her a spokesperson is repeating without question a lot of Pentagon claims.

MORGAN: Well, you've made a lot of claims which are equally contentious tonight. So you're getting a platform to have your claims.

HASTINGS: You asked me to be here. You asked me to be here to make these claims.

MORGAN: But for you to dispute everybody else's claims as being nonsense and only yours to be the correct ones, if I may say so, is cheeky.

HASTINGS: -- claims they have made over the years about General Petraeus have been a lot of nonsense, Piers. And that's fact. Read Bob Woodward's book.

MORGAN: It's not a fact that everybody agrees with you about it. That's my point. These are contentious analysis of a controversial, quite polarizing figure, but who, to many people, remains a hero.

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