The political-military-media complex

Reports have emerged that the head of the Fox News network Roger Aisles sent an emissary K. T. McFarland, a Fox News analyst, to Afghanistan in 2011 to try and persuade David Petraeus to run for president on the Republican ticket in 2012, promising that he and Rupert Murdoch would bankroll his candidacy and throw the support of the news network behind him.

The audio of the gossipy conversation is quite extraordinary and worth listening to for the revealing window it opens on the close mutual-admiration relationship between Petraeus and Fox News and the rest of the press and the political class. They are all members of an exclusive club and they know it and revel in it. It is both engrossing and nauseating at the same time.

What surprised me is that this conversation was not only recorded but that the recording was leaked. Listening to it, it struck me that surely such a delicate discussion would not have been carried out in the presence of others? But why would either of the two principals release the recording? Or was Petraeus’s office bugged, even though he was chief of the Afghanistan operation at the time?

The Colbert Report has its own take on what happened.

(This clip was aired on December 10, 2012. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. says

    Michael Hastings’ “The Operators” is a mind-blowing look inside the insane world of privilege, power, and puffery that surrounds senior military officers. For sure, if any of those clowns ever run for office, it’s going to be required reading.

    I wonder if the conversation was recorded simply in order to have a stealth veto in case Petraeus ever wandered too far out of line and they needed to release it to damage him. We should assume that every candidate has got strings tied to all their control surfaces, if they get past midway in a primary.

  2. says

    It’s really depressing. There were several times I caught myself stomping around my living room waving my hands and yelling “ARRRGH!” and wanting to go down to Versailles On The Potomac and stick my old jump-boot up some REMFs ass.

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