Piers Morgan and Buzzfeed's Michael Hastings had a sharp exchange over David Petraeus on Morgan's Monday show.
Hastings has been one of the former CIA chief and military commander's loudest critics in the days following the revelation of his extramarital affair. In a scathing Buzzfeed piece, he pointed the finger at the media, which he said had venerated Petraeus to disastrous ends. He repeated that point to Morgan, and took a shot at CNN's own Pentagon coverage.
"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," he said.
Hastings said Petraeus had failed in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and escalated violence in both places.
"So for me the questions of honor and integrity -- I was raising those earlier," he said. "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."
"Barbara is not a spokesperson for him, obviously," Morgan said. "Not too obviously," Hastings shot back. "I have followed her coverage pretty closely as she has covered my work before, too."
"Just because she's written naughty things about you doesn't make her a spokesperson," Morgan responded.
"No, what makes her a spokesperson is repeating without question a lot of Pentagon claims," Hastings said.
One of Morgan's other guests, Gen. Mark Kimmitt, defended Petraeus.
"To suggest that he was not successful in Iraq belies the facts," he said. "I was there three days ago. I've been in Baghdad for the last two weeks. It is a much different place than it was when David Petraeus took over there."
"I spent more time in Iraq than you have, man," Hastings said. "Come on. Let's be honest, David Petraeus fueled an Iraqi civil war that the Shiites won. We installed a radical Islamist government in Iraq."
"This is clearly a contentious matter," Morgan said as he wrapped up the segment.
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