Lines in the Sand
In the wake of the General Petraeus scandal–after he resigned as the director of the CIA because he had an affair with his biographer–The New York Times looks at the uniquely award relationship between scribe and subject. So, how close is too close?
Well, it’s a complex question. On the one hand, the biographers needs to establish trust and build a relationship. On the other hand, there needs to be journalistic distance so that the biographer can still be free to stab a knife in the back of the subject–or at least point out some flaws.
Did some of the details of General David Petraeus’ alleged affair ring a bell? Maybe that’s because it is awfully reminiscent of a certain conundrum presented in The New York Times Magazine‘s Ethicist column last July.
“My wife is having an affair with a government executive,” began a letter to The Ethicist aka writer Chuck Kolsterman. “His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.)” Sure, sounds similar. But is it? Speculation on the identity of the beleaguered husband began after the letter to the Ethicist was shared on Twitter in the aftermath of the news of the affair.