With a characteristically impassioned rant about David Petraeus's career, Michael Hastings made himself the star of Piers Morgan Tonight on Monday. Which is funny because Piers Morgan is supposed to be the star of the show. It's called Piers Morgan Tonight, after all, not Michael Hastings Tonight.
The segment is worth watching in full. Appearing alongside Gen. Mark Kimmit, a personal friend of Petraeus, and Lt. Col. Rick Francona, a retired Air Force intelligence officer, Hastings lit into Petraeus like a Rolling Stone reporter going after Gen. Stanley McCrystal. Obviously, they're talking about David Petraeus's affair and what it means, but Hastings seemed like he just wanted to talk about Petraeus. This is just the beginning of Hastings' monologue -- and yes it was a monologue contrary to the best efforts of Piers Morgan to shut him up:
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. And we saw it here tonight. Gen. Kimmit who was a spokesperson in Bagdhad who was a roommate of Petraeus who was involved in one fo the biggest debacles in recent foreign policy history is on TV defending David Petraeus without actually addressing the real problems with David Petraeus's record. And those are: the fact that he manipulated the White House into escalating in Afghanistan. He ran a campaign Iraq that was brutally savage, included arming the worst of the worst -- Shi'ite death squads, Sunni militia men -- and then you go back to the training of the Iraqi Army program that also had similar problems. …
If you've been following any of Hastings coverage of the Hastings affair, you won't be at all surprised by the former Rolling Stone and current BuzzFeed reporter. On Sunday, Hastings published a vicious critique of pretty much Petraeus's entire career, in which he calls the general "a world-class bullshit artist," among other things. Hastings admits in the same breath, "I've covered him for seven years now, and he'll always have my respect and twisted admiration."
No matter what you think about Petraeus or Hastings or even Piers Morgan, it's interesting to watch someone hold the former CIA director up to the fire. At least it was for us. Piers Morgan looked like he was about ready to throw his coffee mug at Hastings. Oh and about the Christmas party -- maybe Morgan will invite Hastings after all. If he does, he might consider parking him by the bar and blaming any of Hastings' outbursts on egg nog.