As Jezebel points out (careful; the headline and copy are NSFW), through all this, Petraeus has been portrayed as a good guy who screwed up. For example, there’s this quote over at Politico: “He really enjoyed his job at the CIA, it was the best job in the world, as far as he was concerned. He had a good relationship with the president and national security team, and he threw that all away…due to a personal failing.” But why doesn’t the media see Broadwell that way? (Or Kelley? Because — let’s be clear — it looks right now like Kelley has done nothing wrong.)

Well, says Jezebel, it’s because “sex in our culture is [seen as being] always the woman’s fault.” Perhaps our culture does see it that way. But it’s our job in the media to go beyond what people say or see to observe what actually happened. And the truth is, an affair is always the responsibility of both people involved. There is no victim. There is no hero. There is just human fallibility. We know that. And it might not be as sexy, but that’s the story we should write.


Jennifer Vanasco is a is a news editor at WNYC and the former editor in chief of MTV Network's LGBT news site She writes about social minorities, national politics, and culture. Her award-winning newspaper column on gay and women's issues ran for 15 years.