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What misspellers of Petraeus have to say about the scandal

If there’s one fact about the sex scandal surrounding David Petraeus that we can report with certainty, it’s this: Petraeus is a really hard name to spell. Since the news about the former CIA chief’s extramarital affair broke on Friday, respected news outlets, prominent media personalities, and even a former chairman of the House’s intelligence ...

If there's one fact about the sex scandal surrounding David Petraeus that we can report with certainty, it's this: Petraeus is a really hard name to spell.

Since the news about the former CIA chief's extramarital affair broke on Friday, respected news outlets, prominent media personalities, and even a former chairman of the House's intelligence committee have butchered his last name (Petraeus once explained that people started calling him "Peaches" because his last name was too difficult to pronounce during Little League games).

But the misspellings may tell us more than just who bothered to Google, Wikipedia, or copy-and-paste the general's name. Indeed, they may provide a window into the conspiracy theories that have sprouted around the scandal in recent days. As AFP's Dave Clark tweeted today, "Conspiracy fans: Save time and outrage by discounting any theories touted by folk who can't spell Petraeus."

If there’s one fact about the sex scandal surrounding David Petraeus that we can report with certainty, it’s this: Petraeus is a really hard name to spell.

Since the news about the former CIA chief’s extramarital affair broke on Friday, respected news outlets, prominent media personalities, and even a former chairman of the House’s intelligence committee have butchered his last name (Petraeus once explained that people started calling him "Peaches" because his last name was too difficult to pronounce during Little League games).

But the misspellings may tell us more than just who bothered to Google, Wikipedia, or copy-and-paste the general’s name. Indeed, they may provide a window into the conspiracy theories that have sprouted around the scandal in recent days. As AFP’s Dave Clark tweeted today, "Conspiracy fans: Save time and outrage by discounting any theories touted by folk who can’t spell Petraeus."

Were you to ignore Clark’s advice and actively seek out the opinions of folk who can’t spell Petraeus, here’s some of what you might find:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, search for the correct spelling and you’re bound to come across some conspiracy theories as well.

Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland. Twitter: @UriLF

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