NBC's Brian Williams Does Poor Job of Generalizing
On 13 Nov, introducing retired U.S. Army Colonel and Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs, NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams said, "Jack, let's talk about generals, beginning with Petraeus. During World War II, Americans could name a handful of generals. With the exception of Curtis LeMay and your commander in Vietnam, [General William] Westmoreland, since then Petraeus is really the public figure among generals."
Um, Brian, if you're going to mention USAF general and vice-presidential candidate Curtis LeMay, known for designing a crucial strategic bombing campaign during World War II and for heading the Strategic Air Command, as one of the "handful of generals" people could name from WWII, it might also occur to you to mention General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who officially accepted Japan's surrender, oversaw the occupation of Japan, and led the United Nations Command in the Korean War. We suspect folks have heard of him, too.
But, because he is in the news, you seem to be focusing on former four-star general David Petraeus, who just resigned as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency as "the public figure among generals."
Well, between LeMay and Petraeus, quite a few people might have thought Dwight David Eisenhower (who was tied to his own dalliances) to be somewhat of a public figure.
And if you're only into recent history, it apparently would surprise you to learn of the number of folks who also have heard of four-star generals Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., commander of the Coalition Forces in the Gulf War of 1991, and Colin Powell, former National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and, um, Secretary of State.
We'd say your script, which we repeat, saying, "With the exception of Curtis LeMay and your commander in Vietnam, Westmoreland, since then Petraeus is really the public figure among generals," might have stood just a tad more research.