Spencer Ackerman has an article explaining how journalists helped to build up the myth of General David Petraeus: "none of this was the old quid-pro-quo of access for positive coverage. It worked more subtly than that: the more I interacted with his staff, the more persuasive their points seemed. Nor did I write anything I didn't believe or couldn't back up — but in retrospect, I was insufficiently critical....None of this is to say that Petraeus was actually a crappy officer whom the press turned into a genius. ... But it is to say that a lot of the journalism around Petraeus gave him a pass, and I wrote too much of it. Writing critically about a public figure you come to admire is a journalistic challenge."
It's interesting to think about how this dynamic might work with other public figures, such as Lance Armstrong, or President Obama, or Alan Greenspan, or Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio.