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Comments: Week of August 22, 2011

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1. John Heilemann’s cover story on the personal rivalry between Republican presidential candidates Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney (Running for Grown-up,” August 8–15) caused a stir among political junkies—one line in the story in particular. “Heilemann gets Jon Huntsman on the record with some surprisingly candid views about Michele Bachmann,” wrote Maggie Haberman at Politico, noting the quickly controversial quip that “she makes for good copy—and good photography.” At Talking Points Memo, Evan McMorris-Santoro wondered whether the comment was wise, “especially when you consider that the Über-coiffed Huntsman gets plenty more national coverage than, say, Rick Santorum does, even though they poll about the same (read: near the bottom of the list).” On nymag.com, the story sparked real debate about the Republican field. “If either of them is the GOP nominee, Obama gets another term,” warned one reader, predicting Rick Perry wins the nomination. “I’ll go with somebody who has been there and done that. And Huntsman is not that guy. An amoeba could have presided over the same success in Utah,” wrote another. “Romney may not be the most gifted campaigner, but it is hard to argue with the success that he has shown everyone with his financial turnarounds of three major entities in the past twelve years.” Still others disagreed the Romney advantage was clear. “While he’s behind in the polls, it’s still way too early to count Huntsman’s candidacy out … Nothing wrong with Mitt, he’s a mature candidate that will deflect the flip-floppy charges easily, but the more people learn about Huntsman, the more exciting and inspiring this Republican primary campaign will become. Both of these guys are winners. My money is on Jon.”


2. Frank Rich’s fiery essay on Rupert ­Murdoch’s American legacy (Murdoch Hacked Us Too,” August 8–15) got readers riled up. ­“Superb, excoriating attack on News Corp.,” wrote the Browser. “Says America is in denial about extent of Murdoch empire’s negative influence. And there’s a lot more to it than mere tabloid vulgarity and right-wing attack-dog politics.” At Mediaite, Alex Alvarez felt the case against Murdoch was solidly made: “Throughout his article, Rich provides a veritable trove of examples demonstrating retaliation on the part of those employed by Murdoch’s various outlets and ventures, from the petty and juvenile to the heinous and, in some cases, potentially dangerous—and quite possibly illegal,” he writes. “Further and widespread investigative reporting is needed to make the public—and law enforcement—aware of the unethical journalistic practices and illegal activities allegedly promoted and carried out by Murdoch’s companies.” Murdoch’s own New York Post had a different view, calling the story “a big, windy essay from Frank Rich who, in prose that always loves the sound of itself, lectures that journalism in America is under ­assault by those who would seek to ­exercise influence by some means other than boring their readers into submission.

3. Vanessa Grigoriadis’s portrait of the marriage of Anne Sinclair and Dominique Strauss-Kahn (The Womanizer’s Wife,” August 8–15) divided readers, no surprise given the charges of sexual assault leveled at Strauss-Kahn earlier this summer. At the Atlantic Wire, Adam Martin called the article “a great, in-depth look at the ­marriage,” and at Slate’s XX Factor blog, Jessica Grose agreed: “a fascinating take on why [Sinclair] would stand by her husband.” But Grose’s colleague Rachael Larimore pushed back: “While I agree it was fascinating, to me, it was only for the remarkable amount of disdain it has for Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s alleged victims,” she wrote. “The New York profile of Sinclair addresses many of the accusations against Strauss-Kahn but does so in such a dismissive tone that it’s only slightly less disturbing than Sinclair’s attitude toward her husband.” At Jezebel, Irin Carmon also took issue with Grigoriadis’s treatment of the case brought by Nafissatou Diallo and her lawyer: “There is also the creepy feeling, reading the piece and the way it dramatizes some of the racial overtones, that we’re supposed to wonder (but subtly! in a good liberal I-have-black-friends way!) whether Diallo and Thompson are a pair of greedy hucksters who are initiating a white-guilt-driven shakedown. Count me among those who see no problem with a rape victim, if that is what Diallo is, receiving a settlement for the trauma, including the events that followed,” she wrote. “Grigoriadis speculates that Sinclair now has to face the fact that her husband is ‘if not a rapist, some sort of cretin who behaves in a disgusting way with women.’ If not a rapist? What evidence is there for a more charitable reading?

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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