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Comments: Week of May 19, 2014

Readers sound off on Lara Logan, The Big Bang Theory, and more.

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1. Joe Hagan’s investigation into 60 Minutes star correspondent turned pariah Lara Logan, and the falsified ­account of the terrorist attack in Benghazi that laid her low (Benghazi and the Bombshell,” May 5–18), sparked discussion around the internet, particularly the revelations that Logan consulted on the report with Republican senator Lindsey Graham. “That 60 Minutes suddenly and inexplicably got out of the business of fact-checking boggles the mind and body,” wrote Erik Wemple in his blog at the Washington Post. “The piece digs deeply into the details of just how Logan initially got away with making unsourced assertions about what happened in ­Benghazi—and what it reveals at various points is incompetence, confirmation bias, and good old-fashioned political skulduggery,” wrote Chez Pazienza at the Daily Banter. David Brock of Media ­Matters wrote a letter to CBS executives demanding that there be a new inquest into how the Benghazi report ended up so wrong: “Reopening the investigation is warranted as it now appears that CBS’ internal investigation was not thorough, wrong on critical points, and omitted key facts—facts that would have revealed that ­Logan’s report was tainted by ­partisanship and unprofessional ­conduct.” Other pundits were more interested in dissecting how Hagan handled the “bombshell” herself. “No matter what happens with her career, Lara Logan will probably never escape commentary about her looks,” wrote Kate Dries at Jezebel. “Hagan attempts to determine whether Logan is ‘too toxic’ to return to the show after her faulty Benghazi report, but most of the time, it seems like he’s trying to figure out whether she’s too hot,” offered Allie Jones at the Atlantic Wire. “The last couple pages of Hagan’s profile deal exclusively with the Benghazi report, and Hagan stops mentioning Logan’s looks. Maybe that’s because they have nothing to do with how or why she got misled by a source.” Others thought Hagan deserved a little more credit in his handling of Logan. “It’s easy for stories like this to stumble into rank sexism or else wither in deference to political correctness,” wrote Amanda Hess at Slate’s XX Factor blog. “But Hagan’s story addresses Logan’s sex appeal head on, reporting out all of the angles on how her looks have worked to both bolster and undermine her career … So it’s unfortunate that one of the most central events in Logan’s trajectory—the 2011 assault in Tahrir Square—does not benefit from Hagan’s otherwise exhaustive reporting. Hagan may be trying to subtly nod to the fact that some other journalists and witnesses on the ground that night have contested Logan’s retelling of events, but if Hagan has any doubt as to Logan’s story, he should report it out, just like he did so doggedly for the rest of the piece. As it is now, the hints just hang there, grossly.”


2. “The cancer gets smarter, the treatment gets dumber. Somewhere the trade-off no longer makes sense. None of that mattered to me, the medical professional to whom all these nuances should. Our choice wasn’t a choice,” wrote cancer doctor Peter B. Bach, detailing his wife’s diagnosis with terminal cancer and the progression of their last months together (The Day I Started Lying to Ruth,” May 5–18). Many readers were moved by the article. “Your article brought back vivid memories about the passing of my late wife,” wrote Jerry Kremer. “Brought back a sense of déjà vu for me and my family,” wrote Israel Wiznitzer, an oncologist who also lost his wife to breast cancer. “Not a day goes by without thinking about the past and what should have and would have been.” Other readers took the ­opportunity to contemplate how modern medicine treats terminal illness. “I wept openly for Ruth and her family, for myself, and for all women who encounter this hideous monster,” wrote Stacy Middleman from Texas. “This is why we all chose our path for end of life,” opined fellow breast-cancer survivor Gina Susek of New Jersey. “For me, if my cancer came back, no ­chemo for me!” “Twenty years in ­oncology yet I was rendered powerless,” wrote a reader on nymag.com, referring to her husband’s diagnosis. “I argued for treatment when platelet counts were border­line and pretended not to notice the hazy curtain brought down by his ­Dilaudid. The knowing was the hardest part.”


3. “Totally makes up for every other publication’s total lack of interest in covering the most popular show since Friends,” wrote Drew Grant at the New York Observer’s tvRoundup column about Adam K. Raymond’s study, part of a ­special television package, of why CBS’s sitcom The Big Bang Theory has such a mammoth audience (Why Are 23.4 ­Million People Watching The Big Bang Theory?,” May 5–18). “In my opinion, the fact that Sheldon Cooper is an asexual character makes the show irresistible,” wrote one reader at nymag.com, offering his own theory. “It’s comfort food; easy, nonthreatening, and entertaining,” wrote another. And a third, on Twitter: “So at least we now know that this kind of ­mediocrity has a method.”

Send correspondence to: nymletters@nymag.com


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