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Comments: Week of April 2, 2018

1. “Hope Hicks wasn’t a victim; on this both her allies and critics agreed,” Olivia Nuzzi wrote in her profile of the departing White House communications director (“What Hope Hicks Knows,” March 19–April 1). The National Enquirer–meets–Us Weekly cover generated almost as much discussion as the story itself, with Ad Age weighing in: “New York Magazine gives the Trump White House the supermarket tabloid cover treatment it deserves.” (We also heard from a number of readers who thought the wrong magazine had arrived in their mailboxes.) And the story’s release was much anticipated in Beltway circles. Republican strategist Steve Schmidt tweeted, “Olivia Nuzzi is unbelievably talented … Pour a glass of wine and settle in and enjoy.” Many of the reporters and pundits who’ve been following the administration closely highlighted different takeaways, including the Washington Post’s White House bureau chief, Philip Rucker, who wrote, “Storyboarding [Nuzzi’s] piece on Hope Hicks would look like Carrie Mathison’s wall. Rich & deep reporting that connects so many threads in greater Trump Land.” Eliza Relman at Business Insider reported that the revelation that Hicks has kept a personal diary during her tenure “drew attention from lawyers and ethics experts … and would most likely be subpoenaed by the special counsel Robert Mueller.” And @jakeyjeppson summed up the story, writing, “Sometimes the Veep parallels take your breath away.”

2. For New York, Kathy Dobie reported on NYPD sex-crimes commander Michael Osgood’s attempts to nab Harvey Weinstein, which were frustrated by an unlikely source: the Manhattan district attorney’s office (“To Catch a Predator,” March 19–April 1). Debra Messing wrote of the story, “This is how justice is thwarted,” and Queen Sugar’s Dawn-Lyen Gardner tweeted, “Thank you @NYMag for revealing just how systemic these issues are and what enables them to continue … Until now.” Tufts University professor Daniel W. Drezner drew attention to one of the less-appreciated aspects of the story: “Come for the outrage you will feel about Cy Vance, stay to read about innovations in SVU policing.” The story had an immediate impact, with the advocacy group and legal-defense fund Time’s Up issuing an open letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo: “An independent investigation into the full decision-making process in this case … must be undertaken immediately to ensure that prosecutorial integrity was maintained and to restore faith in the DA’s office … Given the multitude of credible reports of Mr. Weinstein’s behaviors after the DA’s decision not to prosecute in this case, arguably his continued victimization of others could have been avoided.” Following that letter, District Attorney Vance issued a joint statement with Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, which said, “[New York’s] account does not accurately represent the strong partnership between the NYPD and Manhattan DA Cy Vance’s Office … From time to time we’ll have our disagreements, but we will never allow them to undermine this shared endeavor.” That same day, Governor Cuomo directed the state attorney general to review how Vance’s office handled the investigation.

3.  New York gave readers 13 “Reasons to Believe” in extraterrestrials with a multipart primer for the SETI-curious (March 19–April 1). The alien-enthusiast television personality Giorgio A. Tsoukalos wrote, “Don’t ‘believe.’ Reason. Evaluate. Then draw your conclusion not based on ‘belief’ but by the evidence at hand. Belief requires faith. No faith is needed to think ETs are real. Still a great read!” Steve Rousseau at Digg wrote, “New York Magazine made what might be the most comprehensive case towards it being ‘acceptable’ to believe in extraterrestrial life … After reading it will seem almost insane to not believe.” And Christopher D. Bader, co-author of Paranormal America, wrote of the sociological element: “Over time, beliefs about what the aliens look like, what they want, the number of alien races visiting Earth, where they are from and what the government knows have varied considerably. Traveling to another time or another culture would produce a dramatically different UFO experience. In the late 19th century, UFOs were the ‘airships’ of earthly inventors. By the 1950s, friendly, white aliens visited to warn us of the dangers of nuclear testing. Little gray aliens began their abduction program in the late ’60s. But now the Grays must share our busy skies with Nordics, Mantis beings, blue avians, reptilians, and a host of others. The only constant in UFO experiences is change. Therefore, it is as important for those interested in UFOs to study our culture as it is to examine purported evidence and catalogue sightings.”