Gabby Giffords' Promising Progress

While many watched Bob Costas interview Jerry Sandusky last night, ABC was airing something far more uplifting.

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Every morning we address the important topic of something big, significant, funny, weird, etc. that happened while we were lying on the couch in front of the TV last night. Today we focus on something positive for a change.

Last night, while many watched with prurient interest as Bob Costas conducted a phone interview with accused child molester and Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky on NBC, something a lot more uplifting was airing just a few channels away on ABC.

Diane Sawyer did a several-segment piece on the continuing recovery of congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head while at a meet-and-greet outside an Arizona supermarket just this past January. The odds of even surviving a direct gunshot to the head are insanely low, let alone those of recovering in any thorough way, and yet there was Giffords last night, mobile and speaking and, if not always able to fully answer questions because of her aphasia, a common symptom of brain injury, certainly seeming to understand them.

We'd be lying if we said that we weren't quietly hoping, almost expecting, that she would be back in tip-top shape for the interview, because since this whole awful story began we've demanded a lot of miracles from Giffords, and mostly gotten them. Once Giffords surprised us by being alive at all -- remember, for a while on that horrible Saturday she was declared dead by several major news outlets -- we, or some of us, certainly much of the news media, became inured to good, encouraging updates. It was almost required then that Giffords make a full recovery, so she could function as the noble, brave, and now safely and unscarily fixed, almost-martyr we wanted. But she wasn't quite that last night, not exactly. She is certainly not fully recovered, and her interview with Sawyer showed that she still has a long way to go. But the good thing, the good reminder of what is important and realistic here, is that it really was heartening to see what progress she's already made. It's not perfect, but it's pretty darn good. And that is as much of a miracle as anyone could reasonably, or unreasonably in most cases, hope for here.

For all the political theorizing and whispering and blame casting that surrounded the shooting, here is just the good, apolitical story of a woman and her husband struggling through an incredibly difficult time in their lives with, at least as it appeared last night, admirably undaunted spirit. It was a remarkably positive, if still sad and sobering, piece that was well-handled by Sawyer -- it didn't feel exploitative or like trauma porn. So, well done everyone. A rare win for network news.

Anyway, that's the upbeat thing for the day. Now we can all go back to wondering what happened in locker rooms with strange old men. Sigh.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.