CNN = Politics, but CNN sometimes = Cosmo.

Because sex sells page views in a way that muckraking doesn’t, the fourth most-viewed article on today is titled “Ladies: 5 Ways to Get Your Sex Life Going,” which sounds a bit like a glossy’s tired drumbeat of 142 Hot New Sex Tips Sure to Send Him Over the Edge!

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), the article reads like a Cosmo piece, too: “Where’s that convenient, little blue pill for women?” it wonders. “That’s what Joanne wanted to know. This isn’t her real name, but she’s a 26-year-old nurse at the Cleveland Clinic who felt no sex drive—nothing, nada, zilch—for eight years. She wasn’t happy, and neither was her boyfriend.”
The Saga of “Joanne” continues for five more wonderful paragraphs, trailing “Joanne” as she switches anti-depressants, rediscovers her lustful side, is frustrated by her continuing inability to climax, discovers Cialis, has doubts, decides to give it a try anyway, still isn’t quite successful, and, when we leave her, she is still hopeful, still “trying.”

In case you’re wondering why “Joanne” is newsworthy, you’ll have to clamber down the page to discover that this story is actually kind of about the implications of a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association about women on anti-depressants whose sex lives can be improved with that magical “little blue pill.”

Of course, there are many ways to cover a story like this. One could, say, write about it from the “explain!” angle or even, say, the news angle. But what am I saying? One should probably watch a hard-hitting video by clicking on “Watch more on how women can get their groove back.”

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Julia Ioffe is a freelance writer based in New York City.