If the public battering seems excessive now, four months in, that should come as no surprise. That’s how modern scandals go—burning bright, then burning out, leaving a vacuum that fills with sympathy. It’s especially true in cases like Lehrer’s, where the initial fury is narrowly professional, fueled by Schadenfreude and inside-baseball ethical disputes. It was fellow journalists who felled Lehrer, after all, not the sources he betrayed. But the funny thing is that while the sins they accused him of were relatively trivial, more interesting to his colleagues than his readers, Lehrer’s serious distortions—of science and art and basic human motivations—went largely unnoticed. In fact, by the time he was caught breaking the rules of journalism, Lehrer was barely beholden to the profession at all. He was scrambling up the slippery slope to the TED-talk elite: authors and scientists for whom the book or the experiment is just part of a multimedia branding strategy. He was on a conveyor belt of blog posts, features, lectures, and inspirational books, serving an entrepreneurial public hungry for futurist fables, easy fixes, and scientific marvels in a world that often feels tangled, stagnant, and frustratingly familiar. He was less interested in wisdom than in seeming convincingly wise.