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U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, center, and husband Mark Kelly are interviewed by Diane Sawyer, right, on ABC's 20/20. (Ida Mae Astute/AP Photo/ABC, Ida Mae Astute)
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, center, and husband Mark Kelly are interviewed by Diane Sawyer, right, on ABC's 20/20. (Ida Mae Astute/AP Photo/ABC, Ida Mae Astute)

The Giffords vs. Sandusky choice: 'inspiring' vs. 'sickening'? Add to ...

It's being pegged as a modern day, all-American showdown between the notions of good and evil, and it went down on prime-time TV, of course: The exclusive interviews with Gabrielle Giffords and Jerry Sandusky went head to head last night on ABC and NBC, respectively.

The former Penn State coach used his slot on NBC News Rock Center to deny allegations that he is a pedophile. This after wide receivers coach Mike McQueary told a grand jury he'd seen Mr. Sandusky sodomizing a boy of about 10 years old in a shower.

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"I have horsed around with kids," Mr. Sandusky told Bob Costas last night. "I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them, and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact.”

Mr. Sandusky is charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year span. The New York Times reports 10 more victims have come forward since the former coach's arrest a week ago.

Over at ABC, Ms. Giffords spoke of her recovery; she now walks with a limp and speaks in halting phrases. With her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, sitting close by her, the Arizona Democrat told Diane Sawyer she won't return to work until she gets "better."

The showdown was much discussed on Twitter last night, with some suggesting the competing interviews served as a kind of moral compass for viewers.

A Twitterverse sampling:

"Dear everyone: don't watch Jerry Sandusky deny he's a child molester on NBC tonight. Watch Gabby Giffords on ABC. Or, anything else really," pleaded one named Maret Orliss.

"Giffords or Sandusky! Will be interesting to see the ratings. What does America love more: inspiration or depravity?" chimed in another, "hypervocal."

"Sandusky gets better ratings," was tweeter Emily Pierce's bet. "Too bad for the potential feel good story that Giffords might tell."

"So on prime time tonight we have interviews with Gabby Giffords and Jerry Sandusky. Inspiring vs. sickening, take your pick," wrote Rich Tandler.

Who did you watch? Or did you flip between the two, using one as an antidote to the other? Or neither?

Follow on Twitter: @ZosiaBielski

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