And you know what? In reality it wasn't a major issue. For most people it was just a minor one. My phone was slightly bent. It bothered me that it was slightly bent. Beyond that mild bother though, it had no impact on my life. For the people who suffered "touch disease" (which again, I never even heard of until this article so it can't have been terribly widespread) it obviously was a problem, though one that's easily fixed by having the phone replaced under warranty. Obviously, having a widespread issue affect your flagship phone in this manner is a problem, but it's largely a PR problem rather than a serious issue with the device.
Meanwhile, having your phone end up as a ticking time bomb that could explode at any moment is a pretty major issue.
The Ford Pinto and the Yugo GV were both bad cars. The Pinto would kill you. The Yugo was made poorly with substandard materials. Splitting hairs over which was the biggest failure is something for a top ten list. They were both bad for consumers who spent their money on them and were stuck with a product that they couldn't continue to use.
The Ford Pinto and the Samsung both suffered from fuel/power problems that caused them to be dangerous. (Although, the Pinto was worse because they knew about it beforehand and calculated the monetary loses from deaths.)
The Yugo and Apple both suffer from problems with structural stability and reliability, yet one is a joke to a punchline and the other one is Yugo.
None of these scenarios are good for consumers and none of them should be excused as biased or unfair. Bad products should get bad press coverage. In this case, people should have fair warning that the premium that they paid for a prestige brand doesn't mean they're getting prestige level materials.