Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Newsweek's Last Hurrah: The Romney Wimp Issue

After scores of Obama covers, Newsweek placed a Republican, Governor Romney, on its August 6, 2012 cover. Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show had a hit song 4 decades ago, The Cover of the Rolling Stone, expressing the wishes of musicians to make the cover of the magazine.

That though is a dubious distinction for Republicans with Newsweek. The covers and articles on Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman verged on calumny. Of course, all is fair game in politics and free speech.

Today’s cover plagiarizes Newsweek’s November 1987 cover which labeled George H. W. Bush a wimp. Newsweek now admits that it was mistaken then. It won’t be around in 25 years to admit another mistake.

An emaciated Newsweek, soon to be consigned to the internet as an online publication, is marking its demise by calling the Governor a wimp. This may be the last hardcopy issue – a collector’s gem, right up there with Fact Magazine’s 1964 libelous cover and issue “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of a Conservative,” subtitled “1,189 psychiatrists say Goldwater is psychologically unfit to be President.” Fact folded shortly afterwards.

Newsweek was sold for $1 in 2010 to Sidney Harman, who died shortly thereafter. The family announced last week that it’s pulling the financing of the magazine, which has been in a death spire for half a decade.

Time has passed Newsweek by. Newsweek Magazine proved itself unable to adjust to cable news, 24 hour news, the internet, and blogs, all of whom bring news to consumers more than once a week, and in greater depth. Earlier cycles killed off Coronet and Pageant, Life, Look and Saturday Evening Post while Readers Digest and Playboy are limping along today.

Instead of trying to expand its subscriber base, it ignored any pretense of media objectivity. Newsweek’s brand identity was as one of the largest media shills for President Obama as the country was turning against him and the Democrats, hence the Obama covers.

Newsweek’s newsstand sales are down to 40,000 weekly. Even an inflammatory cover like this is not going to boost sales. You can always read the article for free online if you wish.

I counted 12 “?”s, many of them rhetorical, in the article, hardly a sign of sound journalism. The writer actually admits The Governor is probably not a “wimp,” but more likely a “weenie.” He compares Governor Romney unfavorably to both President Bushes, President Reagan, and Governor Christy. The Governor is also damned as a “flip-flopper,” although a count by count could show President Obama as a greater flip-flopper.

That’s the summary of the four pages.

With the exception of a few articles like this one, Gertrude Stein's famous comment about Oakland applies to Newsweek- "There is no there there."

And that is why Newsweek is joining the media graveyard.

R.I.P. Newsweek

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