No wonder The Washington Post dumped Newsweek

When Newsweek first put Sarah Palin (I mean, Nikki Haley — I know the difference, but the superficial, pandering twits editing Newsweek apparently don’t) on its cover, I wrote about how Vincent Sheheen faces a problem that no other candidate for governor of South Carolina had ever faced — an opponent who gets vast amounts of free national media coverage. It’s a disadvantage that no candidate can raise enough money for paid media to overcome. It distorts everything. (See “The Newsweek endorsement of Nikki Haley,” July 6.) I wrote:

Oh, you say it’s not an endorsement? Don’t bore me with semantics. As I said, the national media — not giving a damn one way or the other about South Carolina, or about who Nikki Haley really is or what she would do in office — is enraptured at the idea that South Carolina will elect a female Indian-American (Bobby Jindal in a skirt, they think, fairly hugging themselves with enthusiasm), which just may be the most extreme example of Identity Politics Gone Mad that I’ve seen.

told you we would have to expect this. And this is just the beginning…

Hey, am I a prophet or what? Now, in their slavish devotion to all things Sarah (and Sarah surrogates are almost as good, especially if you can create a collage of them WITH Sarah), Newsweek has done it again.

And do they have any serious, substantive reason to do this? Of course not. The putative reason for putting Nikki’s smiling mug on the cover again is to discuss the burning issue of “mama grizzlies.” I am not making this up.

Of course, if you turn inside to one of the few remaining pages in this pamplet — right in there next to the scholarly treatise on “Men Look at Women’s Bodies: Is Evolution at Work?” — you can find some home truths about Nikki. Such as:

Haley, who has two children but has never referred to herself as a grizzly [so why the freak did you put her on this stupid cover? never mind; I realize there’s no rational answer, beyond maybe that you had a picture of her in red], is just the sort of pro–business, low-tax, limited–government conservative Palin loves. Her platform is focused mostly on economic issues: creating jobs and unleashing entrepreneurial energy by slashing taxes. She holds herself out as a paragon of fiscal responsibility (never mind that she and her husband have failed to pay their taxes on time in each of the past five years).

But I must ask you: How many of the undecided voters who might be gullible enough to be razzle-dazzled into voting for Nikki do you think will read that far into the piece? Just being on this cover is all Nikki could possibly ever want or need from Newsweek.

Folks, I gotta tell ya — I never thought a whole lot of Newsweek. Back in the day when I was even in the market for such a publication, I always read TIME — and I haven’t done that in 30 years. Whatever value that format had ceased to be anything you could take seriously so, so long ago. Those publications became pretty much everything I disdain about TV “news.”

Recently, The Washington Post apparently decided the same, selling the mag to a guy who made his fortune selling stereos. And as The Wall Street Journal observed:

Since he agreed to purchase the magazine from Washington Post Co. earlier this month, pundits have called Mr. Harman’s motives—and sanity—into question. He took on more than $50 million in liabilities and agreed to keep most of Newsweek‘s employees—all for a magazine on track to lose at least $20 million this year, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Good luck with that, pal.

My advice to you readers? You want to read news in a magazine format? Go with The Economist. That is still a serious source of news and commentary. Interestingly, it calls itself a “newspaper,” in spite of its format. It’s certainly better than all but a handful of newspapers on this side of the pond. Yet another reason to love The Economist — so far, no Nikki Haley covers (that I’ve seen, anyway).

27 thoughts on “No wonder The Washington Post dumped Newsweek

  1. Brad

    And another thing, while I’m griping about Newsweek…

    Please excuse the glare on the image above. I had to shoot a couple of images of it with my camera — and when I got them into the computer and saw they were less than stellar, didn’t feel like going through the ritual again…

    … partly because I was ticked at having to do it at all. The problem was that I could not find an image of that cover anywhere online. Can you believe that? A publication that’s desperately trying to salvage itself, giving up the chance to get free publicity by not sharing images of its cover? You’d think that sometime between this copy rolling off the press and it arriving in the snail mail at ADCO, somebody would have found the time to promote it with a jpg on the home page or somewhere.

    No wonder print is going to Hades in a handbasket…

  2. yarrrr

    “Hey, am I a prophet or what? Now, in their slavish devotion to all things Sarah (and Sarah surrogates are almost as good, especially if you can create a collage of them WITH Sarah), Newsweek has done it again.”

    Eh, I don’t think they’re exactly endorsing her… and Newsweek is a very liberal magazine… the guy who bought it is the husband of a Democratic Party representative…

    The reason journalists write a lot about Sarah Palin is that she generates a lot of web hits.

    ABC News has a daily political webcast called Topline. Today’s guest was Nathan Daschle who is the head of the Democratic Governors Association. Daschle said there were 9 governorships where it is possible that the seat will switch from R to D… when asked to name them, he listed them all and didn’t mention South Carolina.

  3. Jesse S.

    The current generation of people who would have read Newsweek moved to Salon a decade ago (feels weird talking about websites in terms of decades). Time on the other hand will always be around. You get a lifetime subscription when you give the Hippocratic Oath.

  4. bud

    Seems a bit of over-ranting about a pretty minor offense. Sure Nikki has become something of a media sensation, all out of any proportion that her personal story has earned. But you seem pretty accepeting of the Wall Street Journal, which has become a veritable cheering section for the Republican party of late. As long as the media continues to play the balance game between the two parties we’ll get nowhere.

    The MSM needs to recognize what’s about to happen to our country and report the fact that the GOP has become a dangerous looney bin. They drove us into the economic wilderness and now they want the keys back to drive us down further. Really, that’s the real danger here, not a few fluff pieces about the ladies in red.

  5. bud

    No one will ever admit to practicing identity politics but I think we all do to a certain extent. I’m much more likely to vote for an un-reformed hippy, regardless of his credentials. If one were available I’d try to be objective but probably would have a tough time of it. Sadly, not too many of those types run for office in SC.

    Brad on the other hand, while making excellent points in shooting down identity politics, also gives weight to a certain demographic: war veterans. I know he doesn’t care much for Rob Miller, although he seems pretty reasonable to me, but it is becoming more clear with each passing day that John McCain can do no wrong in Brad’s eyes. That is almost certainly because of McCain’s credentials as a war hero. Sadly, McCain has now become little more than a doddering old fool who will do anything and say anything to get re-elected. And that mostly includes bowing down to the all-mighty Sarah Palin and her tea-party loonies. He created this monster and now he has to bow down to her.

  6. Brad

    Bud, do you just not read a word I write? Go to the search box on this page and type “John McCain.” The very first thing I called up said, “And with my longtime hero John McCain lowering himself to reach out to the Tea Party movement with a pandering campaign for re-election (when the dignified, admirable thing for a man of his age and stature would be to go down swinging as the unorthodox figure he has always been), Lindsey is the only Republican left willing to do so…

    All I had to do is find that one example to prove the falsehood of your statement that “it is becoming more clear with each passing day that John McCain can do no wrong in Brad’s eyes.” And there are others, if you go look.

    So you say I practice “identity politics” by favoring veterans — which is sort of silly on its face, because being a veteran is a matter of what you DO (and yep, I do value it), and not an accident of birth (which is what I refer to when I talk about Identity Politics) — and then you give us examples of two veterans: Rob Miller, whom you acknowledge I am unimpressed by, and John McCain, whom I have, your claims notwithstanding, criticized on a number of occasions.

    Does evidence just not matter to you at all?

  7. Brad

    I don’t know, Bud. I’d almost have to start from scratch in thinking about them both at this point, and I haven’t done that.

    I know people think endorsements are some sort of gut-reaction thing, but except in cases in which the choice is painfully obvious (such as Haley vs. Sheheen), it’s a pretty difficult, sometimes agonizing process of discernment.

    The decision in 2008 was a difficult one because it was between someone I had liked and admired for years, and a new face who had impressed me very favorably — but in the end didn’t quite rise high enough in my estimation to endorse over McCain.

    Now, I don’t know. I’ve been really disappointed in McCain’s political performance the last few months. But I haven’t exactly been bowled over by Obama’s, either. I still like the guy, but I’d really like to see him have some serious successes that persuade me he’s a guy who can get the job done. Health care doesn’t count, because I don’t think he accomplished much with that (which makes it extra ridiculous that Republicans act like it’s such a big deal). Frankly, I don’t think he should have waited for Congress to come up with something; he should have exerted more leadership to push for something substantive.

    I don’t give him credit for the stimulus any more than I did Bush for TARP. Both were emergency measures that I’d rather never see the government do, but which I THINK were necessary under the circumstances. That is, I think something LIKE the stimulus and TARP needed to be done, although I wasn’t crazy about the specifics of either.

    Then of course there’s the biggie, which you and I will never agree about: National Security. I am often pleased at the pragmatic decisions the president has made, but I also feel like he undermines the whole Afghanistan effort with his artificial deadline for withdrawal — which he set, against all strategic logic, to please you and the folks who feel as you do. Which is no way to fight a war.

    So you might say my impression of Obama is deeply mixed. I think the Obama haters are lunatics. But I wish he’d shown me more to make me a fan.

  8. bud

    If there were two candidates running for office and both were unaffiliated with either the dems or the GOP. One was a peace-nik, Woodstock, dyed in the wool hippie and the other was a Marine Corp Colonel I would immediately give more weight to the hippie candidate. If it turned out the hippie was all for bombing Iran, sending more troops to Afghanistan and increasing the defense budget whereas the Marine was oppossed to all those things I’d vote for the Marine. Otherwise the hippie would probably get my vote. Yup, I admit to identity politics but only up to a point.

  9. Brad

    Again, that is values based, and based in the positions or actions these theoretical candidates choose to take.

    That’s not Identity Politics to me. To me, Identity Politics is about accidents of birth that have little or bearing upon a candidate’s suitability for a particular office, such as being black or white, or male or female.

  10. Kathryn Fenner

    Well, I grew up reading Newsweek and Time (my dad did some sort of swap with one to get the other). I probably learned to write well reading them. Then I started reading The New Yorker as an adult. When I would go back home and pick up a Time or Newsweek even ten or more years ago, I was stunned at how lightweight it was–reliant on colorful graphics and silly hot/not, in/out, conventional wisdom, and other gimmicks.

    Now, was it that I had moved on to a deeper pool, or had they become more like My Weekly Reader, or both?

  11. Elliott, South Carolina

    I allowed my subscription to Newsweek to expire in August after 40 years. I am now getting Time. I subscribed to Newsweek as a college student. My parents got Time so I could read them both in the summer. The Newsweek cover with Haley on it was too much for me. I’m glad the latest issue will not be delivered to our home. Thanks for photographing the cover. I get to see what I am missing.

  12. Mark Stewart


    Only the color red can explain the photo selections. Or was Newsweek being passive-agressive in selecting such unflattering photos?

  13. Pat

    Red is the “power” color. Supposedly every woman should have a red jacket to throw on in case she has a photo-op or interview or expected confrontation. Along with the confrontation add black for menacing.
    Blue is the “trust me” color. Bush and gang always wore a trust me tie – along with a black suit of course.

  14. Ralph Hightower

    But Nikki Haley is often seen wearing white clothes; just like Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard.

    Come to think about it, both Haley and Hogg drive white Cadillacs.


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