Newsweek Hits New Low With Photo Of Dead Civil Rights Icon

I am proud to stand alongside responsible reporters and credible news operations.  But I am not shy about taking swings at those who betray their responsibility such as what Newsweek has done regarding a civil rights icon.

Newsweek is rightfully taking a pounding for tweeting a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his casket. The photo accompanied a tweet on Monday saying, “Has anyone here seen my old friend Martin?” and linking to a month-old blog post on notable anniversaries of 2018. King’s daughter, Bernice, tweeted: “Why, @Newsweek? Wow.”

What Newsweek did was most inappropriate and unworthy of any news operation.  If one can call Newsweek a news operation.  This is not the first time I have taken Newsweek to task for their actions.

While Newsweek later apologized for their offensive actions one has to ask how did such behavior even enter the mind of employees at Newsweek and how was there not one person who stood up and said STOP?

Why Newsweek Once Mattered

Newsweek was once a special magazine.

As a teenager living in a rural area Newsweek was a way to gather lots of information.  From international news, the latest on science and politics, or just getting a better perspective about life the magazine opened my mind to lots of things I had never known about before.  As a result of reading Newsweek I became more curious about many people and things that were new to me.  .

From the serious such as Stephen Jay Gould and his work with evolution, to the campy entertainment fun of John Waters, Newsweek provided me with information and ideas that otherwise was not a part of my life in Hancock, Wisconsin.

I read each edition cover to cover as a teenager, and waited for the next one to arrive.

Over the past many months I have lamented what has happened to Newsweek, and have placed much of the blame onto the shoulders of Tina Brown.  Today it was announced that Newsweek is discontinuing its print version after 80 years.

While magazines of all stripes are suffering from lack of ad dollars and sales, there is  a classy way to style a publication while offering content that lifts minds as opposed to producing mere schlock in an attempt to make money.  I am proof that the high-minded approach to publishing has a positive end result.

If Newsweek was going to succumb to the pressures of the digital age, at least let it pass with honor.

Instead Brown made a mockery of the publication that allowed me as a young person to see places I wanted to go, and further explore topics that I grew curious about as a result of the weekly journey it took me on.

There is no glee here that Brown’s work has failed at Newsweek, as for me there was never any doubt that it would.

I am sure many around the nation recall the grand days of this important touchstone to news, politics, and ideas, and feel sad over it’s passing.  I am also sure that there are many who are better people as a result by having had a subscription to Newsweek somewhere in their past.

Newsweek’s Tina Brown Owes Muslims An Apology

Not for the first time does Tina Brown try to make Newsweek so ‘out there’ in a feeble attempt to gain readers.  She might note that advertisers are not amused at her asinine style.

The latest mess that makes for a Newsweek edition concerns the Islamic faith, following the news from the Middle East last week.

The magazine’s story, penned by feminist and atheist activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is teased on the cover with the blurb “How I Survived It. How We Can End It.”

The news peg? The riots spreading across the Middle East in response to an anti-Islam video.

Ali writes that the protesters behind the unrest, many calling for those responsible for the video to be punished, “represent the mainstream of contemporary Islam.”

“In the age of globalization and mass immigration, such intolerance has crossed borders and become the defining characteristic of Islam,” she writes.

That is the most bigoted and inaccurate pile of stink printed this week.

To lump all of the Muslims around the globe to the actions of a small fringe is indefensible.

It would be as if I stated all editors-in-chief were as bombastic, short-sighted, and truly bitchy as Tina Brown.

That would not be fair to the sincere, mild-mannered, erudite editors-in-chief of countless magazines that many of us take the time to read—and pay for–each week. (Unlike Newsweek.)

Tina Brown owes Muslims around the globe an apology.

I know followers of the Islamic faith, and not one of them falls into the stereotypical BS that Brown was so comfortable printing in Newsweek.

I suspect Brown has Muslim friends too, and I am sure they have alerted her to the bigotry and harm of the story that appeared in her publication.

I also strongly suspect that Brown, in her heart, knows she was wrong.  I have never stated Brown is not educated, just hungry for ads and money and self-glory.

Tina Brown needs to offer the Muslim community an apology  I am not asking for a cover story, but a nice letter from the Editor-in-Chief come the next issue would be most appropriate.

P.S. Tina, I really laughed when you allowed an atheist to write a story on one of the main religions in the world.  Next edition you might write a story about how you saved Newsweek.  The laugher should continue from your rag.

Newsweek Needs To End Publication–Asparagus Dangle Latest Reason For Ending Charade


It should be noted in further reading today I ran across this nugget.  In the first half of 2012 Newsweek’s newsstand sales fell by 9.7 percent


You know things are bad when I–a huge fan of magazines and increased readership–call for the end of a publication.  To make matters even more serious, the magazine I am hoping to see end is my once beloved Newsweek

In my late teenage years I had a subscription to Newsweek, and kept reading it over the decades.  I can not describe how much pleasure the magazine provided back in the day when it had real news and analysis on the events of the week.  I am one of those guys who recall–with deep fondness–when Thomas DeFrank was Newsweek’s senior White House correspondent.  He served in that capacity for a quarter century.   His institutional memory makes him a most treasured reporter.

I wonder what DeFrank would think of the latest cover of the once respected newsmagazine.

I have written many times about my dismay with the shock-and-awe style that Tina Brown brings to this magazine.  What is most troubling is that instead of trying to make the magazine meaningful and dynamic, a vehicle for insightful analysis, along with probing big issues she has turned to the lowest common denominator. 

While it is true that many magazines are suffering in the era of the internet, it is also a fact that solid and respected weeklies and monthlies still thrive.  The Economist and The Atlantic are two that bounce to mind.  Instead of sinking with the rot that makes up many publications, why not seek to fly with the best that can be printed?

Tine Brown has decided to deliver schlock for Newsweek material.  This week some even would say food porn.

If the best one can do is create a cover so that it receives notice for being bad–and then hoping that attention makes for sales and chatter—-well–it is then time to shut down the presses.

Thomas DeFrank left the magazine years ago.  I removed my name from the subscriber list in the last year.  Many others have followed.  Newsweek is now something to be laughed at rather than read.  That makes me very sad, given my many years of happiness with the magazine.

It is time for Tina Brown to shut the lights off, and then have the decency to show a little shame for what she allowed to happen to a once mighty publication that commanded a national readership.

Newsweek Features President Obama As “The First Gay President”

How might Newsweek compete with Time after the latter featured breastfeeding as a cover story?

How about this. 

Andrew Sullivan writes a great read, but the method of trying to sell Newsweek to buyers is getting weaker by the addition.  Tina Brown makes me laugh–at her.

If money was one factor making the move necessary, the youth vote—essential to his demographic coalition and overwhelmingly pro–marriage equality—clinched the logic of it. The under-30s were looking worryingly apathetic, especially compared with 2008. This would fire them back up. And by taking a position directly counter to that of Mitt Romney, who favors a constitutional amendment to ban all rights for gay couples across the entire country, Obama advanced his key strategy to winning in the fall: to make this a choice election. If it is a choice election, he wins. If it is a referendum on the last four years of economic crisis, he could lose. And last week, especially after The Washington Post broke the news of Romney’s adolescent assault on a gay student, the choice could not have been starker.

The latest Gallup poll, moreover, offered another incentive. Marriage equality is now supported by half of Americans in polls. But more important is the nature of the support. Sixty-five percent of Democrats back marriage equality, compared with only 22 percent of Republicans. But independents favor gay marriage by 57 percent—far closer to the Democrats than the GOP. So it’s been confirmed: gay rights is indeed a wedge issue. But now—unlike 2004—it’s a wedge issue for the Democrats. Women, too, are more supportive of marriage equality—a further shoring up of the gender gap already widened by the spring’s chatter about contraception. Catholics? Whatever the bishops say, Catholics are second only to Jews in their support for gay marriage. Biden speaks for a lot of them.

Public Television Not Pleased With Newsweek’s Brash Vulgar Style

Another reason to be proud of public television.   This is a follow-up to my post several weeks ago on this matter.

A recent spate of vulgarity in Newsweek could cost the newsmagazine some valuable partners — the public television and radio stations that offer the magazine as a gift in exchange for donations.       

Since 1991, subscriptions to Newsweek and other magazines have raised more than $375 million for public broadcasters, who pay sometimes as little as a penny per subscription, according to the Pledge Partner Magazine Premium Program. Newsweek accounts for 90 percent of the money that the program has raised since 1996, when it was first offered, said Zunk Buker, founder of Pledge Partner, which is based in New London, N.H.       

But as the content of the magazine has grown more brash in recent months after its merger with The Daily Beast — the blogger and author James McPherson documented a dozen examples of vulgarisms in the Jan. 23 issue — some public television stations have taken note.       

Bill Sanford, chief executive of Lakeland Public Television in Bemidji, Minn., told fellow station executives this month via e-mail that a major donor had complained, and that he, too, wanted his station “to offer premiums that reflect our values. Being family-friendly is one of them.” He suggested that Time or U.S. News & World Report might “fit our values better.”      

Newsweek And The ‘F’ Word–Lousy Journalism

Not for the first time do I challenge Newsweek since the publication decided to lose journalistic integrity, and veer for a shameless attempt at securing ad dollars.  

The lame attempt with a make-over at Newsweek now insures that softer news such as the cover article on “31 Ways To Get Smarter” is the norm.  In addition, merging with the flimsy-minded Tina Brown insures that burning questions such as the future of Kim Kardashian gets actual column space. 

Needless to say this once proud national publication is not worth even the cage lining for a parrot.  I am glad to say that my subscription for Newsweek runs out at the end of February.  Oh, how I wish it had ended in December.

In the January 9th edition of Newsweek there is a story on the political campaign and that story uses the ‘f’ word, not once–but twice.  It should be noted at this point there was no need to use the word even once.  Well there is no reason to take my word for it.  Read it yourself.

The good news for Obama is that it may be harder for Republicans. While the GOP candidates have spent the last year parading and pirouetting on Fox News, the president’s team has been quietly, methodically channeling their worry back into the campaign—and creating something, I discovered in Chicago, that will be even bigger, even smarter, and even more surprising than their revolutionary 2008 operation. Before my chaperone apprehended me near the whiteboard, I noticed a photograph taped to a developer’s Mac. “Everyone chill the fuck out,” it said. “I got this.” I knew the line; it had first appeared on a JPEG of Obama, scowling and resolute, that went viral in September 2008, during one of the Democratic Party’s inveterate panic attacks. But the president wasn’t in this particular picture. In his place was the operative in charge of getting him reelected: campaign manager Jim Messina. No doubt it was a comforting mantra for the developer, and for the rest of the twitchy Chicago crew: chilled-the-fuck-out-or-not, Messina’s got this.

I am most confident in saying The Economist or any other serious publication that valued readers, and shared common agreement on good taste would not have allowed that word to have been printed.

First, I strongly suspect the reporters for The Economist would have censored themselves, and secondly the editor would have yanked the paragraph had it someone been submitted to his/her desk.

But in an attempt to lure younger, and more (fill in your own descriptive word) readers Newsweek is making no attempt to act like a grown-up magazine for serious-minded readers.  I wish they would have just sent out a notice to all subscribers with an alert stating the magazine was about to dumb down their coverage of the world, and low-brow their writing.

I started subscribing to Newsweek during the 1980 election and found it to be a worthwhile, and informative read.  To pick up the 64-page latest edition and reflect on what it once was is really quite sad.

I can cuss up a storm if my thumb lands under a swing of a  hammer, but I do not toss curse words about as a daily routine.  I certainly do not want cruse words to be thrown into news stories in the fashion Newsweek allowed.  In that way I think most Americans line up in mutual agreement.

Sadly for more revenue–or attempts at being ‘edgy’ and hoping for more ad dollars–Newsweek is poking journalistic standards in the eye.

I hope this nation pokes back and rejects this style of publishing news.

Newsweek Gives Up On Presidential Election Special Reporting

No shock here given how Newsweek has slipped.

Every presidential election season, the magazine detached a small group of reporters from their daily jobs for a year to travel with the presidential candidates and document their every internal triumph and despair — all under the condition that none of it was to be printed until after the election.

Newsweek's election issue in 2008, containing the yearlong story of the Obama campaign.Newsweek’s election issue in 2008, containing the yearlong story of the Obama campaign.

Then two days after Election Day, the sum of their reporters’ work would appear in the magazine. But the ambitious undertaking, known inside the magazine simply as “the project,” is no more. Newsweek, bleeding red ink and searching for a fresh identity under new ownership, has decided the project would not go forward this election season.