TIME magazine puts Putin on its cover … just not in U.S.

TIME magazine puts Putin on its cover … just not in U.S.
TIME, cover of U.S. edition on left
TIME, cover of U.S. edition on left

Diehard followers of TIME magazine (one assumes the breed still exists) know that two of its regular columnists were brutal last week in their handling of President Obama. Joe Klein, himself long a staunch supporter of Obama, wrote that the president’s case against Syria was built “on a false premise,” adding:

[H]e has damaged his presidency and weakened the nation’s standing in the world. It has been one of the more stunning and inexplicable displays of presidential incompetence that I’ve ever witnessed.

Klein’s colleague, Michael Scherer, was no less scathing in his critique of the president’s bungling of the Syria question, writing:

For generations, the American people have had a standing deal with their Presidents: Go ahead and mess with the prime-time lineup once in a while, interrupt Who’s the BossSeinfeldNCIS: Los Angeles, or whatever. But you better make it count. You better have something new to say. And when it comes to speeches of national security, you better leave the impression that you have this thing under control.

On Tuesday night, President Obama decided to test this unspoken pact. For 16 minutes from the East Room, he took over the nation’s televisions to repeat the same complex and contradictory case for bombing Syria that he has been making for two weeks, even though he acknowledged at the end, there is no longer an imminent need for the country to make a decision. He delayed the start of America’s Got Talent to announce he would be delaying a congressional vote.

What is not known to dedicated TIME readers — at least those with U.S. postal codes — is that the century-old news magazine subjected the American president to one more visit to the woodshed by affixing a likeness of his arch-nemesis, Vladimir Putin, to the cover of its current issue. Domestic readers won’t know it because that’s not what they will see when they open their mailboxes and unfurl their copy of the news mag.

Opposing Views explains:

Russian President Vladimir Putin is featured on the cover of the latest issue of TIME magazine, but don’t expect to see it at your local newsstand.

The cover, which features Putin and the caption ‘America’s weak and waffling, Russia’s rich and resurgent,’ will not be used on copies of the magazine which are being distributed in the U.S. Instead, the non-political U.S. cover has a picture of a football player and is captioned with the line, ‘It’s time to pay college athletes.’

The decision may have had less to do with the editorial staff’s guilt pangs over taking Obama to school twice on the same day than with fact that the president is the new boss of outgoing managing editor Richard Stengel. Stengel, who has been at the helm of TIME since 2006, announced last week that he was leaving that post to take a job as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

cover.digital version.inddAnyone who is picking up a whiff of double hypocrisy will be pleased to have his olfactory sense validated by TIME’s announcement in December 2012 that Obama had been selected as the magazine’s Person of the Year. With the accolade came this paragraph of butt-kissing:

We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Barack Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America. In 2012, he found and forged a new majority, turned weakness into opportunity and sought, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union.

For some sense of how perfect that union is, you may want to consult TIME’s current cover occupant, who shared his impressions on the op-ed page of last Thursday New York Times.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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