For the last three decades, I’ve subscribed to “People” magazine. As one of the country’s most popular magazines, with 39 million weekly readers, “People” is a barometer of American culture for the masses. Reading “People” is an efficient way to observe how liberal editors in New York City influence political winds and marshal societal trends to fit their worldview.
As it does every Friday, my copy of “People” arrived on Dec. 9. To my delight, it was the annual double issue, called “2016: The Year in Pictures.” The main cover photo featured President Obama and the first lady with the headline: “The Obamas Say Goodbye – an exclusive “People” interview.”
The first red-flag was that President-elect Donald Trump did not appear anywhere on the cover of this influential, keepsake issue. Instead, surrounding the Obamas were small photos of an actor, a dead musician, and a celebrity ex-couple.
Inside the magazine, it got much worse for Trump.
An editor’s letter titled “It Happened This Year,” written by “People”’s Editorial Director Jess Cagle, somehow forgot to mention Trump’s name. Instead, Cagle writes:
Hillary seemed unbeatable. It was a year of surprises: some good, some bad, some unthinkable – until they actually happened. Our year-end issue, under the endlessly creative guidance of Liz Sporkin, looks back at the celebrities, stories, fads, and photos that defined 2016. We also bid farewell to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in their final White House interview with “People.”
The Obama interview, spanning eight pages of photos and text did not include one of the most significant photos of Obama’s presidency, and of all 2016: The Nov. 10 Oval Office meeting between Obama and Trump.
By omitting this historic image in a year-end photo issue, Cagle played a high-stakes media bias card.
By page 74, no photo of the president-elect had yet to appear.
Moving onto the five-page “25 Most Intriguing “People” of the Year” section, Megyn Kelly won top honors with the first and largest photo. Finally, on page 81, the section’s last page, Trump makes his first appearance in a random, unflattering campaign photo with a caption that read:
Donald Trump, President-Elect, 70. Defying polls, critics and 10 women who accused him of sexual assault (including former “People” writer Natasha Stoynoff, page 79; Trump denied all the accusations), the onetime reality TV star won the Presidency in a bitterly fought campaign. Americans were divided – and remain so as he prepares to take office in January.
In addition to the caption denigrating the next leader of the free world, Trump shares the page with Kim Kardashian. The clear inference is that Kardashian and Trump are on equal playing fields.
Next up is the 15-page “2016 Year in Pictures” section, where Cagle made both a highly disrespectful editorial decision and a glaring omission.
On page 123 there is a half-page photo of “piñata Trump” hoisted high between two poles in front of Trump Tower. The caption under the photo reads:
“A Nation’s Unrest” New York City. On Nov. 9, the day after Donald Trump won the presidential election, thousands gathered outside Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan to protest the results, chanting, among other slogans, “Not our President.” Similar protests occurred in Los Angles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Portland.
My complaint is with the “Trump in effigy” protest photo being the only image of Trump in the “2016 Year in Pictures” section. Thus, there is no photo of the victorious Trump and his family taking the stage at 3 a.m. on Nov. 9 at the Manhattan Hilton.
Finally, there is the magazine’s “grand finale” insult within the four-page “2017 Forecast: 35 reasons next year will be amazing.” And again, another glaring, disgraceful omission where Trump’s inauguration is not mentioned.
How is it possible that our quadrennial celebration of democracy, showcasing the greatness of the United States with a peaceful transfer of power envied and watched by the whole world, does not even merit one sentence?
On behalf of millions of “People” readers who voted for Trump, I want Cagle to know that we protest the magazine’s disparagingly-biased treatment of Trump in the “2016 – Year in Pictures” issue.
Cagle omitted the first historical photos of Trump on election night and the first Obama/Trump Oval Office meeting. Those editorial decisions insult the patriotism of this long-time subscriber and millions of Americans who are hopeful that Trump will “Make America Great Again.”
Instead of using his powerful position to help unite our nation, Cagle has chosen to be a divider, allowing his personal political bias to interfere with sound editorial judgment.
In the words made famous by the Trump, I hope Cagle will soon hear the words “You’re Fired.”
Cross-posted at the Washington Examiner