Time magazine covers generally don’t come with an animation. The latest does.
The cover, the magazine explains, is the third in a series of illustrations by an artist named Tim O’Brien. All draw on the same theme: the mounting troubles of the Trump administration.
The first in the series, showcased in February, shows Donald Trump seated at his desk in the Oval Office. His hair and necktie are blown severely to one side by strong indoor gusts of wind and rain, which also roil papers on his desk. The image, according to the artist, is meant to capture “the never-ending flood of breaking news washed over the White House, and the firings, the scandals and the general mayhem filled each news cycle.”…
The second installment, which came out in the April 23 edition, is nearly identical to painting, except now the water from the deluge is rising. Waves crash over and obscure the large oak desk at which the president sits. Writes O’Brien by way of explanation:
As the never-ending flood of breaking news washed over the White House, and the firings, the scandals and the general mayhem filled each news cycle, I felt the storm metaphor was as relevant as ever.
In the latest in the series, titled “In Deep,” shows the office filled with water. The president appears at the top of the picture, his head above the surface, his legs apparently treading water. Says O’Brien of this painting, which is intended to symbolize the deep water the president now finds himself in in the wake of the Manafort conviction and Michael Cohen’s promise to “tell all”:
I felt that it was too comical or perhaps morbid to see him sitting there. But to have him at the top suggests he’s still fighting despite the deepening issues.
Someone at Time was thoughtful enough to animate this cover (which may or may not be the last in a series):
— TIME (@TIME) August 23, 2018
Whether the linkage was intentional or not, the release of the cover comes less than a week after Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings cracked a “joke” about the president drowning. But what is most problematic about the illustration is its foundation in wishful thinking. The Manafort verdict, which addresses crimes that occurred long before Manafort became Trump’s campaign chairman, can in no way be construed to reflect on the president, and the Cohen kerfuffle turn out to be all sizzle and no steak. As legal scholar Alan Dershowitz explained on MSNBC:
The president is entitled to pay hush money to anyone he wants during a campaign. There are no restrictions on what a candidate can contribute to his own campaign. So if, in fact, the president directed Cohen to do it as his lawyer and was going to compensate him for it, the president committed no crime.
As a “news” magazine, Time should be more dedicated to the facts and less to its left-leaning ideology. In 2012, at the height of the Benghazi scandal, Time chose as its December cover photo a handsome portrait of Barack Obama. It was intended to reflect Time’s selection of Obama as the Man of the Year.