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What Time Magazine Thinks of America

How do you understand this?

Why do you think the editors at Time felt that everyone else in the world would consider the chaos in Egypt–apt, today, to result in a significant election victory for the Muslim Brotherhood–to be the most important story of the week, but that Americans would prefer to buy a magazine assuring them that anxiety is good for them?

You won’t satisfy me by telling me that Americans aren’t interested in the rest of the world right now because they’re too worried about the economy. Everyone else in the world is just as worried about the economy–the crisis, after all, being global.

There’s something odd happening in America, don’t you think? What does it mean?

  1. John Marzan

    they’re probably protecting obama.

  2. Jimmy Carter

    Couldn’t the same cover picture as Europe, Asia, and South Pacific be used with “Why Anxiety Is Good For You[?]”

  3. Viator

    I second Marzan. They are protecting The One, hoping he can Tebow the election.

  4. genferei

    You can scroll/search for the comparative covers here. The last time the US cover was the same as the rest of the world was when Hillary was on it.

    Here’s a recent one for Claire:

    Erdogan-s-Time.jpg

  5. Mama Toad

    Perhaps this says more about Time magazine’s editors than about the rest of the country? Even my doctors’ office doesn’t get Time.

  6. Israel P.

     Do the cover articles appear in the issues where they are not the cover stories?

  7. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Mama Toad: Perhaps this says more about Time magazine’s editors than about the rest of the country? Even my doctors’ office doesn’t get Time. · Nov 28 at 4:16am

    No one reads Time anymore.

  8. Mama Toad
    Israel P.:  Do the cover articles appear in the issues where they are not the cover stories? · Nov 28 at 4:18am

    Judging by the covers, yes.

  9. Mama Toad
    Paul A. Rahe

    Mama Toad: Perhaps this says more about Time magazine’s editors than about the rest of the country? Even my doctors’ office doesn’t get Time. · Nov 28 at 4:16am

    No one reads Time anymore. · Nov 28 at 4:23am

    Exactly my point!

  10. Claire Berlinski
    C
    Viator: I second Marzan. They are protecting The One, hoping he can Tebow the election. · Nov 28 at 4:13am

    Turks also thought the discrepancy in covers (when Erdogan was on the others) was a conspiracy. But I highly doubt it–in either case. Editors choose covers based on what they think will sell.  

  11. Instugator
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Viator: I second Marzan. They are protecting The One, hoping he can Tebow the election. · Nov 28 at 4:13am

    Turks also thought the discrepancy in covers (when Erdogan was on the others) was a conspiracy. But I highly doubt it–in either case. Editors choose covers based on what they think will sell.   · Nov 28 at 4:33am

    That means it is a conspiracy and your neighbors were right.

  12. John Peabody

    Excellent, Claire! Exactly right- the covers have a very different target in the four markets. In the US, they are desperate (goodness knows, they’re desperate) for supermarket / newsstand sales. Overseas, they have to show themselves as a ‘serious’ magazine, and I bet that the have a larger subscription ratio, as well.

    No conspiracy, no drama…just good old-fashioned capitalism at work. “This is what capitalism looks like!”

    Excuse me, I must rush to the barricades…

  13. Claire Berlinski
    C
    Chimay: Excellent, Claire! Exactly right- the covers have a very different target in the four markets. In the US, they are desperate (goodness knows, they’re desperate) for supermarket / newsstand sales. Overseas, they have to show themselves as a ‘serious’ magazine, and I bet that the have a larger subscription ratio, as well.

    No conspiracy, no drama…just good old-fashioned capitalism at work. “This is what capitalism looks like!”

    Excuse me, I must rush to the barricades… · Nov 28 at 5:08am

    I don’t know about other markets, but I don’t think anyone subscribes to Time in Turkey–I think it’s exclusively newsstand sales. I say this tentatively, I don’t know it for a fact. 

    It would be fascinating to know more about this. 

  14. Leslie Watkins

    It’s not a conspiracy. It’s a cult. Zombie reporters and editors.

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Viator: I second Marzan. They are protecting The One, hoping he can Tebow the election. · Nov 28 at 4:13am

    Turks also thought the discrepancy in covers (when Erdogan was on the others) was a conspiracy. But I highly doubt it–in either case. Editors choose covers based on what they think will sell.   · Nov 28 at 4:33am
  15. genferei
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Chimay: In the US, they are desperate (goodness knows, they’re desperate) for supermarket / newsstand sales. Overseas, they have to show themselves as a ‘serious’ magazine, and I bet that the have a larger subscription ratio, as well· Nov 28 at 5:08am

    It would be fascinating to know more about this.  · Nov 28 at 5:13am

    Their ABC for the first half of 2011 is here (PDF). It seems to show 2.5% single copy (which I assume is newsstand) sales in that period, or about 84k/week on average. But with huge swings – as low as 50k in many weeks, but blockbuster editions on May 16 (Royal Wedding) and 20 (Death of Bin Laden).

  16. skipsul
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.

    Viator: I second Marzan. They are protecting The One, hoping he can Tebow the election. · Nov 28 at 4:13am

    Turks also thought the discrepancy in covers (when Erdogan was on the others) was a conspiracy. But I highly doubt it–in either case. Editors choose covers based on what they think will sell.   · Nov 28 at 4:33am

    Um, if they’re choosing based on what they think will sell, but Time’s subscriber base is shrinking, you’d think they’d fire the editor.  I second Paul Rahe, no one reads Time anymore.

  17. Jeff

    Claire asks three questions. (1) How do you understand this? (2) There’s something odd happening in America, don’t you think? (3) What does it mean?

    (1) Americans will not tolerate the raw acquisition of facts. Everything must entertain. Everything must be therapeutic, unchallenging, somatic. News doesn’t’ sell in the USA. It does elsewhere.

    (2) Something odd has been happening in America for forty years. This oddity is merely culminating now. We see Newspeak in major publications. The covers were the same for this issue, too. Richard Stengler’s cover piece in that issue was classic Doublespeak. Sowell took it down. 

    Claire doubts there is a conspiracy. I doubt it, too. But remember, lots of people see the capitalist pricing system as a conspiracy. Just as there is an invisible hand (not a conspiracy) that guides prices, there is an invisible hand of tyranny that guides statist propaganda. It is coordinated, but not by a conspiracy. The propaganda of soft tyranny can be an emergent phenomena.

    (3) Americans buy it, in both senses of the word ‘buy.’ That’s a bad thing,

  18. DrewInWisconsin

    I second (or third or fourth) Marzan’s view. I interpret the Time cover to be saying “Stop worrying, and re-elect Obama! Everything will be fine!”

  19. DrewInWisconsin
    Jeff Y.:

    (1) Americans will not tolerate the raw acquisition of facts. Everything must entertain. Everything must be therapeutic, unchallenging, somatic. News doesn’t’ sell in the USA. It does elsewhere.

    It’s a common myth that we are uninterested in what’s happening across the globe, but in an age when global communications have given us instant contact with people on the other side of the world — a development that people are certainly taking advantage of — I just don’t think this myth holds true anymore.

    It’s not just that the rise of the internet has given us hundreds of instant “pen pals” all over the world, but also because over the last decade, Americans from every strata of society (but perhaps weighted to the lower end) have friends and relatives in the military stationed overseas in areas of conflict.

  20. Anon

    The odd thing, Ms. Berlinski, is that the Time Magazine perspective is no longer odd.

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