Monday, April 27, 2015


The question in the title of this post doesn't refer to the cover of the latest TIME magazine, though it could (as in how come they chose such a threatening unflattering mean-looking photo of Ruth Ginsberg, one of my heroes and worthy of at least the gentle photographic treatment the Kanye version of this issue's cover got (you can look it up).

No, the picture I'm questioning is the whole idea of an issue devoted to "The 100 Most Influential People" not only because as usual it's mostly "Americans" and mostly "white" (somehow Canadians and Central and South Americans aren't considered "American" to many in the USA including incredibly many so-called "journalists") but because TIME chooses in some crucial cases to drop any aspect of actual journalism and just bends over for the rich and famous.

For instance, to write about how influential the Koch brothers are, they chose Rand Paul! That's like asking the prostitute to write why her pimp is so great. Is it a surprise this happens again and again when the subject is a powerful right-winger? (E.g. John Boner gets to write why Mitch McConnell is so influential.) But it's not just TIME catering to powerful right-wingers and ignoring the damage people like The Koch brothers and Mitch McConnell have caused this country and the world over the past decades, it's just the mostly ass-kissing back-cratching nature of too many of the pieces in this issue and in too many other versions of this kind of media genuflecting to the powerful.

When I was a kid and began reading TIME it was a very conservative publication that supported mostly conservative Republican politicians and political agendas and justified the domination of politics and society by the white Anglo-Saxon male elite that basically ran the country and big business then. But at least the reporting though biased was based on actual factual events and statements and a modicum of research (of course ignoring facts that disputed the mag's biases).

But the 1960s changed all that and afterwards TIME began including more of the liberal side of politics and political agendas, based on facts and decent journalistic research. More recently, with the loss of readers and revenue due to the digital revolution and the influence of the Internet etc. TIME has begun to cater to celebrity journalism, covering mostly "celebrities" and using celebrity "journalists" or wannabe journalists or not-even-pretending-anymore-to-be journalists.

It's like the inside-the-beltway and other bubbles of elite incestuousness that focuses the few media conglomerates that dominate the media on fellow elite (i.e. the 1% and their mouthpieces) have so taken over the USA on so many levels that they can't even see what fools they are or how no matter how talented they may be Oprah Winfrey writing why Lee Daniels is so influential and great is totally self-indulgent jive, or fluff if you prefer.

The whole idea of "most influential" as a TIME yearly concept (the party seemed even more back-scratching and ass-kissing than the Hollywood, I mean White House correspondent's dinner) is just another way for the elite to congratulate each other on being fellow elite (with just enough of a small percentage of actual achievers thrown in to have someone new to talk about each year).


tpw said...

Couldn't agree more. Time has been sending me alarms that my subscription is about to expire, but with this issue, my interest in the magazine has expired & I won't be getting it any longer. The despicable, hateful Koch Brothers! Unbelievable.

-K- said...

"to write about how influential the Koch brothers are, they chose Rand Paul! That's like asking the prostitute to write why her pimp is so great."

That's great.

I can recall from grade school days Tuesdays being special to me because that's when my parents issue of Time magazine would arrive. I was too young and naive to pickup on anything like editorial bias, I was too bedazzled by all the different things going - war, poltics, movie and book reviews, it was so exciting.

Lally said...

I made the same decision tpw, and K I've been reading it since I was a young man (I still have the framed cover with a painting of Thelonious Monk on it from February 1964 on my wall) despite it's biases and mistakes it's remained the weekly record of news and culture and it's sad to see it deteriorate into just another rag pandering to the right by pretending giving credence to unreason and illogic and outright lying is being fair and balanced ugh ack argh...

AlamedaTom said...

Time's up!

~ Willy

Lally said...

'xactly willy