Newsweek not Sexist, Just Unprofessional



I’ve been meaning to write on that absurd, and frankly tabloid-worthy
Newsweek cover photo of Michele Bachmann, mostly to give props to Terry O’ Neill, of the National Organization for Women, who has kept her word since declaring that “from here on” (meaning from the point of the 2010 elections) she was going to speak up when female candidates — even conservative ones — were subjected to sexism. Not that my opinion would matter, but I doubted she’d do it, and she’s proved me wrong; O’Neill did the right thing in calling out Newsweek, even though it went against her grain:

“It’s the combination of they snap the photo of her with her eyes very wide – people call it ‘crazy eyed’ – plus that huge label they slap on her as the Queen of Rage,” O’Neill continued. “Her policy positions are diametrically opposed to NOW’s positions and I intend to defeat her. That’s my job. But no male politician is treated this way. As much as I disagree with everything she stands for, she is a serious viable candidate for the United States presidency and there is no male viable candidate who has ever been treated this way.”

“What you’re talking about is sending a message to good women everywhere who would be wonderful presidents that they better not to step out of line, that they better not try to be leaders in the political sphere because they will be shamed – and that’s what this cover does.”


It was good, and gutsy, of O’Neill to go against Our Lady of the Air Kiss
, but her complaint is only partially valid. As demonstrated here, if Tina Brown likes a female candidate — and she adores Hillary Clinton — then her magazine is perfectly capable of choosing a flattering cover photo over a bad shot that any professional journalist worth her salt would reject. Terry O’Neill seems not to realize that it is mainly women of a conservative bent who cannot trust mainstream media to do the right, and fair, thing.

Over at his place Max says the magazine cover is “Not sexist, just a slap”.

I agree it was not sexist; this is simply malice married to unprofessionalism and fornicating on the side with partisanship; it has less to do with the content of one’s chromosomes, than the character of the editor. I am quite sure that given the opportunity, Newsweek under Tina Brown will publish harshly-lit cover photographs emphasizing Chris Christie’s chins; Tim Pawlenty’s nose hairs or Sarah Palin’s broad jawline (oops, been there, done that!) while surrounding President Obama with halos, his wife in soft light and flowing fabrics, and Nancy Pelosi with tastefulness and artful airbrushing.

It’s childish, of course, and in the end, it says a great deal more about Newsweek and its editors than it does about any of the candidates — when I look at that Bachmann cover I don’t think “crazy eyes, crazy lady.” What I think is, “what an small, nutty editor.”

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Teresa

    Given Mrs. Bachmann’s good looks, the photographer probably had to take many shots before coming up with an acceptable photo for the editors at Newsweek (does anyone read that magazing anymore?). If she wins the nomination things will get worse for her because the mainstream media will come out if full force.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/members/rjohnson/ Richard Johnson

    You know, someone really should notify the Representative that her own website has an unflattering picture of her as well.

    http://bachmann.house.gov/Biography/OfficialPhoto.htm

    Could it be that this is just how her eyes naturally look? Or does the great leftist campaign against her include her own web design staff?

  • http://www.stblogustine.com Matt@StBlogustine

    I agree with Teresa in that it’s difficult to make Michelle Bachmann look bad. The Newsweek cover photo required both effort and talent. I’m wondering why she bothered to let them have a swing at her like that. Remember Newt’s Time Mag Man of the Year photo? He looked like he broke out of prison with that horrible 5 o’clock shadow.

    Richard, there is nothing wrong with the picture on Bachmann’s website, except that her arms being folded like that gives it a slight awkward feel, IMHO. The eyes look fine.

    BTW, I don’t find that picture of Hillary very flattering at all. She looks bloated, and with HER arms folded like that she appears to be preparing to hurl her lunch. Probably took both effort and talent to get a pic of her that good.

  • SteveM

    Like it or not, we have a First Amendment. And Newsweek has the right to publish whatever it wants because it’s funded by private dimes.

    If you smacked down the bias on Fox News and with Rush Limbaugh, the same argument would apply. Free speech.

    You don’t like the free market messenger? Stand up your own message vehicle and have at it with Newsweek.

    P.S. I think Jefferson proposed that that’s the way it’s supposed to work…

  • nohype

    #4 “You don’t like the free market messenger? Stand up your own message vehicle and have at it with Newsweek.”

    Isn’t that exactly what Mrs Scalia is doing with this post? What is your point?

  • Dan

    I can’t recall the animus this site directed against Fox News for it’s promotion of Anne Coulter. In fact, she is a conservative darling. Yet, evil spews from her lips with her every word. The Anchoress is somehow caught in the critique of “Lame Stream Media” and other conservative cliches but avoids the challenge of critiquing her own partisan media’s routine flaws.

    The Anchoress is back to waging politically partisan propaganda battles.

    [I don't watch FOX news, so I have no idea about who is on there. I do know Ann Coulter does not have an "e" in her name, though. Since you want to give the impression that you are a longtime reader, you should recall that I've rarely said anything about Coulter beyond, "she is smart, but undercuts her own arguments with her incessant rancor, which I find off-putting." I am not waging "politically partisan propaganda battles" because I don't do that. I just write what I think, and speak as I find; sometimes it falls in line with one group, sometimes another, and it always invites criticism from people who don't like what I think. So it goes. But having said that: if I DID want to "wage politically partisan propaganda battles" on my site, I would do that, and do you know why? Because it's my site, and I can do or say anything I want, here. And you are free not to read it. -admin]

  • http://abbey-roads.blogspot.com/ terry nelson

    I enjoy these types of photos. Remember all the stupid photos of Bush? This is SOP for the MSM – and we Americans love it. Lighten up folks. ;)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Well, you’ve just got to face it, Dan;

    Not everybody agrees with you that “evil spews from Anne Coulter’s lips.” (Uh, getting into urple prose a bit, here?)

    Okay—You think Anne Coulter’s really the bride of Satan, and the source of all that’s wrong in the world. Not everybody’s going to agree with you, even they’re not especially crazy about Coulter; and, sometimes, they’ll want to criticize things other than Anne. That’s just the way it goes.

    Also, is it there now some sort of rule that one can’t criticize anything unless they simultaneously criticize Fox News, Anne Coulter or somebody else the Left doesn’t like? Are we to have nothing but equal opportunity critiques, now?

  • Mutnodjmet

    I believe Newsweek was recently sold for $1.00. It was over-priced.

  • Doc

    Richard, that was a fine pic of Bachmann on her web site. I have a feeling you’d find any picture of any conservative woman unattractive. Do we need to re-use BDS now?

    Rhinestone, it is intersting how the Left consider opposition evil, isn’t it? It explains their demented hatred of Fox News and Rupert Murdoch. Controlling ABCNNBCBS isn’t enough for them. If they damage Fox News, they’ll come after internet news sources next.

  • Sarah

    This is the proverbial tempest in a teapot. It’s not really all that bad, and she does have hinky eyes even in better photos. Really not worth all the fuss, especially since there are more serious matters to dwell on at the moment.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Doc, oh yes, I’m sure going after the internet is the next thing on their agenda.

  • Isaac

    Bachmann is a crazy-eyed, far right Christian nutjob who wishes to obliterate the separation between Church and state on this country. I am glad that Newsweek depicted her just as she is. She needs to be exposed because in bad economic times like these her candidacy is dangerous.

  • Derek Wain

    The overweening contempt for ordinary American voters dripping from the Team Obama media mouthpieces at Newsweek is patently obvious in their grotesque smear of Congresswoman Bachmann: “The elderly, the unemployed, the exasperated, and even a few disillusioned Democrats crowd her rallies and cheer her not-going-to-take-it-anymore shtick, even as they recognize some of its inherent contradictions.” Into Newsweek’s Demented Left echo chamber, no light from the real American political world of fly-over country penetrates. This is the Newsweek that stated in 1980 that “Fringe candidate Ronald Reagan has no chance of getting a elected.” This is the Newsweek that has lost 56% of its circulation over the last 10 years.
    “Bachmann planned to vote against the debt-ceiling compromise that would ensure the arrival of her Social Security check and the military benefits owed to her sons and nephews.”
    This last statement is an outright fabrication by Newsweek. The Wall St. Journal proved that Social Security payments of $50 billion/month could have been paid 100% out of the SS Trust fund with no net cash drawdown from the Treasury. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903554904576458294273264416.html?KEYWORDS=social+security+trust+fund

  • LisaB

    “She needs to be exposed because in bad economic times like these her candidacy is dangerous.”

    Gasp! You mean we might get 5% unemployment, gas under $2.00, and an icky AAA rating like during the Bush administration. Oh me oh my, that is dangerous…. for Obama.

  • James

    (Dan said – “Yet, evil spews from her lips with her every word.”)

    Gee, I know someone who spews evil words quite often from the biggest bully pulpit in the world:

    ** Obama: “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”

    ** Obama to His Followers: “Get in Their Faces!”

    ** Obama on ACORN Mobs: “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”

    ** Obama to His Mercenary Army: “Hit Back Twice As Hard”

    ** Obama on the private sector: “We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.“

    ** Obama to voters: Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat”

    ** Obama to lib supporters: “It’s time to Fight for it.”

    ** Obama to Latino supporters: “Punish your enemies.”

    ** Obama using violent scare tactics to divide rather than unite: “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

  • James

    (Isaac said “Bachmann is a crazy-eyed, far right Christian nutjob who wishes to obliterate the separation between Church and state on this country. I am glad that Newsweek depicted her just as she is. She needs to be exposed because in bad economic times like these her candidacy is dangerous.”)

    Yes indeed. What we need is more of the Marxist Alinsky Radical who for 20 years attended the crazy-eyed Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Church of Kill White-y and Godd*mn America!

    Because what America needs in these bad economic times is even more failed socialist policies adopted from our enemies, more use of the race-card to help divide and conquer that pesky constitutional notion of rights and freedom, and an even bigger more invasive government to completely abolish God all together.

    After all, the only reason Communism always failed is because it was never able to crush the strongest beacon of hope and liberty in the world: America.

    ….that is….until now……

  • Chris

    What I think is, “what an small, nutty editor.”

    What I think is, “Hey, isn’t that the magazine whose ownership was sold for a dollar?”

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/members/rjohnson/ Richard Johnson

    Doc: “Richard, that was a fine pic of Bachmann on her web site. I have a feeling you’d find any picture of any conservative woman unattractive.”

    You are welcome to feel what you wish about me, Doc. I was merely pointing out that the picture on the representative’s website cast her eyes in the similar, wild-eyed look, though to a somewhat lesser degree.

    But then, if we allowed that other pictures of this conservative woman cast her in a poor light it would undermine the “liberal media” meme that seems so popular on the right.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/galleries/2011/08/08/michelle-bachmann-newsweek-cover-photos.html

    As I look over these other candidates for cover shots I am starting to wonder if it isn’t just that her eyes look that way naturally. In pretty much every shot they seem wide open, piercing.

    But…to each their own. I’m still of a mind that if the Newsweek cover is considered a bad picture, the official photo on her website comes in a close second.

  • Andy

    As the virtues of Ms. Bachman are being extolled – anti-socialist, small government, return to values – keep in mind
    - The stimulus that was an Orgy of spending – she asked for at least 4 projects to be funded by that orgy in Minn.
    - Farm subsidies are a sign of socialism, unless I get them which she has
    - Fannie and Freddie are evil – but to buy a new “mansion” I will let them support my mortgage.
    _ Medicaid – a scam – unless it supports my husband’s clinic.
    I don’t know if she is a nut-case, but lets not anoint her as a great person.

  • James

    (“As the virtues of Ms. Bachman are being extolled…..”)

    If the government is redistributing money on worthless programs and is trying to generate revenue by wasting two tax dollars to generate one- would a conservative be a hypocrite to grab as much of the ill spent money as possible?

    No.

    What you can’t get in tax-breaks, make up for with subsidies and entitlements.

    When you’re playing in a broken system with illogical rules mandated by a clueless bureaucracy, why not take advantage of the waste? If the government is burning MY tax dollars, then I’ll grab as much as I can.

    Gotta problem with that do ya?

    Then you musty have a basic problem with the glorious virtues of the welfare state. You must think it’s ineffective and corrupt…. or something craaaaazy like that.

    You obviously must realize that if the stimulus was an Orgy of spending- then that makes Obama the biggest Welfare Pimp-Daddy of them all.

    It’s kind of like all those Democrats in Congress and in Obama’s own administration who simply cheat and don’t pay their taxes as they fly around in their fancy private jets and gladly accept kick-backs and donations from all those evil corporations (like Big Pharm and Big Insurance with ObamaCare). You know the politicians. They’re called Liberals.

    I’m glad I got that cleared up fer ya.

    You’re welcome.

  • Jake

    Bachman espouses Christian principles but puts few of them in practice.

    Bachman wants government to radically curtail helping its poorest and in-need citizens, but wants the same benefits for herself.

    I would be at least slightly impressed with her if she would purchase health insurance on the private market like I do (to the tune of $12,000 a year!) and eschew government help for her mortgage, family farm, and husband’s clinic.

    She’s a dangerous idealogue instilling fear in people. Hers is a “do as I say not as I do” life — being paid for at the public trough.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/members/rjohnson/ Richard Johnson

    @James: “If the government is redistributing money on worthless programs and is trying to generate revenue by wasting two tax dollars to generate one- would a conservative be a hypocrite to grab as much of the ill spent money as possible?”

    If everyone is engaged in prostitution you are comfortable letting your daughter engage in it? If everyone is rioting in the streets you are OK with your son heading out and banging heads?

    So much for principles.

  • James

    (“If everyone is engaged in prostitution you are comfortable letting your daughter engage in it? If everyone is rioting in the streets you are OK with your son heading out and banging heads?”)

    On the contrary,

    the welfare system screws the productive and prosperous. So if I get a chance to screw the government before they screw me- yeah.

    You betcha.

    I would be adhering to my principles of fiscal conservatism in a fundamentally unprincipled socialist system.

    But if you’re conceding that the welfare system IS the moral equivalency to prostitution and rioting- then you would agree that the ENTIRE system needs to be examined for it’s inherent inequality, fraud, and abuse.

    And when we’re examining it, we should look at ALL the recipients suckling on this government teat. Starting with those “poor” “underprivileged” (ie democrat voters) who receive the lion’s share of government hand outs.

    So much for the fallacy of wealth redistribution…..

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/members/rjohnson/ Richard Johnson

    @James: “So if I get a chance to screw the government before they screw me- yeah.”

    Thank you for clarifying that.

  • James

    (Richard said – “If everyone is engaged in prostitution you are comfortable letting your daughter engage in it? If everyone is rioting in the streets you are OK with your son heading out and banging heads?”)

    Oh and, your analogies miss two fundamental and obvious points:

    The welfare system already IS forced prostitution of the tax-payer.

    The tax-payer is already being “whored-out” by Pimp-Daddy Democrats.

    And as far as rioting in the streets,

    Tell it to the biggest instigator of violent rhetoric:

    ** Obama: “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”

    ** Obama to His Followers: “Get in Their Faces!”

    ** Obama on ACORN Mobs: “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”

    ** Obama to His Mercenary Army: “Hit Back Twice As Hard”

    ** Obama on the private sector: “We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.“

    ** Obama to voters: Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat”

    ** Obama to lib supporters: “It’s time to Fight for it.”

    ** Obama to Latino supporters: “Punish your enemies.”

    ** Obama using violent scare tactics to divide rather than unite: “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

    So much for Liberal principles…..

  • James

    @Richard: “Thank you for clarifying that.”

    You’re welcome.

  • James

    Gee,

    Richard seems to be as silent as the Sphinx about all those Democrat tax-cheats in Congress and in Obama’s administration.

    And he doesn’t seem to care about the Big Evil Corporate backroom deals that helped ram ObamaCare down our throats

    And he doesn’t seem to be the least bit curious about welfare fraud and abuse.

    So much for principles.

  • Patrick

    “But no male politician is treated this way.”

    In what way? Being portrayed as crazy? Howard Dean was portrayed as “too angry to be President” by the mainstream media. Ron Paul is routinely portrayed as “kooky” by the mainstream media.

    They ran a bad photo. That was dumb; but neither sexist nor out-of-character for the mainstream media to portray someone whom’s politics they don’t understand as a bit “crazy” (left-wing or right-wing).

  • Judi Cusing

    “SteveM

    Like it or not, we have a First Amendment. And Newsweek has the right to publish whatever it wants because it’s funded by private dimes.”

    Sigh……the First Amendment only applies to the government regulation of speech (think so called “hate speech”), it does not apply to someone complaining about an article in a magazine. If the author asked a government agency to step in and stop Newsweek (think “fairness doctrine”), then it would be a free speech issue.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/members/rjohnson/ Richard Johnson

    @James: “Richard seems to be as silent as the Sphinx about all those Democrat tax-cheats in Congress and in Obama’s administration.”

    ROTFLMAO…right, James. That’s why I ran against both Democrats and Republicans in 2006 on the Green ticket as their Lt. Governor candidate here in Iowa. I had absolutely nothing to say about the dishonest corporate-owned politicians in both parties.

    You know, you do a nice job of constructing straw men, James, in an effort to cover your own faults. Face it, you are really no better than those you criticize. You have your mouth on the public teat every chance you get, all in the name of “getting the government before they get you.” All the while it is the same taxpayer dollars going to you that go to all those fraudulent welfare queens you so despise.

    Now, if you’d like to talk issues I’m happy to discuss them with you. For example, you speak of welfare fraud (which costs the taxpayers millions) yet say nothing about corporate welfare (which costs the taxpayers billions) that is every bit as fraudulent?

    Tell me…should we attack fraud at its greatest point of damage or at the easiest point to reach? If you had a six-foot wide hole in one side of your roof and a shingle missing on the other, which would you fix first? Based on your previous postings I’m thinking you would fix the missing shingle first, but please correct me if I am wrong.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/members/rjohnson/ Richard Johnson

    @James: “The welfare system already IS forced prostitution of the tax-payer.

    The tax-payer is already being “whored-out” by Pimp-Daddy Democrats.”

    I honestly cannot argue with either of your points, James, as long as you define welfare to include the corporate welfare which pays protection money (economic development funds) to profitable companies that threaten to move their facilities unless the local taxpayers cough up some bucks for them. If you include that in the definition of welfare then I am right there with you.

    Of course, we’d have to tar the GOP with the same brush you use to tar the Democrats, but as I’ve pointed out earlier I’m OK with that. Neither party has acted in the best interests of the average Joe or Jane for some time now.

    Here’s a piece over on Firedoglake about the deficiency of both major parties. Come on over and enter the discussion!

    http://my.firedoglake.com/gpus/

  • James

    (Richard said – “Face it, you are really no better than those you criticize. You have your mouth on the public teat every chance you get, all in the name of “getting the government before they get you.” All the while it is the same taxpayer dollars going to you that go to all those fraudulent welfare queens you so despise.”)

    Uhm no Richard, you missed a very salient point (that in effect) makes your entire critique crumble:

    I’m a taxpayer.

    Welfare queens are not.

    Critical thinking is not your strong suit is it Rich ole boy.

    And corporate welfare Rich?

    Sure let’s cut out the fraud in that as well.

    Let’s stop bailing out corporations and banks that are “too big to fail” and start acknowledging that they are to big to succeed.

    But first, let’s start with the biggest recipient of all the bailout welfare shall we?

    Let’s start with those Government Subsidized Entities and the Democrats Community Reinvestment Act that forced lenders to make reckless and fraudulent loans to the “poor and underprivileged” classes who could never afford them in the first place, all in the name of liberal social engineering.

    It was these very same GSE that led to the housing bubble and subsequent market collapse in 2008.

    Oh, and it was Clinton who bundled these fraudulent loans into derivatives and endorsed their release onto the world market in the form of derivatives through Bear Stearns back in 1998

    I’ll see your six foot hole and point out to you the 6000 foot gaping crater that’s sucking our collective house into the ground

    ————————-

    Fannie, Freddie bailout: $153 billion … and counting

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — When the dust settles, the federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be the most expensive government rescue of the financial crisis — it already stands at $153 billion and counting.

    Even as the Obama administration unveiled its plan for reforming the firms, experts agree taxpayer losses are going to continue to climb, no matter what Congress eventually decides to do with them.

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/11/news/companies/fannie_freddie_losses/index.htm

    ——————

    You should seriously educate yourself on the facts some day Rich.

    Seriously.


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