Bozell & Graham Column: The Great Manipulators at Time

Time magazine has singled out White House strategist Steve Bannon for their Darth Vader cover treatment, with a picture of Bannon looking like a Marvel Comics villain and the title “The Great Manipulator.” Bannon had dared identify the liberal media as the “Opposition Party.” and Time took offense – and in so doing demonstrably proved him right. 

Demonizing the president’s aides is something Time and its liberal ilk have not done to Democrats since the days of Jimmy Carter, when Time was liberal but not nearly as leftist as it is today. At this point eight years ago, the same magazine  that’s now warning of Bannon was profiling Obama aide Larry Summers, the “brash and brilliant economic adviser,” the “economic wunderkind....working at flank speed,” who speaks with “an almost poetic clarity.” 

Obama was always center stage. No evil wizard manipulated the president from behind the curtains. That only happens under apparently “manipulated” dolts like Reagan, George W. Bush, and now Trump.

The new article is headlined “The second most powerful man in the world? Steve Bannon has the President’s ear. But he wants more.” For the new president, Bannon is “a director who deploys ravenous sharks, shrieking tornadoes and mushroom clouds as reliably as John Ford shot Monument Valley.”

Decades ago Time shredded the notion it is a “news” magazine, steadily becoming evermore politicized. It’s a badly disguised journal of rampaging liberal opinion. But they are stubborn pretenders. They insist their brand of liberal advocacy passes as acceptably objective inside today's news business, and they're right, of course.

Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs unfurled a Nasty-Gram at Bannon in her “From the Editor” letter up front. She cited Bannon’s “Opposition Party” comment, and then spat out, “To demonize the press, to characterize it as not just mistaken but malign, is to lay the groundwork for repression.”

These people dish out criticism, but wow, are they incapable of taking it. Criticize Trump, and you are Honorable Dissent. Criticize the media, and you are Nazi Dictatorship. 

Gibbs thinks her magazine is serenely centrist and objective, which makes her a fool. Lest anyone take offense, consider the alternative: if not a fool, she'd be a raging liar: “At a time when the media is ever more fractured and sliced, TIME is one of the few remaining institutions that speaks to a broad and global audience,” she boasts. “Our purpose is not to tell people what to think; it is to help them decide what to think about.” 

Someone should please make an appointment to meet with Ms. Gibbs for two minutes and simply show her the Time cover of Trump’s face melting, and then the Time cover of Trump’s face melting into a puddle. One is not to conclude a wee bit of hostility toward Trump? How traumatically gullible does Time think America is?  

This kind of bloviation is especially nonsensical coming from Gibbs. Take her valentine to Obama after his first victory, when she placed him on par with Christ: “Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope.” What a bottle of Ipecac.

Then there’s Gibbs on Bill Clinton during the Monicagate scandal: “In the gaudy mansion of Clinton's mind there are many rooms with heavy doors, workrooms and playrooms, rooms stuffed with trophies, rooms to stash scandals and regrets. He walks lightly amid the ironies of his talents and behavior, just by consigning them to different cubbies of his brain. It's an almost scary mind, that of a multitasking wizard..."

Put a cork in it. The jig has been up for thirty years. No one’s buying the outraged    protests of nonpartisanship. What Time is claiming to be news is the very definition of fake news.

Brent Bozell's picture


Tim Graham's picture