Time Magazine's Picture-Perfect Pitch of Obama

October 28th, 2008 12:00 AM

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the Nov. 3 edition of Time magazine just gave Barack Obama 13,000 words to a few hundred for John McCain. Starting with a corner shot on the cover, Obama is pictured 13 times throughout the magazine.

The only photo of his opponent in this election-eve issue is a goofy thumbnail of McCain under the Gaffes section of the Campaign Scorecard.  Sarah Palin is featured exactly once, also, in the letters section under a quote from a reader who compares her to impersonator Tina Fey and says “They are both better entertainers than politicians.”

As a well-documented member of Obama's adoring media paparazzi, Time seems to be competing with the TV networks for “most obsequious.” According to a new CMI study, CBS, ABC and NBC ran 69 segments about Palin around the time of the vice presidential debate, of which only two were positive, 37 were negative and the rest neutral.  

But Time seems intent on outdoing them. This edition is so pro-Obama that it verges on a Mad magazine parody. The Obama pics are scattered through the first half of the magazine, amidst fawning features such as Joe Klein's “Why He's Winning.” That piece, which was thoroughly crunched by MRC's Tim Graham in an Oct. 23 Newsbusters post, has a page and a half color photo of Obama surrounded by an adoring crowd. The next page shows Obama in a helicopter, with the facing page a portrait of Obama, chin in hand, looking positively regal.

You'd think Time's campaign coverage was being run by a former Democratic Senate Majority Leader staffer who's written a book coaching pro-abortion Democrats on how to deceive religious Americans into voting for them.  Oh yeah, it is.  Amy Sullivan, author of The Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats Are Closing the God Gap. See the story in CMI's report, “Time's Religious Democratic Crusader.”

As for Klein, he's the Democratic strategist who covered up for Bill Clinton until after the candidate was safely elected, at which time Klein made a mint unveiling Clinton's dirty laundry in the best-seller, Primary Colors.  Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel notes admiringly that Klein predicted in 2006 that Obama would be the next president and that Klein has been writing “insightful” pieces ever since. For some reason, Stengel says, the McCain/Palin campaign planes have excluded  Joe in recent weeks. Given his track record, can readers be blamed  for wondering how Klein is massaging his reports on Obama and what we might learn a few years hence?     

Let's get back to McCain. Yup, there he is, a half-inch gremlin grinning weirdly on page 25 because of Obama's gaffe about Joe the Plumber. It's the only category that the GOP wins in the weekly scorecard by Mark Halperin, which the Democrats have dominated 11 to 7 since June.  

Apart from the obsequious pictorials, Time also plays the race card by featuring a photo of a serious Obama alongside this letter:  “Skin color is the least of our concerns in this election. Let's focus on the hard issues and not pander to segregation rallying cries of old.”  -- J. Rodriguez, Atlanta.

 I read that as, “if you're even thinking of not voting for Obama, you must be a racist.”

Readers might also wonder if this admonition includes the reportedly 95 percent of the African-American population that polls show is going to vote for Obama regardless of party affiliation.  But apparently, at Time, race can be raised only to explain any reluctance to support Obama, not enthusiasm for Obama.  For good measure, there's a photo of a smiling Obama endorser, Colin Powell, in the Endorsements section of the Campaign Scorecard. He's holding a super-imposed sign that says “Republicans for Obama.”

Speaking of the GOP, on page 48, Republican consultant Mike Murphy contributes the full-page “Here Be Monsters,” a masterpiece of moral equivalence in which widespread, serious voter fraud perpetrated by ACORN and other leftwing outfits is countered with absurd Democratic charges of “voter suppression” by the GOP.  That would be a reference to ensuring that voters have legitimate identification and are U.S. citizens. The pullout quote is: “Democrats fear that Republicans, aided by Fox News, Dick Cheney and the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover, are going to deny millions of people the right to vote.”

No they're not. But it's a way of saying both houses are equally at fault.  Time, like other liberal media outlets, is always happy to run articles from GOP strategists who give cover to the Left.  

That's almost as good as running puff pieces by Joe Klein.

Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the MediaResearchCenter.