Newsweek: Slavishly Devoted 'Madam President' Issue Was Outsourced and Not Reviewed

December 3rd, 2016 4:34 PM

Did you know that some Donald Trump supporters actively advocated for repealing the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote almost a century ago? Or that Hillary Clinton, who memorably characterized half of Trump's supporters as "a basket of deplorables ... racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it," really "went high" as "her opponent went even lower" during the presidential campaign?

By now, many people know that Newsweek, which prepared alternative "Madam President" and "President Trump" editions for its post-presidential election issue, accidentally sent 125,000 copies of the "Madam President" edition to newsstands on Election Night. But that's not the real news here. What is far less known, and far more disturbing, is that the pulled "Madam President" edition includes the outrageous contentions just cited, as well as others which will be seen shortly.

Newsweek claims that all of this happened because it outsourced those issues' production and did no in-house review before its release.

In an interview with Matthew Cooper, Newsweek's political editor, Fox News's Tucker Carlson described some of what was seen in the "Madam President" issue, and questioned how such dreck could have gotten as far as it did.

Cooper claimed that "no one on our staff" was involved in the content of "Madam President," and that "we did not review it before it went out":

Transcript (bolds are mine):

TUCKER CARLSON: Well, this is pretty embarrassing. Newsweek was forced to recall 125,000 copies of a special "Madam President" edition. Two versions were printed, one for Trump and one for Clinton, but the Clinton version was sent to news stands on Election Night. How did that happen? Here now is Matt Cooper, Political Editor for Newsweek. Matt, it's great to see you.

MATTHEW COOPER: It's great to see you, Tucker.

CARLSON: Thank you. So, it what — Look, I mean everyone makes screwups like this, and I’m not here to mock you for that. It's the content of it that was unbelievable. And it's so unbelievable actually that I have got to put it on the screen. I want to read part of the introduction to the "Madam President" edition. It describes this:

... "as the tone of the election grew darker and more bizarre by the day, President-Elect Hillary Clinton 'went high' when her opponent and supporters went even lower."

"No stranger to trudging through the mire of misogyny in her career as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, President Clinton managed to push for an issues-based campaign, even as a handful of Trump’s deplorable supporters, seeing the wide margin she held among female voters, called for repealing the 19th Amendment."

It goes on and on. "Fear and hate-based conservatism." It’s breathless. It’s not even hagiographic. It’s pornographic. It’s Soviet in its devotion to Hillary Clinton. Who wrote this?

COOPER: It’s embarrassing. And let me tell you how it happened, and what we're doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Newsweek, like a lot of publications, puts out special commemorative issues.


COOPER: You've probably seen them on the newsstands. 75th anniversary of D-Day, or we have one out about Harrison Ford’s acting career. This is a big part of the magazine business now.


COOPER: And what we did for the election was, the company that we subcontract to, as you said in the intro, produced two editions, one "President Trump" and the other "Madam President."


COOPER: They both, you know, the "Madam President" one mistakenly went out, which was the first embarrassment.


COOPER: That should never have happened.

CARLSON: But you can kind of see how it happened.

COOPER: Yeah, but it can happen. But really, as you say, the writing on this is, shall we say, not up to the editorial standards of Newsweek.

CARLSON: Well, it's pure throne-sniffing. I mean, it's just like DNC talking points. So, I mean, who on your staff wrote that?

COOPER: Well, no one on our staff wrote it. Again, we subcontract that out to a company —

CARLSON: But when you read it before it went out, what did you say?

COOPER: Well, no we didn’t, and that's part of the problem.

CARLSON: You mean you didn’t read it before it went out?

COOPER: We subcontract commemorative issues to a company, and this is pretty common in the magazine business now. The company that does it for us does it for Reader’s Digest or Scientific American

CARLSON: But nobody read this before — ?

COOPER: Well, let me just finish. Yeah. So, it’s sort of been done on a separate track, and we did not review it before it went out.

CARLSON: Whoa, but what if they had reprinted Mein Kampf or something?

COOPER: If they had reprinted Mein Kampf, that would have been even worse. There's no question.

CARLSON: But what if Fox just said, "We’re going to give an hour of primetime air to some random crazy person and we're not going to look at it before it goes on"?

COOPER: Well, look, this is a company that has done a lot of work for a lot of other magazines, Scientific American, CBS, Disney, all kinds of places, and they generally do good work. In this case, they really did not. And what we’re going to do from now on is really take a look at these things.

Since Carlson did not continue reciting the content Fox presented on-screen, here are screen grabs viewers saw of all five graphics excerpting from the "Madam President" issue:


As to the final excerpted sentence from Cooper's remarks — You're only worried about "From now on"? Are you kidding?

Later in the interview, Carlson revealed that Cooper "is an old friend of mine, but it seems so reckless and crazy to let someone else take over your magazine and not check what they are writing on it." No kidding, Tucker.

Perhaps that old friendship got in the way of Carlson asking a few questions which were literally screaming to be asked, including but not limited to these:

  • Is anybody at Newsweek (one would think including Matt Cooper) going to suffer any consequences for failing to even look at the content of two alternative magazine special editions about the most contentious, ugliest presidential election campaign in most Americans' lifetimes before letting one of them hit the newsstands (and, presumably, releasing the "President Trump" version for posterity after the "Madam President" version was recalled)?
  • Why hasn't Newsweek already fired the company it used to produce "Madam President" and "President Trump"? Is it really going to let this company continue to produce anything on its behalf after this fiasco? Is this company the only one on earth in this business?
  • While we're at it, what's the name of this outsourcing company, so we can avoid its content like the plague? Since when are they entitled to any protection, and where's their public apology?
  • Since no one apparently reviewed it before it went out, what objectionable material actually got published in the "President Trump" edition?

Even after granting that that Tucker and Cooper are friends, I suspect that many readers here will find the anger- and outrage-free, almost "Oh well" tone of Cooper's responses seen in the video quite infuriating.

Zero Hedge also has a pretty important question, with no acceptable available answer:

... we now have a concrete example of an establishment "news" source admitting that it printed and distributed fake news under it's (sic) corporate brand that it neither wrote nor even bothered to read, yet no one, other than Fox News, says a word?

Cross-posted at