Well, this isn't a big surprise. The cover of the latest issue of Newsweek--the "wild-eyed" Michele "Queen of Rage" Bachmann one--has offended some conservatives, some women, and several conservative women. The sheer volume of the animosity is reminiscent of how way back when (six weeks ago) it seemed like the entire world took aim at Newsweek editor-in-chief Tina Brown for the kind of creepy cover featuring a digitally constructed depiction of Princess Diana at 50. And who could forget the 2009 cover featuring a repurposed photo of Sarah Palin and the headline "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah Palin?"
Then and now, Newsweek managed to catch readers attention, but they also managed to attract a firestorm of accusations that the depictions were sexist, disrespectful, and outright offensive. Palin condemned the 2009 cover, but you might be surprised at Michele Bachmann's reaction to this latest controversy. But first let's do away with the rage.
Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin simply couldn't believe Tina Brown's nerve:
Yes, I’m talking about you, Oxford University-educated Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown. You’ve resorted to recycling bottom-of-the-barrel moonbat photo cliches about conservative female public figures and their enraged “crazy eyes?” Really? … To repeat what I said last month: I’d rather have “crazy eyes” than willfully blind ones.
I don’t know about you, but when I want articles on women that read like bitter Summer’s Eve scripts, I turn to Newsweek. Under the editorial control of Tina Brown, the rice paper magazine barely struggles against its bias towards conservative women to view them with anything other than contempt. …
When your premise is an unflattering photo (and if you don’t have them you’re a liar or Miranda Kerr) to sell your bias, you just might be a chauvinist.
Slate's DoubleX managing editor Jessica Grose does it begrudgingly, but she does rise to Bachmann's defense:
I hate it when Michele Bachmann makes me defend her, but I'm with Loesch on this one: The Newsweek cover was unnecessarily unflattering. I doubt Newsweek would portray a male candidate with such a lunatic expression on his face. As much as it pains me to admit it Bachmann is a legitimate candidate and major magazines should treat her like one.
Hot Air's Ed Morrisey took issue with the headline:
Rage? I’ve certainly heard Bachmann talk tough about encroaching government and the avalanche of spending and debt, but in all the years I’ve known and covered Bachmann, I’ve never heard her rage at anyone. It seems as though Newsweek has a double standard in effect for conservatives, women, and especially conservative women.
The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart gives Bachmann credit for being a "focused, disciplined and hungry campaigner" but shrugs over the photo:
Where on earth is she looking this time? Rollins has the candidate under control. He now has to get this aspect of her image under control. It’s as if someone is dangling a treat (or maybe it’s a line of Scripture) to get her to look at the camera the way a photographer tries to get a kid to focus on class picture day.
Michele Bachman actually seems to be shrugging it off, herself. Dave Weigel reports that Bachmann told a crowd in Iowa she had not seen the Newsweek cover by Monday afternoon:
"It's a big close-up of you," the voter said, "a wild-eyed photo with the headline, 'Queen of Rage.'"
"Ah-hah," said Bachmann. "Well, we'll have to take a look at that, won't we?"
She rejected the premise of the story and uncorked a monologue about how her campaign was one of "hope," and how much of it came from her experience growing up in Iowa. No ranting about the media. No taking bait.
Newsweek still seems proud of their cover, by the way. They continued tweeting out images throughout the controversy.
UPDATE: Tina Brown defended the cover in a tweet, "Michele Bachmann's intensity is galvanizing voters in Iowa right now and Newsweek's cover captures that."