Dec
04
2009

Joe Klein: Obama No Reagan

Time columnist Joe Klein (12/3/09) was not altogether impressed by Obama's announcement of a 30,000 troop escalation in Afghanistan (an "iffy proposition," as Klein put it). But Klein's main point was that Obama should have justified the war differently: "Once you have made the decision to go, or to redouble your efforts, you must lead the charge–passionately and, yes, with a touch of anger." Then he describes the better way: Ronald Reagan would have done it differently. He would have told a story. It might not have been a true story, but it would have had resonance. He might have […]

Oct
02
2009

Time's Afghanistan Debate: More Troops or a Lot More Troops?

In the new issue of Time magazine,a debate on Afghanistan is listed in the table of contents this way: What Should We Do Now? Two Views Is it time for the U.S. military to turn Afghanistan over, or is time for our troops to stay the course? The "stay the course" view is presented by Peter Bergen, who argues that critics of the war are all wrong about Afghan history and the Afghan public's view of foreign troops (they don't mind them much): "The objections to an increased U.S. military commitment in South Asia rest on a number of flawed […]

Sep
01
2009

Joe Klein Advises Obama on Afghanistan

In his Time column this week, Klein writes: So what should Obama do about Afghanistan? His dilemma isn't as stark as has been posed in recent press accounts, with screamers on the right demanding slavish devotion to the military's wish list and screamers on the left demanding a withdrawal. The U.S. military has become far more … nuanced when it comes to making requests of presidents. The negotiations about what [Gen. Stanley] McChrystal can officially request will not take place anywhere near the public eye. It is very likely that more troops will be sent–to build and train the Afghan […]

Jul
23
2009

Time: Israeli Settlers vs. the Palestinians

Time has a big piece by Nina Burleigh on Israeli settlements in this week's issue. It's a familiar framing: The Katzes, very normal, gentle people readers can identify with (they're even from New York!), "consider themselves law-abiding citizens" and do painfully earnest and upstanding things like "publish a small community magazine and take part in civic projects. Sharon raises money for charity by putting on tap-dancing and theater shows." There's a smiling family portrait, and a picture of settlers playing in a swimming pool with their kids. They "don't think their town is an obstacle to peace." These settlers from […]

Jul
17
2009

Time Marriage 'Concern' Really Just 'Attack on Liberals'

In Katha Pollitt's latest Nation column (7/15/09), she finds it "not hard to poke holes in" the July 2 Time magazine cover story by "Caitlin Flanagan–professional antifeminist, author of a whole book of essays attacking working mothers, herself excepted"–being full of "Flanagan's predictions of universal doom for the children of divorced or never-married parents": After all, President Clinton and President Obama turned out all right. Most children of divorce do. There are plenty of countries where divorce and unmarried parenthood are common, but children do fine–Sweden, France, Germany, the Netherlands. Some of the measured bad effects on kids are more […]

Jul
09
2009

Time: Single Parents, Not Poverty, Bad for Kids

Guest blogging at Double X (7/2/09), Linda Hirshman takes on a Time magazine "cover story by working mother-scourge Caitlin Flanagan" that uses "the occasion of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's staggeringly banal adultery to tell America that 'Marriage Matters.'" Specifically, Hirshman writes of Flanagan's contention that Marriage matters, because single-parent families are bad for children, the only people who count. "Drastically" bad: "On every single significant outcome … children from intact, two-parent families outperform those from single-parent households…. If you can measure it, a sociologist has; and in all cases, the kids living with both parents drastically outperform the others." […]

Jul
08
2009

Time's Trend Story in Search of a Trend

Reading Caitlin Flanagan's Time magazine cover story (7/2/09) on the "increasingly fragile construct" of marriage–which claims that "the divorce culture became a fact of life" over "the past 2½ decades"–one would never guess that U.S. divorce rates have actually dropped by almost a third since 1992, from 4.8 per thousand people to 3.5.

Jun
12
2009

Joe Klein Solves the 'Hot-Button Issues'

There's almost too much to say about this recent column Joe Klein wrote in Time magazine. But let's start by parsing this: In the good old days of the last century, the years before the collapse of the economy and the World Trade Center towers, political discourse in the U.S. was, too often, rutted in issues that didn't affect the lives of most people. They were important moral and symbolic issues, to be sure. And they were difficult issues, although their subtleties were obscured by extremists, who tended to dominate the debate. Still, the people directly affected by the so-called […]

Feb
13
2009

Time Loves Summers, Hates Social Security

A Tiny Revolution blogger Jonathan Schwarz (2/8/09) quotes from yet another "Time magazine article about Larry Summers and how incredibly brilliant he is": Perhaps as early as March, they'll launch their biggest lift with the beginnings of a plan to reform Social Security and Medicare, the two entitlement programs that, even before the economy collapsed, were threatening the Treasury with bankruptcy…. When Obama unveils his annual budget in late February or March, Summers promises that the president "is going to describe the kinds of approaches he wants to take to the entitlement problems that have been ignored for a long […]

Dec
01
2008

What We Learned About Larry Summers

Time magazine tells us about Obama's chief economic adviser: His controversial comments about women's aptitude for math and science were a reminder that he operates best when he is working behind the scenes. Oh, so that was the lesson. I had been under the misapprehension that the lesson had something to do with Larry Summers' sexism. Time also writes that of Obama's incoming economic team, Summers is the one to watch. He is expected to do for the economy what strong-minded and ambitious National Security Advisers like Henry Kissinger have done for foreign policy: plan it, set it and control […]

Nov
18
2008

Failed Reporting on Somalia–or Didn't-Even-Try Reporting?

As well as being infused with a modern-day "white man's burden" mythology not exactly unheard of in media reporting on Somalia, Time magazine's article "The Suffering of Somalia" (11/13/08) follows the well-documented pattern of misreporting on recent U.S. intervention on Somalia (see Extra!, 3-4/08)–downplaying the disastrous role of recent U.S. policy in that country: Somalia is not so much a failed-state as a didn't-even-try one. It hasn't had a government since 1991, when warlords took over and embarked on a series of intractable clan wars that have produced one of the world's worst humanitarian crises: hundreds of thousands dead and […]

Nov
14
2008

Corporate Media Non-Ideology

One interesting post-election story has been the treatment of Rahm Emanuel, a center-right Clinton Democrat who will serve as Obama's chief of staff. While some Republicans claim Emanuel is too "partisan," some media defenders argue that he's not, since his politics are not all that liberal. Time magazine's Karen Tumulty explains: The strongest signal of how that White House will operate has been Obama's pick of Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel to be its chief of staff. Emanuel is a win-at-any-cost partisan but not an ideologue; in his earlier White House stint as a top aide to Clinton, he was a […]