By MARC MCDONALD
Outraged progressive commentators across the Web are asking their visitors to cancel their subscriptions to Time magazine in the aftermath of that magazine's puff piece on fascist nutcase Ann Coulter.
The Time April 25 cover story offended progressives (and, for that matter, all sane Americans) with writer John Cloud's contention that he "didn't find many outright Coulter errors."
This, despite the fact that Coulter's vicious hatemongering is absolutely smothered with blatant lies that have been extensively documented in print media and across the Web.
While many progressives are angered by this whole episode, I think it's actually good news for American public discourse.
I think it's great that progressives are finally starting to see Time magazine for what it really is. A jingoistic, right-leaning, anti-union, business-friendly publication that masquerades as "unbiased" serious journalism. A magazine that gave acres of coverage to the partisan witchhunt against Clinton and then snoozed through critical stories like GOP's stealing of the 2000 election and the disenfranchisement of Ohio voters in 2004.
There are those of us who've been shouting from the rooftops for years that Time leans Republican. Now, it appears the Left will finally take notice. And hopefully, more than a few progressives will cancel their subscriptions.
To get an understanding of Time magazine's conservative leanings, it's important to take a look at the magazine's history, which has always been steadily pro-business and pro-GOP since launching in 1923.
Before that, founders Henry Luce and Briton Hadden were noted for having turned their college paper (the Yale Daily News) into a "propagandist sheet promoting intense patriotism" during World War I (according to "The People's Almanac" by David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace).
"The People's Almanac" documents Time magazine's historically conservative bias, including the magazine's take on events when the U.S. was in the grip of hard times during the 1930s economic meltdown:
"The Depression would go away if one worked and prayed hard enough, and if some people starved, well, it was pretty much their own fault. Luce never had any sympathy for losers."
Time later propagandized for the U.S. to enter World War II, "The People's Almanac" notes. But not for the purpose of saving democracy, or the British, but to establish American dominance in the world:
This was to be, Luce said, the "American Century." America must take charge of the world because no one else was worthy. Military supremacy was essential.
Time magazine's pro-GOP leanings continued after the war, "The People's Almanac" notes. "By 1950 Time had become almost the house organ of the Republican party."
Despite Time magazine's historically pro-Republican leanings, I'm a bit baffled as to why it would dignify human filth like Coulter. I suppose it all comes down to profit. After all, the mainstream media's embrace of "unbiased" news has really always been about profit.
If you claim to be unbiased, then, in theory this will increase readership and boost your profits. It sounds like a plausible theory on paper. But the fact is, I think this approach has finally caught up with America's mainstream press.
Big Media's credibility is lower than ever these days. The Right has long condemned the media for a supposed "liberal" bias. And now the Left is also starting to catch on that Big Media is not to be trusted.
The bottom line is that the corporate media titans these days are dinosaurs and headed for extinction. With the rise of the Internet, the media is splintering into thousands of independent voices, that corporate America (much to its horror) cannot control. Across the Web, tens of thousands of online publications are emerging and few of them make any ridiculous pretense at "non-partisanship."
Time shot itself in the foot with the Coulter fiasco. And Big Media's loss is a big plus for all of us who believe in putting the truth (and people) before profits.