There was a time, so to speak, and it wasn’t that long ago, when there was much anticipation and a great deal of debate over who might be named and who should be named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. This year, the relative disinterest is stunning. And why not? The publication’s selection of Barack Obama, though arguably correct, set a new and embarrassing low in utterly vacuous justification.
A half-century ago, Time was a highly respected weekly newsmagazine which, though it clearly tilted to the left, was known for its strong journalism and institutional integrity. Those days are long gone.
The magazine reports circulation of roughly 3.4 million, basically flat since 2007 but about 18 percent below where it spent the 15 previous years. Meanwhile, the U.S. population has grown by over 20 percent. The level-off of the past five years isn’t due to anything Time has done, but is instead a by-product of the self-immolation seen at Newsweek, its principal competitor. Things are so bad at Newsweek that its owners recently decided to terminate the print edition when 2012 ends.
Time claims “readership” of 20 million. Sure. We’re really supposed to believe each copy of the magazine is read by an average of six people. I certainly don’t. The better indication of the weekly yawns the magazine induces in the public is its newsstand sales, which during the second half of 2010 amounted to a paltry 79,000. Each issue is typically so thin you wonder why anyone bothers to publish it, let alone read it. (more…)
Best Line: “Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who was a Republican and then an independent, has just announced he is now a Democrat. And as soon as the next Super Bowl is over, Crist will tell us his favorite NFL football team.”
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