Time Magazine’s May29 cover features what a purported parody of the U.S. White House turning red and well towards being transformed into what the illustrator believes is “the Kremlin.” This is supposed to show just how creative and conscientious these folks are. What it really shows is the opposite.
Here’s a portion of that Time cover:
Thus, it could be that Time’s outsourced cover designer, “inspired” by Mad’s cover, created a new one, and simply assumed that Mad had illustrated “the Kremlin.”
But an Australian cartoonist has pointed out that he created two cartoons which Time’s illustrator, knowingly or not, managed to combine into one presentation:
All in all, one certainly has cause to wonder if someone has just been caught “red-handed” lifting someone else’s ideas.
Time’s mock cover was also short on conscientiousness — at least if the objective was to try to claim that Russia’s government is guiding the Trump administration from “the Kremlin.”
That’s because, as several blogs have pointed out, the Time cover, created by Brobel Design, which has previously done work for the magazine, doesn’t include “the Kremlin” at all, but instead uses the nearby St. Basil’s Cathedral:
Confirming a clear distinction, Encyclopedia Britannica’s brief video presentation on the Kremlin doesn’t mention St. Basil’s, and the introduction to Wikipedia’s related entry says that “the Kremlin … is a fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River to the south, Saint Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square to the east.” The online encyclopedia’s entry on St. Basil’s notes that the cathedral “is not actually within the Kremlin, but often (inaccurately) served as a visual metonym for Russia in western media throughout the Cold War.”
In other words, because the real Kremlin looks so bland and foreboding, western media for decades often presented images of St. Basil’s as if they represented the Kremlin — effectively engaging in a visual form of fake news, misleading viewers into believing that the “Russian administration sits in (an) Orthodox church with minarets.”
One can excuse Mad Magazine, the Australian cartoonist and other cartoonists who have recently created similar works for being more interested in creating colorful, attention-grabbing images than in architectural accuracy. That’s their perogative, as they’re engaging in ridicule and satire, though one could also argue that they’ve also been fooled by decades of fake-news images.
But none of the reporters or anyone in the layers of fact-checkers and editors at Time, which claimed to be engaged in serious journalism (or so they say), caught the error.
At the paper’s “Comic Riffs” blog, the Washington Post’s Michael Cavna displayed nine other examples of cartoons using St. Basil’s instead of the Kremlin as a layer on top of the White House, and was apparently unaware of their inherent inaccuracy:
When a political cartoonist begins sketching out ideas that involve Moscow, the same old visual metaphors commonly cycle through the creative brain: the Russian nesting dolls, the ol’ Soviet bear, the trusty hammer and sickle. And of course, those Kremlin Towers, which in their iconic shapes and colors can prove artistically irresistible.
I propose we give this hapless WashPost reporter a nickname, i.e., Michael “Kremlin Towers” Cavna.
For heaven’s sake (pun intended), those “towers” aren’t part of the Kremlin, and decades of media misuse don’t justify continuing the aforementioned media malpractice by pretending that they are.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.