Is Newsweek's Michele Bachmann Cover Fair?

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Is Newsweek's cover photo of Michele Bachmann fair? (Credit: Newsweek)

Newsweek magazine has been criticized for its choice of cover photo of Michele Bachmann. As the Star Tribune explained, “Bachmann’s eyes are open wider than normal…her smile is forced, and her chin tilted unnaturally upward.”

The cover story is titled “The Queen of Rage,” but according to the Star Tribune, “it might as well say ‘Crazy Eyes.’ The Star Tribune went on:

“The photo isn’t just unflattering. It goes way beyond that, making the three-term Congresswoman look unbalanced. It’s the kind of photo you expect to see in a political attack ad, not on the cover of a mainstream news magazine. And that’s the issue here.”

The Star Tribune wondered if Newsweek really didn’t have any other photos that could have worked.

The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus called the cover “an injustice to Bachmann.”  Marcus, who disclosed that she is “no Bachmann fan,” commented that she thinks Newsweek was unfair to Bachmann with the image and the “Queen of Rage” title, especially since Bachmann hasn’t commented on the cover.

Marcus added that “it takes some effort to make the photogenic Bachmann look bad, and I suspect Brown & Co. knew exactly what they were doing” in presenting an image of Bachmann “that made Bachmann look especially deranged.”

Marcus noted that the Boston Globe’s Joan Vennochi identified that the cover image selection did get “people yapping” about Newsweek, so Newsweek editor Tina Brown has “mission accomplished.”

Meanwhile, U.S. News & World Report commented the photo “isn’t sexist, it’s just unflattering.”  Noting that the image isn’t altered, U.S. News & World Report argued that the media publishes plenty of similarly “unflattering” photos of male politicians.

iMediaEthics wrote in June critically of Newsweek’s speculative story on Princess Diana and accompanying Photoshopped images.

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Is Newsweek’s Michele Bachmann Cover Fair?

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