Forgive me, for I have sinned

In my last post, I linked to a source in Newsweek. I should not have done that. Newsweek, like other such weekly news magazines, such as Time and US News & World Report, is garbage. It’s part of the grocery store media ecosystem, that collection of glossy magazines on racks near the checkout stand, living on impulse purchases by bored shoppers waiting in line. Newsweek is not to be trusted.

Writing in The Columbia Journalism Review last year, Daniel Tovrov depicted Newsweek, once one of America’s most distinguished magazines, as a shell of its former self. All that was left was clickbait, op-eds from the likes of Nigel Farage and Newt Gingrich, and a general sense of drift. “Nobody I spoke to for this article had a sense of why Newsweek exists,” Tovrov wrote. “While the name Newsweek still carries a certain authority—remnants of its status as a legacy outlet—and the magazine can still bag an impressive interview now and then, it serves an opaque purpose in the media landscape.”

Last week, Newsweek suggested one possible purpose: The legitimization of narratives straight out of the right-wing fever swamps. An op-ed written by John Eastman, a conservative lawyer and founding director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, coyly suggested that Kamala Harris, who was born in California, may not be eligible to serve as vice president because her parents were immigrants. It was, as many pointed out, a racist attack with no constitutional merit, on par with the birther conspiracy theory that claimed Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Within a few hours, Eastman’s op-ed was being brandished by President Trump, who told reporters he had “heard” Harris may not be eligible to serve.

I’ll avoid them more thoroughly in the future.


  1. says

    Newsweek used to be the good one. I can’t believe how their tone has changed over the last two decades. Wouldn’t touch it with a 10ft pole these days.

  2. Bruce says

    If even the children of immigrants couldn’t be President, what does that say about Trump, whose own mother was an immigrant herself?
    Not to mention that both parents of Trump’s father were immigrants.
    Just to be safe, maybe nobody should be eligible to be President of the USA unless they are an enrolled member of an Indian tribe? Wait, would that have made Kamala’s mother eligible?
    And what about Ted Canada Cruz? This is so confusing.

  3. Some Old Programmer says

    If the name John Eastman is vaguely familiar, he’s the lawyer that drafted the legal theory for the coup of January 6th.

  4. AstroLad says

    Anything connected to Newt Gingrich should razed to the ground and salted so it can never rise again.

  5. PaulBC says

    From my childhood until recently, I thought of Newsweek as a reasonably informative if lightweight news magazine of the sort you might read in a dentist office to kill time. But recently, I see them highlighting clickbait stories on my phone, with titles like “Cute dog barks at cupcake.” (That one is made-up but not far off.) I am not sure what happened. I haven’t seen much ideological content, but I haven’t looked hard either. I guess it’s a more profitable business model than hiring journalists to report news.

  6. says

    #5: I know. | used to joke that my retirement plan was to convert to fundamentalist xianity to rake in the bucks, but now it’s gotten so bad that apparently I have to become a Nazi if I really want to prosper. Or Andrew Sullivan, but I repeat myself.

  7. Allison says

    I think the Wall Street Journal is in a similar category. It was always “conservative,” but mostly in the sense of establishment. But since Rupert Murdoch bought it, the non-business articles follow the NYPost/Fox News party line. (I don’t have the background to judge to what extent the articles on business and finance are slanted.)

  8. birgerjohansson says

    Isn’t Newsweek the magazine that learned of – but did not report- the countless mini-massacres done by the orders of a Marine general who wanted to kill locals so they could not inform guerrillas about troop movements ?
    No big massacre but like a small wound dripping blood all the time without stopping.

  9. pilgham says

    From Wikipedia

    Between 2008 and 2012, Newsweek experienced financial difficulties, leading to the cessation of print publication and a transition to an all-digital format at the end of 2012. It was relaunched (print and digital) in 2014 under the ownership of IBT Media, which also owns the International Business Times.

    Tina Brown was running it from 2008 to 2012, but she had her own enterprise in The Daily Beast. I think she saw it as unnecessary (vestigial?) and wound it down. The real rot set in with its relaunch as part of IBT (International Business Times). I’m not sure the current incarnation has anything at all in common with the old magazine except the name on the label. (IBT is one of several Asian Cult owned newspapers. See also Washington Times and Epoch Times. Why? I dunno.)

  10. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    Yeah, I always thought of Newsweek as the budget version of TIME. But any magazine can have good reportage. It is sad to see that it does seem that they went from decent, standard establishment reportage as a high bar to being increasingly about laundering right-wing lunacy.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    Soo…. a glossy version of New York Post?
    Are there even any staff left from the pre-cult-owned era?

  12. davidc1 says

    Spoiler alert ,nah ,not going to tell you that a christian radio host has been jailed for running a Ponzi scheme ,bollox I just did .

  13. cheerfulcharlie says

    Long ago I used to subscribe to Newsweak. I finally drop my subscription because of flaccid reporting and I disliked paying to support the rancid bleatings of George F. Will, The Wheezing Windbag. I have not missed Newsweek at all.

  14. cheerfulcharlie says

    The Wall Street Journal could have some good reporting but the editorial page has always been a cesspool of far right ignorami. Much to be avoided.

  15. whheydt says

    Heh… Title is shades of Gen. Charles Napier’s one word telegram to announce his taking control of what is now a portion of Pakistan. He sent, “Pecave”.

  16. whheydt says

    Re: Me @ #18…
    Which I misspelled… Should have been “Peccavi”. (So much for my knowledge of Latin spelling.)

  17. DanDare says

    Signs of dominionist success, conquer the courts, own the news, take over all the cultural spaces and financial institutions, block science institutions.
    However because they are terrible their versions of things are also corrupt and terrible and seem to fall appart or decline.