Monday, April 18, 2005

Ann Coulter and Time magazine's cover.

By now you have read about Time's distorted picture of Ann Coulter on this week's cover. Time has used similarly distorted pictures of other conservatives in the past while using flattering photos of thier idol, Hillary Clinton. I have not decided whether to call this a lie yet, but the pattern is worth noting. Libertarian author Robert Ringer notes one such incident involving Time Magazine in his 1983 book, "How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization":
Time magazine wanted to do a feature article about me and said they needed a good picture to go with the article. They proceeded to send a photographer to my office, who ended up taking a couple of hundred pictures. With that many shots from which to select, I fully expected them to choose the one that came closest to making me look like Errol Flynn.
No Such Luck. The dice were loaded from the start. When the shooting session began, the photographer had said to me, "Why don't we just try to loosen you up a bit? Just fool around; make some funny faces. Here, let's see you make a fist - like this (he domonstrated what he had in mind). Yeah, that's right - a fist. Good. How about a few facial contortions (he again demonstrated). I've found that this type of thing helps to loosen up my subjects."
Without giving it much thought, I tried to relax and go along with the "loosening up" part of the picture-taking session. I joked around with the photographer and made a few fists and funny faces for him. Little did I know that the rest of the session was purely cosmetic; he had already gotten the pictures he wanted!
Within a couple of weeks, there I was in Time, sporting a gruff sneer and clenching my fist. I just happened to be looking to my left in the center of a two-page spread. Juxtaposed was a picture of Michael Korda, the author of Power!, looking to his right. Needless to say, he was also clenching his fist and staring ominously at me. A nice piece of photo editing, to say the least. Dishonest, but clever. I'm sure there wasn't a Time reader in the country who didn't think that Korda's and my pictures were taken in concert, and that we willingly-even eagerly-posed that way for the article. Alas, the truth is that Korda and I had never met. But the idea was "sensational" - two obvious "bad guys" making fists at one another. The content of the story, need I point out, was even more misleading.
(emphasis added)

The lessons are:

1) If Time wants to run a story on you, that's fine. But don't let them take any pictures.

2) Read # 20 from this list.

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