Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
November 16, 2009

Newsweek Gives Cover Girl Palin A Dressing Down


Palin Newsweek Runners World.jpg
Newsweek delegates itself as official push-back committee as SP's book tour kicks off another media wave of cheese ball Palinmania.

Recyling an original photo from the August Runners World interview and slideshow, Newsweek issues Palin a slap — pretending it's our mother talking — while simultaneously taking it to the bank. And, along the way, we get an ever cheaper take on the underlying Palin themes (pictures allowing statements the media couldn't bluntly say otherwise), including:

1. Ooh la la. (Those legs aren't in Runners World anymore!)

2. US Oh! Of course, sex and patriotism sells a lot better than sex alone. (Read: Army banner on window + pin-up girl pose + the mile of Old Glory).

3. Health and nature sells. Again, you've got that trademark secessionist, call-of-the-wild, Palin-branded "mountains in my back yard" and mukluks thing going on.

4. Technology and "Super Mom" sells — because she really does run around with multiple cell phones/PDA's.

Update 11/16/09: BAG contributor Nina Berman takes the picture a different direction, seeing Palin's Runners World photo op as the rope she hands Newsweek to hang herself. She writes:

The Newsweek cover is a shrewd strategic maneuver to demean Palin without having to take responsibility for it. I think it's brilliant. They take an inelegantly, even laughably propped photo where Palin is an obvious participant as opposed to being a manipulated subject, and recontextualize it to show how far out she is willing to travel on the road of self promotion. They beat her at her own game and in the process shield themselves from what would have been the inevitable criticism if they had dolled her up themselves and posed her the same way.

Update 2: 11/17/09 8:30pm PST

If you were confused or offended by the discussion on this post today, I owe a brief explanation. YahooNews linked to the piece this morning sending a huge amount of traffic to the post, along with a flood of comments from people unfamiliar with the tone and mission of BAGnewsNotes.

Unfortunately, I wasn't monitoring the comments and didn't really look at them closely till this evening. A good many had nothing to do with the cover, and many more came up far short of constructive. Most troubling, though, is that a handful attacked Nina Berman in an ugly and personal way and have since been deleted. … I should also say specifically to people that aren't familiar with BAGnewsNotes (as, yes, a progressive site, but more so, one that examines media dynamics and semiotics) that, although none of us here may be Sarah Palin fans, Nina was calling out Newsweek's editorial acumen only.

Finally, as regular readers know, we are extremely proud of the discussions here at BAGnewsNotes and consider them as important to the site as the posts themselves. If this kind of exposure is a price of The BAG's growth or increased visibility, part of our plan, as we expand the site, will likely include either a closer monitoring of posts (at least, those featured more prominently on the open road of the information highway) or comment moderation of those posts, or both.

– Michael

(photo: Brian Adams)

Refresh Archives

Random Notes