Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Time Magazine A Mixed Bag In Its First Issue Of The Year

Time magazine can do things very well, as it shows in its first issue of the year with masterful coverage of the scandal in the Bush Administration, the Administration's clear violations of the law in authorizing domestic spying without warrants.

But the good impression is blurred with a fawning piece at the beginning of the magazine by Ann A. Moore, the new "chairman(sic.)" and CEO of Time, Inc. about the outgoing Time, Inc. editor-in-chief, Norman Pearlstine and his successor, John Huey.

This piece, by a woman who marked the start of her tenure by laying off a whole group of talented employees, manages by excessive praise to Pearlstine and Huey make them look even worse than Dennis FitzSimons, the inept CEO of the Tribune Co.

Imagine writing a piece about Pearlstine and never mentioning his disgraceful decision to bow to the special prosecutor and cooperate in the government's attempt to silence a free press in the CIA leak case. It was Pearlstine who instructed his White House reporter, Matthew Cooper, to fold his tents and testify to the grand jury about his source. In doing so, Pearlstine stamped himself forever as a cowardly sellout to government interests. We see the results in the new Justice Department investigations of leaks to the New York Times on the domestic spying scandal.

I can just imagine what some of her editors thought of this piece by Moore. They must have literally shuddered to see her make such a fool out of herself.

What is it that makes so many of these high corporate executives so ridiculous? After all, Mark Willes' severance from Times-Mirror, at least $64 million, was bad enough, without his insisting on raiding his own office refrigerator of all the drinks.

Time, parenthetically, makes too many executive changes too often.

Other than that, it has a good magazine this week, with a long review of the book by New York Times reporter James Risen on U.S. intelligence operations in the War On Terror, and a nice exchange between former Rep. Bob Barr and columnist Charles Krauthammer on Bush's domestic snooping.

Even the overly emotional excerpts of Taylor Branch's book on the final days of The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., were entertaining.

The late Mickey Ziffren, who was raised in pre-Nazi Germany, always said later she could tell who had been Nazis, "It's the obsequious ones," she say. "I've learned that those who are at your feet today, can easily be at your throat tomorrow." Ann Moore apparently is that type.

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