July 21st Editions of Newsweek & Time Pander as Obama Travels: One “Revisits” His “Spiritual Quest,” the Other Uses Mandela (and Fudges His Birthdate, Prints an Old Web Story as Current, and Uses a “Black Power” Fist to Illustrate) (Update 1X)

For some masochistic reason, I chose to pick up the July 21st edition of NEWSWEEK while waiting for my allergy shot on Thursday.  Who could miss it?  A huge close-up picture of Obama, apparently deep in solemn prayer, with a “Faith and Politics” teaser alongside.  The website also says “What He Believes:The Truth About Obama’s Faith.”

A few minutes later, I happened across the July 21st edition of TIME (scroll down for the link to the story). On its cover was a big closeup of Nelson Mandela, with the teaser, “Mandela at 90: The Secrets of Leadership.”

My curiosity was now piqued.  First, I wondered about the Newsweek issue.  OK, you might say, “How odd, Newsweek isn’t talking about THE TRIP, it chose to focus on religion.” But, with Obama’s mega-publicity foreign tour starting just about the time this issue appeared, I wondered (although I didn’t have to work very hard at it) if it was planned bolster Obama’s image here while he was overseas. My conclusions later…

Like many others in a waiting room, I didn’t have the time to read the entire piece then (not to mention those who would lose interest and moved on to “People”).  But I did notice the very serious highlighted sections in the magazine, starting with the opening “Top of the Week” page which featured “Obama’s Spiritual Quest” across the top.

Proceeding to page 26 to the article itself, which was entitled “Finding His Path,” I noticed that on page 25 there was a full-page portrait of Obama in profile, again looking very “spiritual” against a background of “stained glass” as he gazed forward with great solemnity.

From page 26 to page 32, the article by Lisa Miller and Richard Wolffe (Olbermann’s frequent sidekick) spews forth. On page 30, under a small heading which reads “World View,” there is the line “More a Matter of Mystery than Magic.”  Jon Meacham opines in this section that “It seems that for Obama, faith is about enduring questions.” And, of course, he associates Obama’s beliefs with Abraham Lincoln’s evolving faith and humility during the Civil War!

At this point I almost burst out laughing…we’ve been hearing about Obama’s “World View” all through his trip, which is looking a lot like the “Magical Mystery Tour” as it trundles on.  Did Newsweek have advance copies of Obama’s campaign objectives or did it come up with the heading “World View” and plug it in because it just had to go somewhere?

One of the “highlighted” quotations from the interview section that the reader sees reads:

“I’m a big believer not in not just words, but deeds and works.”

Coming from a guy who is mostly words with very little in the “deeds and works” department, this seems a poor choice to put into big print.  (But, then again, Newsweek is owned by the Washington Post Company, and the Post isn’t exactly blazing the way on great journalism when it comes to covering Obama.) Miller and Wolffe also opine that Obama  is now ” a little spiritually rootless” again since supposedly severing ties with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. OK…

If you put yourself in the shoes of the average person thumbing through the magazine, all the highlighted sections probably present a pretty glossy view of Obama and his beliefs. If a person didn’t read any further, they’d see Obama as a serious, serious man, indeed! Mission probably accomplished, at least in waiting rooms? And if the reader DOES delve into the entire article, he or she will get the same impression! Did you know, for example, that Obama was “monkish” while in New York?

After page 32 I figured I’d see a section on John McCain’s spirituality, since the cover had said that this was a an edition of Newsweek focusing on “Faith in Politics.”  Well, there was no such section on McCain, I suppose since he’s was raised as a plain vanilla Episcopalian (now calls himself a Baptist)  who doesn’t flaunt religion every time he opens his mouth. And, although McCain recently gained the endorsement of 100 religious leaders during a meeting in Denver, McCain has had to work at getting it since the “religious right” hasn’t been wildly enthusiastic about him.  In the meantime, Obama has had his meetings with mega-pastors and Christians who are ex-officials from Bush’s Justice Department and apparently has been giving CBN’s David Brody “scoops.”

So, I guess Newsweek figured Obama was the way to go in the “let’s do religion” department. And, of course, the serious nature of the piece turns out to be a great way to remind the reader how “weighty” Obama is as he travels overseas.

And what DID Newsweek write about on McCain?  “Vietnam Loves John McCain” was the story in the “International” section that followed the Obama spread.  Well, I’m sure that’s very nice, but what does it have to do with “Faith and Politics”?  My immediate reaction was that it further “pigeon-holed” McCain as being a relic from the past.  After all, except for us aging baby-boomers, who knows anything about Vietnam?  It’s just another irrelevant piece of history that McCain can be saddled with, right? Obama himself said the Vietnam war had nothing to teach anymore and that it was time to move on in that infamous Las Vegas interview before the Nevada primary. Newsweek’s choice of bringing up Vietnam seems stuck in that  “OLD and from the PAST” frame re: McCain as well.

Furthermore, a great deal of the article goes back and forth on the arguments over whether the torture was or wasn’t used in the prisons where McCain and other U.S. soldiers were held.  What’s the point? To cast doubt on McCain’s war experiences while Obama prances around Europe?

Now getting irritated, I turned to TIME to peruse the Mandela story.  Opening to the article, guess what I found on the page facing the start of the piece?  A raised, black fist in the old “black power” gesture.  Wow, that brought back old times…And, that picture is NOT on the website, just in case you are wondering.

Of course, CNN just happened to air “Black in America”  week on July 23 and 24 as Obama did Germany. Gee, who owns CNN and Time? (Yup, Time-Warner, the largest media company in the world.)

MMM…

The Time story in the print edition, which focused on “Eight Lessons from One of History’s Icons”  begins with a passage about how Mandela’s 90th birthday is coming NEXT WEEK (which would be the week of July 28th, right?). So, I figured, why wouldn’t Time actually publish this cover story NEXT WEEK, instead of the week when Obama was overseas charming the locals?

I flipped through the article, but I never found an EXACT DATE for Mandela’s birth.  Now, I wondered, why is that??

So, I did some research and found, in every place I looked, that Mandela’s birthdate is apparently JULY 18th!  Which means, it would have been BEFORE Obama’s trip.  Wouldn’t you figure that Time would publish the Mandela cover and story in the July 14th issue–only a few days BEFORE Mandela’s birthday?

And, what’s with the statement that Mandela’s birthday was coming up, rather than being already over??

Ah, but look! On the web version of the article, the publication date is: Wednesday, July 9, 2008.  BUT THERE WAS NO OBVIOUS MENTION of this in the print edition and NO EXPLANATION of why the story was published in print a week and half later to coincide with Obama’s trip and AFTER Mandela’s birthday.

I must have been subconsciously rebelling against all this (well as consciously rebelling!) , because in writing this piece, I’ve been repeatedly spelling “Newsweek” as “Newseek.”

…which is what these two rags seem to have been doing…looking for anyway possible to bolster Obama’s image as he rolls through the Middle East and Europe. Obama’s religious quest and Nelson Mandela…can’t do any better than that!

Update…Oops, Time just reported the “leak” of  Obama’s “private prayer” at the Western Wall!

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Related Posts:

Part 1: Obama’s Conservative Meeting Guests–Non-Pastors (UPDATED 1x)

Part 2: Obama’s Conservative Meeting Guests–The Pastors

Matthew 25 Network PAC Hits Christian Radio with Pro-Obama Ad as Christian Conservative Leaders Decide to Support McCain (UPDATED 1X)

Welcome to “Brainwave Analysis”–Where Brainwaves are “Taken, Analyzed, Cleaned-up, Processed” and the Metrics are “Extracted” (Coming to a Future Political Campaign Near You?)

I don’t listen to morning radio very often, but Tuesday (July 22) I was out early and happened to tune in to NPR’s “Morning Edition.”  I came in on the middle of an interview about something called “neurofocus” and thought it was related to a new medical finding. As I listened further, however, I realized that it had nothing to do with medicine.

The segment was actually about a company named NeuroFocus, Inc. (“Brainwave Analysis for Audience Engagement”) which is gathering data about how people respond to messaging in a new way which is problematical downright SCARY.

According to the company’s website:

NeuroFocus, Inc. is an innovative company applying the latest advances in neuroscience to the world of advertising and messaging. Leveraging a rapidly growing body of research and insights into how the human brain processes stimuli like ads, messages, and products, we are able to track millisecond-by-millisecond brain responses to messaging.

Our breakthrough techniques utilize advances in measuring attention challenges, emotional engagement, and memory/retention to measure the effectiveness of advertising. Our measurements are precise, unambiguous, and repeatable. The measurement method is established EEG technology, which is simple, non-invasive, non-influential, and comfortable for and familiar to consumers.

Their “Neuroinformatics Database” is a much different animal that the “Gallup Brain” project which I discussed briefly in a recent post, “Musings on Pollsters: Confessions of a Former Gallup Study Director…(Updated 1X).”  Gallup’s project merely involves a set-up that involves using millions of records from six decades of surveys.

No, what NeuroFocus is doing is entirely different.

Continue reading

The “International Press Library” is Up and Running! (Useful Links to the Foreign Media)

July 22, 2008

This library of links to foreign news sites is a result of years of putting together the World Media Watch for another site.  It certainly does not list every available foreign news site, but, instead, reflects the sites that I found most useful. Included are a list of sites which provide extensive links to many more foreign sites.

It is permanently available by clicking the “Intl’l. Press Library” tab at the top of the page.

In the future, as I begin to do the World Media Watch again, hopefully on a more regular basis, I’ll be adding more sites as I come across them and will update these lists accordingly.

I also plan to add a page devoted to energy-related sites which I developed when I did the World Energy Watch, another project that I hope to return to in the future.

I hope visitors to this site find this “library” useful.

GRL

INTERNATIONAL PRESS LIBRARY OF LINKS

WORLD NEWS REVIEWS/FOREIGN POLICY REVIEWS; AGENCIES/HEADLINE SERVICES; NEWSPAPER SEARCH INDEXES

NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION: CANADA; SOUTH AMERICA

NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION: BRITAIN/UK; EUROPE (NON-UK)

NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION: MIDDLE EAST; TURKEY

NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION: INDIA; PAKISTAN

NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION: RUSSIA; CENTRAL ASIA

NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION: AFRICA

NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION: JAPAN; CHINA/HONG KONG; TAIWAN; KOREAS

NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION: AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND; SOUTHEAST ASIA


NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION: AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND; SOUTHEAST ASIA

NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION

AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND

ABC Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation–Government)

news.com.au

The Mercury (Tasmania)

The Canberra Times

The Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian

The West Australian

New Zealand Herald

SOUTHEAST ASIA (PHILLIPINES, ETC.)

PHILIPPINES

INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

Manila News.net

The Manila Times

Philippines Post

INDONESIA

The New Straits Times

The Jakarta Post – The Journal of Indonesia Today

ANTARA News – Indonesia

The Star Online : Malaysia News

Channel Newsasia.com–Singapore

The Irrawaddy News -Burma (Thailand)

NEWS SOURCES BY COUNTRY/REGION: JAPAN; CHINA/HONG KONG; TAIWAN; KOREAS

Covering the region:

Asia Times Online

JAPAN; CHINA/HONG KONG; TAIWAN; KOREAS

JAPAN

The Japan Times

Japan Today

Daily Yomiuri

The Asahi Shimbum

Kyodo News

Japan Focus–Cornell University, U.S.

CHINA

Xinhuanet News Agency (Government)

CRIENGLISH(China Radio International-Government)

China Daily (Government)

Muzi.com–China

The Standard – China’s Business Newspaper

China Development Brief

South China Morning Post, Hong Kong

Far Eastern Economic Review

eTaiwanNews.com

THE KOREAS

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) –S. Korea

The Korea Times–S. Korea

JoongAng Daily–S. Korea

Korean Central News Agency of DPRK–N.Korea (Government)