John Cloud, author of Time magazine's cover story on Coulter, sat down with CJR's Brian Montopoli to talk about his piece. It's a train wreck. Either Cloud doesn't know what he's doing, what he's saying, or how it's sounding, but something's going wretchedly awry as his words travel from tongue to tape recorder. I, for one, didn't much mind the Coulter piece. If Time wants to venerate her, she's a cultural figure and this is a magazine that regularly plasters nude models pantomiming back pain on their covers, it's their choice to continue their estrangement from serious reporting. But if they're going to defend her appearance as newsworthy and "new", they're going to have to do better than this:
Brian, Brian, we have put Josef Stalin on the cover. We have made Adolf Hitler the person of the year. We are a news magazine. The cover of our magazine is not glorification. It is news. This whole idea is bizarre to me. If the New York Times did a front-page story on Ann Coulter, would it be glorifying her or would it be covering her?
First of all, allow me a "heh" moment as Cloud compares Coulter to Hitler and Stalin; even I'm not that shrill. But then, I've never had to sit down with the woman. Either way, does Cloud not see the difference between a cover story featuring a B list conservative columnist and those focusing on heads of state? I hate to tell him how his magazine works, but Henry Luce's publication didn't choose cover stories on the basis of douche-baggery levels, it selected on grounds of newsworthiness. And Ann Coulter, whose recent book didn't achieve anything near the infamy her previous efforts garnered and whose influence has been steadily waning, doesn't really qualify.