Time's Prez Warning: 'Nurse With 35 Yrs. Experience Killed Patient Faster'

Not that Time's in the tank for Obama or nuthin'. Not that its new cover merely depicts Barack with an other-worldly aura, asks the question whether experience matters and answers it largely in the negative.

No, it gets much better. The magazine's editor goes on Morning Joe and cites a study comparing a new nurse with a nurse who has 35 years of experience. And he lets us know that not only did the experienced nurse not perform any better than the rookie, she actually wound up . . . killing the patient faster!

Time editor Rick Stengel [a former Bill Bradley speechwriter] today made his regular Thursday-morning Morning Joe appearance to tout the mag's new cover story. This week's, as you'll see from the screencap, is "How Much Does Experience Matter?", with that ethereal glow surrounding Obama's noggin.

You just knew where this one was going, and sure enough.

RICK STENGEL: What the story does that's so interesting is it talks about how being president is, as they used to say in Latin class, sui generis: it's a job unlike any other job. There's a great quote from Jim Baker saying "the only presidential experience that exists is presidential experience." Nothing else really matters.

And then we have a science story which is fascinating about what does social science say about experience. It looks at studies of nursing, of figure skating, of chess masters, and one of the things it discovers is that sometimes having a lot of experience prevents you from looking at things in a new way, from seeing things in a new way, from reacting in a new way, which is what a president needs to do!

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Or it instills fears, quite frankly.

STENGEL: Right.

BRZEZINSKI: Experience, you're right, can leave different labels in your mind.

STENGEL: Exactly.

BRZEZINSKI: Diffuse this, or pop this balloon. I had Wesley Clark on last week, a Clinton supporter. And I asked him a leading question: if you're taking troops into battle, do you want a field commander that has 35 years of experience at the highest levels in warfare, or a guy that's been out of West Point for one year. Of course, he --

STENGEL: The science of experience story begins with a test of two nurses, one a nurse who had 35 years of experience --

BRZEZINSKI: Ah, I like this better

STENGEL: And one who had one year experience.

BRZEZINSKI: I like this better!

STENGEL: The nurse with 35 years experience made the same mistake as the rookie nurse, and actually killed the patient faster.

BRZEZINSKI: Ooh!
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.