New Time Editor Promises More of the Same: 'Defiance' for 'Bad Ideas' and Syrup for Barack Obama

New Time editor Nancy Gibbs has announced on their website that she still wants Time to be an "authoritative voice" that tells "hard truths" and believes good ideas "deserve reverence and the bad ones defiance."

It's a bad case of whistling through the "news magazine" graveyard, that somehow putting out a product best known in recent decades for gooey hagiography is just what America needs. She also thinks the country wants more photography like "Barack Obama's long-lost prom photos," so she's really missing the boat: 

We know how much our audience values photography, for example, whether it's fun and surprising, like Barack Obama's long-lost prom photos, or grim and arresting, like the images of a public execution in Syria that we posted last week.

What exactly was "surprising" about Obama's prom photos? It wasn't surprising that liberals slobbered all over them like there was something special about them while Obama scandals are buried. Gibbs proclaimed that in a sea of information, they are your trusty (liberal) boat:

It’s no secret that the media has fragmented in recent years, that audiences have been cut into slivers, and that more and more people get their news from ever narrower outlets. But we believe that there is still a national, indeed global, hunger for authoritative voices that speak to the whole country and world, ask hard questions, tell hard truths, go where others can’t, to capture what matters most. I come from a family of teachers and I believe ideas matter; the good ones deserve reverence and the bad ones defiance.

Gibbs did more graveyard whistling in an interview with Jeff Bercovici of Forbes. The other "news magazines" have gone out of print. Are you next? While it's certainly true that Gibbs should think of her competition as anything that gets the public's attention, it also has a politician's spin control in it. If your formula is so broke that your digital audience is bigger than your print audience, why be an optimist?

Q: When you came to Time, it was one of three huge newsmagazines, along with Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. Now it’s basically in a category of its own. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

A: It’s been a long time since we’ve even really thought about our competitive set that way. I feel like my competition is everything else that’s competing for people’s attention, not just other print magazines, newspapers and cable. It’s your kid’s report card and the games you want to play, all the things that compete for people’s time.

Even just within the news landscape, we’ve viewed our competition as being on every platform for a long time. The fun thing about that is I don’t think if you’d told an editor of Time back when I started here that they’d not only be winning print awards but an Emmy award — that we’re operating in media that weren’t part of our purview in the early days — that’s been the most exciting thing. We get to tell stories in more ways. We really get to be everywhere.

Of course you proclaim it's "exciting" when you have a new job -- but in this case, it's "exciting" because the whole crew on this boat is throwing the water off the boat to avoid another sinking.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis