Newsweek has offered President Obama their cover story for next week's issue on Haiti. With this kind of an offer, Newsweek has signaled that it's now gone beyond its repeated gooey cover stories on Obama to actually just offering their pages for Obama to write. But Daniel Farber of the CBS News blog Political Hotsheet applauded the idea:
Newsweek scored a coup for its forthcoming issue, which will focus on the disaster in Haiti. President Obama has been drafted to write the cover story.
What better for Newsweek than to have the commander-in-chief of the United States spend his time carefully crafting a few thousand words that put the tragedy in Port-au-Prince in perspective for its readers.
He is a very capable writer, as evidenced by his speeches and books "Dreams of My Father" and "Audacity of Hope." And, Mr. Obama often uses his bully pulpit and the press to build consensus for his agenda.
This is the latest piece of evidence that Newsweek editor Jon Meacham is turning this magazine into "Op-EdWeek." Why send reporters to Haiti when you can just run an article by today's Abe Lincoln?
Meacham has responded to criticism by e-mailing Michael Calderone at Politico:
"We published Bush 41 making the case for his gulf policy; is that the work of a bunch of lefties?" Meacham wrote.
"We've published Ronald Reagan and John McCain, and we invited George W. Bush to write in our pages," Meacham continued. "The occasion for the Obama essay is an international tragedy with humanitarian and political implications. There is nothing partisan about the rescue and relief efforts (Rush Limbaugh disagrees, but I think most reasonable people would agree with my view, not his), and the coming debate over the extent of our rebuilding efforts is one that will shaped by the President.
"Hearing him on our national interests in Haiti is a way to add value for Newsweek's readers and, we hope, to inform the debate about what will inevitably be a long and costly undertaking in one of the world's most blighted countries."
Any conservative who remembers Hurricane Katrina would take issue with the idea that there's "nothing political" about rescue and relief. It's not too hard to dig up Newsweek headlines from, say, the September 12, 2005 issue, with Meacham in charge:
– Yet Another Gulf War; Up Against It: Buffeted by Iraq, gas prices and the fury over his response to Katrina, Bush faces a new storm of his own.
– On the Offensive; Hillary Clinton's criticism of the hurricane relief effort may be a preview for 2008.
– Hurricane Politics; If there's an upside to Katrina, it's that the Republican agenda of tax cuts, Social Security privatization and slashing government programs is over.