Newsweek editor: I don't get it, what's wrong with our Bachmann cover?

Via Greg Hengler, it’s Tina Brown, who once cheerily observed that electoral victories by Republican women like Bachmann felt like a blow to feminism to her. How unflattering does a photo have to be to make Jon Stewart indignant on behalf of a tea-party icon? You know the answer by now; my gut reaction when I first saw it was that she looked like Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel were holding hands with her out of frame. But this is nothing new for Brown. She’s been baiting readers with heavy-handed “controversial” cover images since at least the beginning of her stint at the New Yorker. The difference between then and now is that the New Yorker’s reputation was more or less indestructible whereas Newsweek’s reputation has already been destroyed, which makes the Bachmann pic seem less like cheekily goosing a loyal readership than desperately, desperately begging for attention from the public at large. Mission accomplished, I suppose.

Here’s Brown spinning for dear life on “Morning Joe” plus Stewart’s segment from last night. Oh, and here’s a gallery of photos of Bachmann that Newsweek could have used for the cover but chose not to. If you’re a left-winger looking to take Bachmann down, you don’t do it with a cover pic that makes her sympathetic even to her enemies. You do it with reporting like this:

A Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Huffington Post with three separate federal agencies reveals that on at least 16 separate occasions, Bachmann petitioned the federal government for direct financial help or aid. A large chunk of those requests were for funds set aside through President Obama’s stimulus program, which Bachmann once labeled “fantasy economics.” Bachmann made two more of those requests to the Environmental Protection Agency, an institution that she has suggested she would eliminate if she were in the White House…

More than the specific funding requests, it is Bachmann’s private acknowledgement that the EPA can facilitate positive outcomes for both the environment and the economy that stands out for conservative activists. On her campaign website, after all, Bachmann refers to the EPA as the “Job Killing Agency.”

“There is a line between representing your district and then trying to lard up on all of this pork spending, pun intended,” said Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government. “There are very few in Congress who have been able to stand strong and say, ‘No I’m not going to do this.’ And they are, in our view, the heroes … By not being part of that group [Rep. Bachmann] isn’t unique, obviously. But I think that she would owe an explanation to the public as to why she did it. Why she asked for certain things, including things from EPA when she’s been very vocal about the overreach of the EPA?”

Think Pawlenty might want to bring that up tomorrow night? Assuming that he can find his nerve this time, that is.

Jazz Shaw May 16, 2022 12:41 PM ET