Fake news update: Newsweek never read their own "Madam President" issue

For something which is being described as common practice, I’m certainly not familiar with it… at least to this extent. Many of us had a bit of a chuckle when we learned that Newsweek had shipped out their “Madam President” issue of the magazine a bit prematurely (to put it kindly). This wasn’t unexpected, nor was the fact that they also had a backup version showing “President Trump” on the cover. For an event of this magnitude, a publication of that size would clearly be ready to roll in advance and the fact that they shipped the wrong one is at least forgivable since they were falling for the same polls everyone else was using.

What was less widely reported was just what a “throne sniffing”example of bowing and scraping to the historic First Female President was hiding between the covers, as well as the fact that nobody at Newsweek even read it before the copies were loaded onto the trucks. (Washington Examiner)

A Newsweek editor admitted Wednesday that he and other staffers didn’t actually read their recalled commemorative “Madam President” election issue before it was published.

Newsweek political editor Matthew Cooper said Wednesday on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that the magazine’s issue, which incorrectly anticipated a Hillary Clinton win, was not produced by Newsweek but by a third party.

“Well, no one on our staff wrote that,” Cooper said. “Again, we subcontract out to a company.”

That interview with Tucker Carlson was pretty brutal. One topic was the obvious question as to how something of that magnitude was produced and shipped without anyone from Newsweek actually looking at or approving it. According to the Examiner, the entire job was done by a company called Topix Media Lab. Now, the idea of having magazines and newspapers outsource some of their content isn’t unknown. There are certain routine sections of publications which require some regularly scheduled drudge work such as death notices, legislative reports, etc. which can be shopped out. But even when that’s done, wouldn’t you think it was a given that somebody in the organization would be responsible for at least reviewing and approving the material before it went out with your name on it?

If they had, they might have noticed what an unbelievable festival of toadying Clinton worship was contained in the text. MRC extracted some of the goodies from the Carlson interview and it’s truly beyond the pale.

CARLSON: Thank you. So, it what — Look, I mean everyone makes screwups like this, and I’m not here to mock you for that. It’s the content of it that was unbelievable. And it’s so unbelievable actually that I have got to put it on the screen. I want to read part of the introduction to the “Madam President” edition. It describes this:

… “as the tone of the election grew darker and more bizarre by the day, President-Elect Hillary Clinton ‘went high’ when her opponent and supporters went even lower.”

“No stranger to trudging through the mire of misogyny in her career as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, President Clinton managed to push for an issues-based campaign, even as a handful of Trump’s deplorable supporters, seeing the wide margin she held among female voters, called for repealing the 19th Amendment.”

It goes on and on. “Fear and hate-based conservatism.” It’s breathless. It’s not even hagiographic. It’s pornographic. It’s Soviet in its devotion to Hillary Clinton. Who wrote this?

COOPER: It’s embarrassing. And let me tell you how it happened, and what we’re doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Here’s the interview. It’s worth watching because of all of the squirming going on and increasing level of disbelief which seems to consume Tucker Carlson as it drags on.

After Cooper admits that not only did they not write the piece, but they didn’t even read it, Carlson asks him what would have happened if the subcontractor had reprinted Mein Kampf or something in it. Cooper’s response? “If they had reprinted Mein Kampf, that would have been even worse. There’s no question.”

So does this not qualify as “fake news” just because they issued a recall? Clearly Newsweek places a lot of faith in Topix Media Lab if they allow them to ship an entire issue under the Newsweek banner without even checking their work. Will they continue to use their services? We might also wonder how many other outlets are printing their content without our knowing it. All of these calls for transparency in the government sound great, but perhaps we need significantly increased clarity from the media which is supposed to be providing it.