December 5, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Newsweek Runs Column that Reads Like Satire

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Newsweek says it’s not a satire website, but it sure reads like one.

Sidney Harman was robbed. Harman, now deceased, purchased Newsweek for $1 back in 2010, and judging for the news periodical’s recent scribblings, Harman overpaid.

Today, Newsweek published an opinion piece excoriating President Donald Trump for his efforts related to Hurricane Harvey, while simultaneously dragging Kansas through the mud. 

The author Michael Dorf, a law professor at Cornell University, begins his screed with information about First Lady Melania Trump’s shoes. You may have heard, she boarded Air Force One wearing high heels. Dorf calls the Trump’s attire “dubious,” but says Trump’s visit to Texas was “almost normal” by Trump standards. However, his visit to Missouri to tout his tax plan was not.

“The Reagan-era phrase “trickle-down economics” has fallen out of fashion, but in the wake of Harvey, it is probably a less embarrassing metaphor (even for a kompromised president ) than the adage that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” Dorf writes.

Newsweek published a column where the author calls the president “kompromised” with a ‘k.’ There’s no explanation for the misspelling, but the article provides a link to a story about Russia, apparently so readers know the misspelling isn’t the result of bad editing.

Dorf says economic history–including the recent and ongoing misery in Kansas under the yoke of Sam Brownback–shows that cutting taxes is bad. For the record, there is no “ongoing misery” in Kansas — take that from someone who lives in the state. 

After bashing Republicans, Sam Brownback and the Laffer curve, Dorf repeats a fallacy about Hurricane Sandy relief funding. He writes that some Republicans, (including Kansas’ Sen. Jerry Moran), voted against federal funding for Sandy. He fails to mention that the Sandy relief bill was laden with pork. Here’s the CBO note. The bill included more than $3.4 billion –that’s with a ‘b’– in non-emergency funding. If billions in non-emergency funding baconed into an emergency relief bill isn’t pork, someone should define exactly what ‘pork’ is.

Sadly, the Dorf column isn’t the only item in the news magazine that reads more like the Onion than unbiased news. In May, it ran a news item saying atheists are more intelligent than religious people because they can rise about the natural instinct to believe in a god or gods.

The buffoonery is older than that, however. In 1975, the magazine ran a cover story, “The Cooling World,” which theorized that the Earth was cooling at a dangerous rate.

“The central fact is that, after three-quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the Earth seems to be cooling down,” it read. “Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.”

That didn’t exactly pan out as predicted. A week ago, Newsweek ran a story asking whether overpopulation is causing global warming.

From stories that use the word “kompromise” to whiplash tales of global cooling followed by warming and climate change, the news magazine reads a lot more like the Onion than a serious current events periodical. Newsweek is NOT the Onion. Someone should alert Newsweek editors.

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