Magazine Cover Indicator: Time Magazine GOP Top Tick

Two years ago yesterday, I noted that the April 25, 2005 (Vol. 165 No. 17) version of Time magazine had put right wing harpy Ann Coulter on their cover. At the time, I wondered aloud if this was yet another Classic Magazine Contrary Indicator?

Let’s go to the wayback machine and have a look at what that was all about:

"The cyclical nature of News and Politics oscillates
to and fro. What’s hot one year fades and is replaced eventually by the
next new thing. The "quick sip" goes one way, but over the longer time a
different flavor may dominate.

That the Editors at Time do not know that is truly astounding.

We have looked at the magazine cover indicator in the past as a contrary indicator. Its been a solid tell on politics, technology, currency, even specific stocks (i.e, Apple).
And, this is not the first instance of Time Magazine’s displaying
exemplary  timing. Recall the Jeff Bezos (’s founder and CEO)
in December 1999 pretty much top ticked both that stock and the entire
dotcom bubble.

Since Reagan
was elected, the right side of the political ledger has been in
ascendence. But for Bill Clinton’s brief reign (initially elected in a
3 way race that included businessman Ross Perot), that’s over 25 years.
It would be both fascinating and ironic if Time Magazine, demonstrating
once again their wonderful sense of timing, and top ticked another

I’d find it terribly amusing if Time magazine managed to nail the exact moment — the post-Schiavo/Iraq War/Social Security reform instant — when the zeitgeist swung away from the G.O.P.

That is a cut and paste verbatim from 24 months ago.

So I guess congrats are in order for the Time magazine editors, whose sense of timing was truly and astonishingly prescient — in a contrary indicator sort of way . . .


New Coke vs Time Magazine Marketing Blunders
The Big Picture, Monday, April 25, 2005 | 06:09 AM

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. John F. commented on Apr 26

    If magazine covers are a contrary indicator, Barack Obama will be lucky to get elected to some city council a few years from now. But don’t let me interfere with your celebration…

  2. Steve commented on Apr 26

    Is it just my imagination or is there a lack of posts on the stock market recently? How far do you think we can go?

  3. GerryL commented on Apr 26

    Do you think because Coulter is so annoying she took all of the conservatives with her?

  4. Mousefinger commented on Apr 26

    “…blessed are the cheese makers…”

    I’m sure there’s not much for the Bear crowd to really say when the market keeps going up (thus *maybe* the lack of posts on the market these days by Barry). If you read Tim Knight’s blog, an actual bear trader, you’ll see that the bears are waiting and biding their time until the major up trend breaks.

    Until then…we get regurgitated housing & sub-prime implosion fear mongering along with Dollar doom & gloom and gold bug paranoia.

    Cheers. =^.^=

  5. Eclectic commented on Apr 26


    You really shouldn’t try so hard to suppress your true feelings.

  6. Winston Munn commented on Apr 26

    For all those craving market-moving information here is a little tidbit.

    Yesterday, 4/25, the Federal Reserve took action unprecedented since the days just after the attacks of 9-11; they injected $16.5B in repos and scheduled another $18B infusion for Monday – the market went up quite a bit.

    Today, they reversed part of that with a rare reverse repo to the tune of $13.25B, but with treasury settlements of $22B there was still enough loose cash around for the market to go up a little.

    Funny thing about liquidity – it can flow in but then turn and flow out at the same speed.

    First the tide, rushes in, plants a kiss on the shore….

    Still, I wouldn’t want to be caught short in this market if Panzner’s prophecy of hyperinflation becomes real – now there’s a scary thought.

  7. Dodney Rangerfield commented on Apr 27

    I liked it when she attacked Jon Edwards’ masculinity… no one is attacking hers!

  8. wunsacon commented on Apr 27

    Winston, I’m trying to understand what that means, how it affects the market, and what the significance is.

    Would you please explain?

  9. Craig commented on Apr 27

    Dodney is right.
    I thought the cover meant the acceptance of those who have undergone relatively successful sex changes, but still harbored extreme self-hatred.
    Anndy still needs work on his adam’s apple and the aggressive fake male overcompensation. Sorta the same problem as Rosie and apparently some who post about Rosie.
    I suspect VL is really “the Donald” blogging secretly, but the superanon handle was taken. Either that or it’s Shawn Hannity.

  10. Barry Ritholtz commented on Apr 27


    I find this to be a fascinating branch of sentiment and contrary indicators. In the past, I have used it to successfully make money (See this Contrary Indicators 2000 – 2003 Bear)

    If that is beyond your grasp, you are missing a valuable form of market analysis.

    On another note, I am unpublishing some of the more obnoxious and irrelevant commentary.

  11. SouthHater commented on Apr 27

    Barry you have nailed it. Time is always the last to know what is up. The modern conservative movement is dead, dead, dead. GWB killed it. Funnything is, electing almost anyone else from 2000 would have meant its survival: Gore, McCain, Bradley or even Nader. Conservatives got greedy and ended up hurting themselves.

    As for the markets, this is definitely a positive development for the medium to long term. Big changes in direction hurt, so don’t be surprised if the next two or three years stink. But very little would be worse for the markets than keeping ‘conservatives’ in power, since their hillbilly faction had long ago taken power from the UofChicago faction.

  12. Unscripted Thoughts commented on Apr 27

    Had two things for you:
    Using your contra-indicator (courtesy of Time 3/26/07 cover), does that mean the Right Really Didn’t Go Wrong?

    Second item: so what are your current contrariwise thoughts and/or signals on the Market & economy?

  13. RW commented on Apr 27

    Auuuggh! You said the Shrill Blond Harpy’s name! Bad juju man, her next sex-change operation will change him/her into Don Luskin’s twin brother and you’ll not only face both of them the next time you are on Kudlow but will be forced to join them both for dinner afterward, billed to your Visa account.


  14. Jim Bergsten commented on Apr 27

    I really should just shut up and mind my own business, but…

    I didn’t have a problem with “shrill” (whole sections of the country are shrill (and you know who you are)).

    Nor a problem with “blond” (whole sections of California fall into that category, or at least pretend to).

    And, I just figured “harpy” was redundant, or at least a prerequisite for “shrill” (see paragtaph two above).

    No, what got me was that she was not the least bit interesting. How poeple maintain careers in media and entertainment without being at all interesting is totally beyond me (unless, the “fix” is in).

    I don’t bristle (much) at leaning — I figure, by definition, publicly expressed opinions are at best wrong and worst manipulative. And, before you say that she sways stupid people, that’s pretty much what keeps the stock market profitable, so don’t throw stones, especially from INSIDE glass houses.

    I bristle at poor, vapid, dull, tedious, boring, drab, and awful. Especailly in writing, more especially in published books.

    Not even “bristle,” I just move on.

    Sorry, what was the topic again?

    Oh, yeah, magazine covers.

    You PAY TO GET ON magazine covers. Maybe not cash in brown paper bags, but with fame, publicity, contacts, and longevity. The more established a periodical is, the longer it takes. No wonder then that Time promotes the trailing edge.

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