Ok, let’s get this out of the way right up front: Time magazine has just pulled off a brilliant marketing coup. Proving there is no such thing as bad publicity, the 93-year old weekly, with its fading relevancy and free-falling paid subscriptions, has trolled everyone talking about them.
Bye-bye journalism, hello social media.
And all they had to do was merely publish an idiotic cover story, filled with debunked nonsense, penned by perma-bear newsletter writer James Grant.I don’t need to waste cycles debunking the nonsense — Wonkblog, NYTimes, Slate, Vox, IBT, Salon, MoJo, Progress, my colleague Noah Smith at Bloomberg View, and numerous others have burnt time and pixels explaining why this is such a silly argument. The internet is exceedingly good at taking this sort of nonsense apart, line by line. Jordan Weissmann at Slate was especially effective at annihilating the asshattery.
Paulie the K reminds us of some of the other analyses of the Grant, who is nothing if not consistent:
James Grant — signatory of the infamous 2010 letter warning Ben Bernanke that his policies would cause inflation and debase the dollar, crusader for a return to the gold standard.
This attempt at going buzzfeedy garnered some short term heat, but I would guess thats all this amounts to. The old media business model — selling subscriptions, covering your costs, and earning big advertising dollars — is practically extinct. The idea of a daily is almost absurd, when breaking news gets seen and read instantly. The weekly is truly a dinosaur. A handful of survivors will maintain this model (ads + online subscriptions) but most will not. NYT, WSJ, WaPo, a few others, but thats pretty much it.
The bottom line remains that Time magazine is not exactly thriving as a publication, online or print. In reality, Time is a relic of a different age – as The Smithsonian a day before this new issue hit the stands (how quaint!) discussed how a “Time cover remains a great achievement for anyone.” Their forte is now summed up in exhibit, “Hollywood and Time: Celebrity Covers” at the National Portrait Gallery. It is a tough challenge to make the transition into a must read online source.
So kudos to Time, for trolling the internet for some free publicity. When the week passes, you can resume your slide into oblivion . . .
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