This never gets old. When America’s venerable newsweeklies don’t think Americans can handle the truth — see Newsweek‘s work on global warming and losing Afghanistan — they put real reporting on their international covers and soft-peddle the U.S. with all sorts of nonsense.
And if you’re going with nonsense, why not the nonsense that Americans love most — pop theology. According to Folio magazine, a cover featuring Jesus or the Bible can raise single-issue sales by roughly 50%, and as a result TIME and Newsweek frequently try to out-Christian one another on consecutive weeks. (See “Jesus, What a Cover!” from the Dec/Jan 2006 issue of Mother Jones.)
So, yeah. This week it’s TIME serving up “The Case for Teaching the Bible” to Americans, and “Talibanistan” to its international audience. As Wonkette puts it, “Americans get the special-ed stories.” I don’t know if I should be disgusted with and embarrassed by the magazine editors who made this decision, or the magazine readers whose tastes they are clearly pandering to.
Oh, and check out Rose’s thoughts on Mother Jones‘ Arts and Culture blog, The Riff.