The death of Charles Manson, who directed the brutal murders of pregnant Hollywood actress Sharon Tate and six other innocents, prompted Newsweek to run — then revise — an article comparing the 1960s cult leader to President Donald Trump.
In a post originally headlined, “How Murderer Charles Manson and Donald Trump Used Language to Gain Followers,” author Melissa Matthews argued that each was able “to speak in a way that engaged those who felt marginalized or alienated.”
Newsweek later revised the post to omit any mention of the president — including in the headline — and closed with this correction: "An earlier version of this story did not meet Newsweek's editorial standards and has been revised accordingly."
Psychoanalyst Mark Smaller made this claim in the article’s original form, according to Fox News: "Our current president speaks in an emotional or affective way to large numbers of people in our country who feel a kind of alienation or disconnection from the government. They feel very responded to and become his political base."
Smaller, however, admitted that he didn't have specifics on what Manson may have told followers. Instead, he relied on the rhetoric used by other cult leaders, and argued that it was probably similar to that used by Manson.
Accordingly, although the piece was posted in the magazine’s Tech and Science section, there was nothing that was either technical or scientific about it. It was all based upon assumption and guesswork.
This isn’t the first time Newsweek has had to eat its words in a rush to judgment against the 45th president.
Other Newsweek Covers
Newsweek’s anti-Trump campaign appeared to begin with the erroneous release of 125,000 copies of its 2016 election issue, titled “Madam President.” It claimed that Hillary Clinton was elected as our next commander in chief.
Even more embarrassing than the release was that issue’s content. It described “President-elect Clinton” as an above-the-fray candidate who possessed a scandal-free public record.
Its over-the top description of the former secretary of state prompted Fox News host Tucker Carlson to call it “pornographic ... [and] Soviet in its devotion to Hillary Clinton.”
Newsweek political editor Matthew Cooper agreed that “the writing in this is ... not up to the editorial standards of Newsweek,” and promised to “make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
It didn’t take long before Newsweek broke that promise.
An August cover featured Trump on a recliner holding a Diet Coke while flipping through TV channels with a remote. He’s surrounded by bags of junk food.
Under the headline, “Lazy Boy,” the cover says, “Donald Trump is bored and tired. Imagine how bad he’d feel if he did any work.”
The issue came out at the close of Trump’s first six months in office, and based its “Lazy Boy” description on the president’s lack of major legislative victories and his 40 golf outings in that period.
On the other hand, former President Barack Obama didn’t sign his most major piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, until March 23, 2010 — more than 14 months after he was sworn into office. His time on the links was also legendary.
And Newsweek broke its editorial standards promise again last week with its “Trump-Manson” comparison that the magazine later had to retract. This is what passes for journalism in 21st century America?
When I was a teen growing up in a small Michigan tourist and farming community, my father subscribed to Newsweek. When the latest issue arrived each week, my siblings and I poured through it cover-to-cover.
In addition to current political and business news, I found the commentary from both sides of the political spectrum thought-provoking. I especially enjoyed the young conservative voice of a brash, new political columnist named George Will.
Newsweek, what the heck happened to you?
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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