Anyone who walks past a newsstand knows that Time magazine hates Donald Trump. Don’t doubt us. You’d lose. In 2016, it pictured his orange face melting on the cover and then, months later, that same face melted into an orange puddle. Time considered it unthinkable that he would win. Then, once he won, two different covers imagined an endangered President Trump in the middle of a raging storm.
On the cover of the latest issue, he looks into a mirror and sees himself as a king with a crown. The title is “KING ME. Visions of Absolute Power.”
It all depends on which political party you like. Time can joyously assign royal qualities to some presidents. When Barack Obama won the White House, he was a prince, not unlike Jesus Christ. Time wrote: “Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope.”
Passages like that make one thing clear: Anyone who thinks Time is a “news magazine” hasn’t opened one since disco roller-skating was fashionable.
Inside this latest edition, a warning headline reads, “The War on Mueller: Donald Trump’s Campaign to Discredit the Russia Investigation May Be Working. It’s Also Damaging American Democracy.” Compare that to this: On Feb. 9, 1998, just days after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, the Time cover showed a photo of Ken Starr and was titled “Starr At War: As the Clintons Strike Back, the Prosecutor Struggles to Build His Case.”
Then-President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s bashing of the independent prosecutor as the fanged head of a ridiculous “vast right-wing conspiracy” was not described by the Time crowd as damaging to our democracy. Instead, it proclaimed: “Starr’s own methods are not always easy to stomach. Going after the President’s sex life, wiring Linda Tripp to secretly tape Lewinsky, trying to persuade Lewinsky to tape Clinton — are those the actions of a conscientious prosecutor or a political hit man?”
But in special counsel Robert Mueller, Time has found a white knight to bring down the evil King Trump. A year ago, it called Mueller “The Lie Detector” on the cover and proclaimed: “It goes back to the Greeks, who understood that the peril of kings was hubris, and that hubris was an invitation to the avenging goddess called Nemesis. In Robert Mueller, Trump may have found his.”
In the latest edition, Time claims Mueller is a “lifelong Republican” and then just lists Trump attacks on his team, “not all of which are accurate.” So when Trump charged that the Mueller team has “13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans,” Time would say that’s not true because Mueller is a Republican. Time left out that this “Republican” signed up 13 Democratic lawyers, six of whom donated to Hillary Clinton. One even represented the Clinton Foundation in court.
Time briefly admits that “This playbook” against prosecutors “has been run before by Clinton” but quickly pivots to how Trump’s strategy “involves asserting increasingly broad claims of presidential impunity,” the kind of “unchecked power Americans have bridled against from the moment they broke with the British monarchy in the 18th century.” Trump had claimed the power to pardon himself.
But Trump as king is apparently too gentle a metaphor. Time found an anonymous Republican congressman to compare the Trump White House to … al-Qaida. “This is not a coordinated caliphate,” he told Time. “This is al-Qaeda, where everyone is their own cell, lobbing Molotov cocktails, firing at will.”
So Barack Obama blurs with Jesus; Robert Mueller brings to mind a Greek goddess; and Team Trump is like a group of mass-murdering terrorists. This is why you spit when these ink-stained partisans call themselves the “mainstream media.”
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.