Editor’s Scratchpad

Thursday, December 27, 2001

Magazine falls into
the rabbit hole

Time magazine recently chose Mayor Rudy Giuliani as its Person of the Year, rather than the more newsworthy -- but demographically unpopular -- Osama bin Laden. Time executives have been lamely defending their choice. Time claims that the public reaction to the event is more important than the event itself, which is the sort of spin you'd expect from journalism moguls desperate to be licked rather than spat at.

Fact is, Time is a New York City publication and Giuliani looms larger in that city than elsewhere. It's a matter of forced perspective and panicky equivocation.

In "Through the Looking Glass," Alice came across the same sort of mindset:

"We can never have jam today," the Queen insisted.

"But it must come to jam some day," Alice protested. "After all, the rule is, 'jam every other day.'"

"Precisely," said the Queen. "'Jam every other day.' But today is not any other day, you know."

--Burl Burlingame

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