Networks Showcase Newsweek’s Romney ‘Wimp Factor’ Cover
A left-wing writer for a liberal magazine wrote an article trying to undermine the Republican presidential candidate, a cover story which featured an insulting characterization. But instead of treating the attack as irrelevant, CBS’s Face the Nation decided to showcase it. “I just got a copy of the Newsweek cover that’s going to be hitting the newsstands tomorrow that calls you a ‘wimp,’” reporter Jan Crawford told Mitt Romney in Israel. “Have you seen this?”
In the next segment, host Bob Schieffer put the cover on screen as he cued up DNC chair Deborah Wasserman-Schultz:
I’m going to ask you about this new edition of Newsweek. They have on the cover Mitt Romney and it says “The Wimp Factor.” Now this is reminiscent of a sort of an infamous Newsweek cover back when the first George Bush was running for, running and it said -- they put out a cover that said “Fighting the ‘Wimp Factor.’” Is Mitt Romney a wimp?
Only after Wasseman-Schultz’s rant against Romney, in his very last question, did Schieffer get around to Friday’s announcement of a very poor 1.5 percent second quarter annualized GDP, and he still sounded reluctant to have to ask about it: “Now I can’t let you off the hook without asking you about some pretty dismal economic figures that came out Friday...”
Audio: MP3 clip
Responding to Crawford, Romney recalled how Newsweek tried the “wimp” attack “on George Herbert Walker Bush. He was a pretty great President and anything but.” Crawford considered Newsweek’s contention relevant: “Are you worried about what the media is saying here and this kind of storyline that gets out there, and how do you counter that?”
Newsweek is hardly the same publication it was when it denigrated presidential candidate Bush in 1987. Then it was owned by the Washington Post Company and while liberal it was part of the mainstream media. Now it is owned by liberal activists and run by the very liberal Tina Brown. The piece on Romney was cobbled together by Michael Tomasky, the editor of something called Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, which touts its mission “is to build a vibrant and vital progressivism for the twenty-first century.”
So why is his condemnation of Obama’s opponent relevant?
[UPDATE: Sunday evening, the NBC Nightly News highlighted how Romney had been forced to address the disdainful Newsweek cover. After Peter Alexander’s recorded report on Romney’s visit to Israel, anchor Brian Williams queried: “And, Peter, I know there’s some, let’s call it some imagery, that the traveling Romney campaign was forced today to react to.”
Alexander explained, over a montage of the “wimp” cover: “Yeah. He was asked a question specifically about a new Newsweek magazine that comes out this week. This magazine has a cover photo of Romney and it calls him specifically a ‘wimp’ and asks if he’s too insecure to be President. Romney was asked about that. He said he hasn’t seen the magazine, referred to a similar cover 25 years ago about George H.W. Bush. He said he was a pretty good President. He says he was never called a wimp before and doesn’t lose any sleep over the criticism.”]
From the Sunday, July 29 Face the Nation:
JAN CRAWFORD: Some of those views have sounded pretty hawkish, the way you’ve been talking in terms of Israel and your approach in the Middle East. But I just got a copy of the Newsweek cover that’s going to be hitting the newsstands tomorrow that calls you a “wimp.” Have you seen this?
MITT ROMNEY: No.
CRAWFORD: Does that concern you? Is that fair?
ROMNEY: They tried that on George Herbert Walker Bush. He was a pretty great President and anything but.
ROMNEY: But it did hurt him to some extent, that narrative did. Are you worried about what the media is saying here and this kind of storyline that gets out there, and how do you counter that?
ROMNEY: If I worried about what the media said I wouldn’t get much sleep and I’m able to sleep pretty well.
CRAWFORD: Has anyone ever called you a “wimp” before?
ROMNEY: Don’t recall that, no.
BOB SCHIEFFER TO DEBORAH WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: You know, I’m going to ask you about this new edition of Newsweek. They have on the cover Mitt Romney and it says “The Wimp Factor.” Now this is reminiscent of a sort of an infamous Newsweek cover back when the first George Bush was running for, running and it said -- they put out a cover that said “Fighting the ‘Wimp Factor.’” Is Mitt Romney a wimp?
-- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.