Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Time Magazine is overrated

Perhaps in an effort to save money and establish prestige, editors of newsweeklies like Time Magazine have begun to increasingly and incessantly publish irrelevant lists of anything and everything they can think of.

This week Time has produced its latest ranking, the "Best Blogs of 2009", which is accompanied by a second worthless list - the Most Overrated Blogs. Among them:
Markos Moulitsas — alias "Kos" — created Daily Kos in 2002, a time he describes as "dark days when an oppressive and war-crazed administration suppressed all dissent as unpatriotic and treasonous." Be careful what you wish for. With the Bush years now just a memory, Kos's blog has lost its mission, and its increasingly rudderless posts read like talking points from the Democratic National Committee.
Increasingly rudderless posts? Newsflash to Time: People have been making these kinds of baseless criticisms about Markos (and his contributors, too) ever since Daily Kos was first created. You're several years late to the party.

You also seem to have failed to notice that Daily Kos is a partisan blog, primarily focused on Democratic campaigns for federal office.

Where's the evidence that Daily Kos has "lost its mission"? You didn't provide any, because there isn't any. Daily Kos, like the broader netroots community, continues to be vibrant and active. The implication that Daily Kos is somehow no longer needed or valuable because the Bush error is over is absurd.

Barack Obama's inauguration did not magically solve any of the massive problems facing our country. It merely marked the moment in time when someone who is actually interested in fixing them was put in charge.

The work of remaking America is not complete. And it never will be. There will always be a need for progressive activism.

Daily Kos was not the only blog to be honored with Time Magazine's scorn. Also declared irrelevant were TechCrunch and Ars Technica, two blogs that I frequently read for insights into the intersection of technology and business.

I find Ars and TechCrunch way more useful than Time Magazine - which I hardly read anymore because it's filled with the same bland Beltway groupthink that can be found in dozens of other publications with equally conceited editors.

I used to get Time Magazine delivered, but I canceled my subscription years ago. That hasn't stopped Time Magazine from regularly pelting an email address I rarely check anymore with messages like this:

Congratulations, as a former TIME subscriber you're invited to re-discover TIME through this special "WELCOME BACK" offer.

Get TIME for $20.00!

Discover world changing news and events – and witness important cultural changes as they happen. With this special low rate, you save 92% off the cover price!

Subscribe now to lock in this special rate of 56 issues at $20.00 – plus receive the Ultronic Touch Screen Organizer FREE with your paid subscription. Don't delay!!

Click here to subscribe NOW!


Gene Foca
VP of Consumer Marketing
TIME Magazine

Click here to order a hard cover Barak Obama Commemorative Book!
Wow... somebody's desperate to get me signed up again as a customer. (And they misspelled the President's name. It's Barack Obama).

Sorry, Gene, but I'm not interested. Maybe when Time Magazine stops publishing garbage like this attack on Daily Kos, I'll reconsider, but at the moment, I have zero interest in shelling out money for a stack of glossy paper that's more useful as birdcage liner than as a source of information.

While I'm on the subject, I should point out that Time isn't the only newsweekly that is guilty of incessantly filling its pages with lists. The McGraw Hill Companies' BusinessWeek does the same thing (although, unlike Time, much of the rest of BusinessWeek's content is actually worth reading).

For example:
BusinessWeek 50
BusinessWeek's Most Innovative Companies
BusinessWeek's World’s Most Influential Companies
BusinessWeek's List of 20 Best Business Leaders of 2007
BusinessWeek's 50 Best Places to Raise Your Kids
BusinessWeek's Most Influential People in the Sports Business
BusinessWeek's Hot Growth 50: Best Small Companies
BusinessWeek's The Best Places To Launch A Career
BusinessWeek's Best Values in Private Universities
BusinessWeek's Best Undergrad B-Schools
BusinessWeek's Customer Service Champs (25 Client Pleasing Brands)
BusinessWeek's Asia's Best Entrepreneurs Under 25
BusinessWeek's The Best Business Books
BusinessWeek's Best & Worst Products
BusinessWeek's The Worst Predictions About 2008
I could go on, but you get the idea. BusinessWeek touts some annual list or even a new one they've invented on the cover of almost every other issue. It gets old - real fast. I wouldn't mind one annual ranking of companies with subcategories at the end of the year, but the lists are being published constantly.

Time, of course, has the "Time 100", which has become their most notorious list. Hilariously, they don't even write the blurbs about the celebrities they feature - they get other famous people to write them. Then they throw a party to celebrate the special, elite club they've christened. But Time produces other rankings as well - so many, in fact, that to remember them all you'd need a List of (Worthless) Lists to keep track of all the self-proclaimed bests and worsts.

As far as we're concerned, it's Time Magazine that's overrated. Blogs and forums allow for a two way conversation between people, creating the feeling of a town square, but online. So if you disagree with what someone is saying, or you have a different perspective to offer, there's an opportunity for you to have your say.

Time Magazine - or at least the print version of it - features just a couple of pages of reader comments. That's it.

The value of one way media is heading down, partly because what corporate executives are trying to sell is not what people want to consume.

(There are people out there, conservatives especially, who claim that political bias - "liberal bias" - is the reason for declining newspaper descriptions and so on. That's complete nonsense. Most major newspapers actually have conservative owners and are anything but liberal.)

Time Magazine isn't currently publishing anything that would compel me to want to read it, let alone subscribe to the print edition. Yet people like Gene Foca keep suggesting that they somehow know what I want.

Clearly, they don't.


Blogger mrbarky said...

Wait a minute. People still read Time magazine? I doubt that the ones that still do know what a blog is, although they may still remember who Clair Booth Luce and the Soong sisters were.

February 17, 2009 8:56 PM  

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