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In Wake of Newsweek's Demise, Time Editor Swears: We Won't Be Next!

In the wake of the announcement on Thursday that Newsweek will cease print publication at the end of the year, Time's managing editor appeared on Morning Joe to swear that his magazine won't be next.

Co-host Willie Geist quizzed, "But it's still cost effective for you to print this out every week?"  Richard Stengel first admitted "the most expensive single thing" is to physically produce the publication.

He hedged, "And obviously the post office has a lot of trouble." Stengel then insisted the print version of the liberal magazine "becomes a premium product that you get in addition to all the other as specks of Time on every other platform." Offering some empty bravado, Stengel asserted, "We will continue to do well. I've always said like the NBA slogan, there can only be one – and that's us."

Asked about his competitor's slow death, he initially dodged, telling co-host Joe Scarborough, "That's fascinating news. A handsome tie you have on this morning."

Speaking of the erosion magazines such as Time and Newsweek have seen, Stengel spun, "...So much of what was once the center is now being eroded by digital, by other platforms. And it's a kind of creative destruction, which is often beneficial."

In July, when the first hints of Newsweek's impending implosion first began to surface, NewsBusters looked back at the magazine's many examples of liberal bias:

A February 16, 2009 Newsweek cover proclaimed, "We Are All Socialists Now."

The July 17, 1989 edition of the magazine featured an article on pregnancy "remedies." Newsweek senior editor Melinda Beck shockingly lamented, "Sadly, many home remedies could damage a fetus instead of kill it."

The December 31, 1990 issue featured this creepy obersvation by senior writer Jerry Adler: "It's a morbid observation, but if everyone on Earth just stopped breathing for an hour, the greenhouse effect would no longer be a problem."

For more examples, go here.

A partial transcript of the October 18 Morning Joe segment can be found here. [Thanks to MRC intern Matt Vespa for the transcript.]

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Newsweek" will transition to all-digital format in early 2013. Last print edition of "Newsweek" in America will be December the 31st. Rick, that's --

RICK STENGEL:  Joe, good morning. How are you? That's fascinating news. A handsome tie you have on this morning.

SCARBOROUGH: You're not going to talk about your competitor, "Newsweek."

BREZINSKI: Actually, you don't have to talk about your competitor, but what does this mean in general?

SCARBOROUGH: It's a tough, tough business out there.

STENGEL:  Yes, to be fair. You know, to be fair to them, I mean we've certainly moved past seeing them as a single competitor, and our competitor is everybody. Is everybody in the news business and the information business, and it is -- and it is tough. But – we've done very well. We will continue to do well. I've always said like the NBA slogan, there can only be one – and that's us.

WILLIE GIEST:  From a business point of view, though, how important is this to you as opposed to your website?

STENGEL: Well, you know, that is the -- I have to say, that's the centerpiece of the brand in the sense that it becomes this kind of premium centerpiece for everything else that comes around. We're on every platform. I mean, we have 3 million Twitter followers. You know, our website is very robust. I think at a certain point people will get -- you'll get a subscription of one price that gives you many different tentacles of the brand. And that is part of it. It's not necessarily the way you read "Time," but you can have it in addition to having a digital subscription, a mobile subscription and all of that.

GEIST: But it's still cost effective for you to print this out every week?

STENGEL: Well, that still is the most expensive single thing to chop down trees and put ink on paper and then put it on a truck and deliver it, you know, to your house. And obviously the post office has a lot of trouble. But I do think that becomes a premium product that you get in addition to all the other as specks of "Time" on every other platform, including Mark Halperin all the time.

...

STENGEL: you know it's funny, if you look at every business, that old core, whether it's the movie business with movie theaters and colleges with bricks and mortar campuses or stores with bricks and mortar stores, so much of what was once the center is now being eroded by digital, by other platforms. And it's a kind of creative destruction, which is often beneficial.

-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.