Time differences deserved

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the cover of a recent issue of the U.S. edition of Time magazine features a picture Kennedy overlaid with the headline, “The moment that changed America.”

At the same time, the editions of the magazine published in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific have a cover that shows the damage caused by the recent typhoon in the Philippines. This isn’t the first instance where the American edition of Time has had a different cover than its international editions.

While we should be somewhat wary of this ongoing pattern, Time is simply specializing its coverage for the US in order to make a profit. Overarching concerns about American ignorance and narrow-mindedness are not warranted.

First and foremost, Time magazine is a business. Most detractors would acknowledge that if Time’s owners could make more money easily, they would. The magazine is based in America and is well-suited to understand American preferences.

Time has to compete with a plethora of other publications, many of which run more typical and serious covers. In this sense, it can separate itself from its competition and respond to differentiated American demand.

Moreover, many of the American Time covers that didn’t appear elsewhere were concerned with American politics and other important American topics. These covers aren’t symbols of American ignorance because Americans are right to prioritize the affairs of their own country.

While critics see these covers as furthering American insularity, they are overstating the importance of a simple cover. The American edition of Time still covered the typhoon in the Philippines, but it just didn’t feature the event on its cover.

In general, Americans, while they could stand to be more informed on international issues, aren’t the compassionless and slack-jawed bunch imagined by some outsiders.

The American edition of Time should continue to stand out. Time’s editors and publishers know better than their detractors, who themselves are guilty of narrow thinking.

— Journal Editorial Board

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