For decades Time magazine has been America’s go-to news magazine. But their May 21 issue, due on newsstands next week, features what may be their most blatantly sensationalistic cover ever:
Talk about pandering to the lowest common denominator. Oh sure, there are millions of women out there who breastfeed their babies, and a lot of them think nothing of doing it in public. But the point here is that a certain Dr. Bill Sears advocates breastfeeding children up to age three and beyond. “Attachment parenting” it’s called by his followers; others call it “extreme parenting.” And though you would hardly guess it from a glance at the cover, the lead story is an interview with Sears about his ideas on child rearing, not a photographic exposé on breastfeeding toddlers. The Denver Post summarized Sears’ philosophy:
The attachment philosophy encourages mothers to respond to their babies’ every cry and form close bonds with near-constant physical contact through “co-sleeping” (letting them sleep in the bed with parents rather than in cribs) and “baby-wearing” (carrying them on slings instead of pushing them in strollers).
Obviously the cover was chosen for shock value and for its ability to generate attention and controversy. And it certainly has done that. But misleading photos and/or headlines are the stock in trade of tabloids and yellow journalism. It’s sad to see a magazine of Time‘s stature stoop so low. Print magazines are struggling to survive these days, but that’s no excuse for something like this.
MSNBC interviewed Time Managing Editor Rick Stengel this morning and discussed the decision to run this cover. Interesting, but not convincing. Stengel calls the cover “provocative.” But it’s beyond that. It crosses the line. It’s offensive, misleading, and unprofessional.
- Time magazine shows mom breastfeeding 3-year-old (nj.com)
- Time mag breastfeeding cover doubletake: What about the stats? (csmonitor.com)
- Poll: What Do You Think of TIME’s Breastfeeding Cover? (celebritybabies.people.com)
- Provocative TIME Magazine Cover Shows Mother Breastfeeding 3-Year-Old Son (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Did Time’s Breast-Feeding Cover Cross the Line? (foxnews.com)
- Here Are 9 Of Time Magazine’s Most Controversial Covers (businessinsider.com)
- Time’s breast-feeding cover: A bust? (Poll) (kansascity.com)