Palin Magazine Cover Draws Ire from New Yorkers

A Newsweek cover that shows Sarah Palin in short-shorts is causing controversy.

By Pei-Sze Cheng
|  Thursday, Nov 19, 2009  |  Updated 2:21 PM EDT
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Newsweeks Palin Cover Upsets

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Newsweeks Palin Cover Upsets

Critics are calling the new Newsweek cover a desperate attempt by Newsweek to sell magazines.
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Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is re-emerging in the news as she makes rounds on the talk show circuit to promote her new book "Going Rogue."  At the same time, the November 23 issue of Newsweek, which also features the  the former Alaskan governor has hit the stands and is causing a bit of controversy.

“I think it’s clear Newsweek has sunk to a new low,” says Jehmu Greene, the President of New York's Women’s Media Center.  “And again that they are under pressure to sell magazines.”

Greene says the photograph is meant to portray Palin as a pin-up girl.  She is wearing running shorts while holding two Blackberry phones and she is posing next to an American flag that’s been laid over a chair.  It was a photographer for Runners World magazine who took the picture for its August 2009 issue. 

But why Newsweek chose to use this picture has many New Yorker's angered –regardless of how they feel about Palin’s political leanings. 

"I don’t think that’s very fair,” said Loretta Prosser who subscribes to the weekly.  “There are basic levels of journalism that Newsweek has to hold up."

Trevor, who declined to give his last name said, “I just think that’s dishonest. They shouldn’t have done that to her and I think she should go and get them."

Palin referenced the magazine cover on her Facebook page, saying, “This ‘news’ magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant…the out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now.” 

Greene adds "As we all know they would not treat another national political figure in this way."

Faced with such backlash, the New York-based Newsweek editor Jon Meacham stands by his choice.  In a statement, Meacham said, “We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard."

The editors of Runner’s World magazine were quick to point out on their website that they did not provide Newsweek with the image.  “Instead, it was provided to Newsweek by the photographer’s stock agency, without Runner’s World’s knowledge or permission.”

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