It’s not news that Time magazine uses different covers for its different regional editions, but it’s only when you gather them all together — so you can see what Europe and Asia read in Time compared to what Americans read in Time — that it becomes clear how insular the U.S. edition of Time is.
If you live abroad, the current edition of Time features a dramatic picture of an Arab rebel wearing a gas mask under the headline “Revolution Redux.” In America, we got “Why anxiety is good for you”:
Publishing ain’t easy, of course. Editors need to pick what sells (and what sells advertising). There are good reasons why the U.S. audience won’t be as interested in the movie Tintin as Europe’s will be, which explains why Tintin dominated the foreign Time covers on Oct. 31. In the U.S., to Time’s credit, that edition featured “The China Bubble,” a piece about whether economic growth in the East is sustainable.
That laudable example aside, however, this collection of recent Time covers does make us Americans look like we’re just not that interested in the rest of the world.
You can read Time’s response here.
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may be the key democratically elected Muslim leader who stands at the crossroads between East and West, but hey! What about these inventions?!
The Nov. 14 editions were soft features in all regions, but American exceptionalism was alive and well.
In possibly the most bizarre example, the Oct. 24 edition seems to suggest that foreigners are more interested in U.S. foreign policy than Americans are.
He conducted orgies with prostitutes and then resigned amid an unresolved sovereign debt crisis, but Berlusconi still doesn't make the cover of the U.S. edition.
Never let it be said that Time's U.S. readership lacks for fluffy pop-psychology stories.
Nonetheless, the U.S edition is markedly out of step with everyone else's. And it's not as if the Spielberg epic isn't opening in America too.
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