I got a free subscription to Newsweek the last time I gave money to Chicago Public Radio. I don’t care for Newsweek, and there is no room in my life for a weekly news magazine, but I thought, “Eh, fuck it. Maybe I’ll read it in the bathroom.” Mostly, though, I flip to whatever, if any, front cover article catches my fancy and then throw it out, waiting patiently for my gift subscription to run out.

With the arrival of the October 29, 2007 issue, I’m finally moved to cancel it. The headline reads “The Most Dangerous Nation In the World Isn’t Iraq. It’s Pakistan.” Pictured under this headline is the typical representation of Middle Eastern men in the news – an emotive, bearded, brown-skinned mob with arms raised, mouths open, looking both dangerous and supliant at the same time. In the middle of this group of “[s]tudents chanting anti-American slogans at the Red Mosque in Islamabad” is a man looking directly at the camera, his snarling features distended in rage, his hand reaching toward the camera like a nightmare man reaching out of the cover. Reaching right. for. you.

Give me a fucking break.

Look, is Pakistan the Most Dangerous Nation In the World? I don’t know. But I’m sure as hell not going to look to Newsweek for anything resembling decent, reasonable coverage of the issue. Not the Newsweek that is willing to manipulate its cover photos to achieve a certain emotional effect, which is what I strongly suspect is going on here.

This cover isn’t up on their website yet (linked above), but check it out at your local newstand and let me know what you think. Regardless, I’m canceling my subscription. Even if I didn’t pay for it, I don’t want to boost the circulation numbers of a magazine that would pick such an absurdly incendiary photo, manipulated or not, to illustrate a cover story about a scary Middle Eastern nation. We really don’t need any more war mongering in this country.

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