TIME Magazine Charged with Treason for Controversial George Washington Cover
NEW YORK—This week’s edition of TIME Magazine has supporters of George Washington up in arms over what they say is an unflattering portrayal of the nation’s first President.
The cover, with the headline, “The Great American Downgrade” features an extreme close-up portrait of Washington by Gilbert Stuart, showing the founding father with a black eye and bandaged cut above his brow. Critics have called the cover death-ist and unfair, while others have defended it as an accurate representation.
“It’s extremely selective, extremely manipulative,” says Federalist Party representative Katherine Monaghan. “The image has been obviously doctored, and the enhanced hatching from the close-up makes President Washington look like he has eczema or the measles. No living president would be subjected to this kind of shoddy treatment.
George Sears, president of the anti-British organization Sons of Liberty, is baffled at the selection. “The real question is, was this the most appropriate image TIME could come up with? I think not. The Stuart portrait is famously vulgar. James Sharples’ profile painting is far more dignified, as is John Trumbull’s George Washington Before the Battle of Trenton. This was just a classless editorial decision all around.”
TIME managing editor Richard Stengel pushed back against the criticism in a statement released on the magazine’s website: “The story in question focuses on America’s damaged standing. We actually exhumed and photographed the President’s corpse but decided the image of a roughed-up George Washington better captured that whole idea that ‘Washington’ is broken. It’s for poetic effect, which is what people are really looking for in a news weekly.
President Washington is spending an extended leave in his Mt. Vernon crypt and could not be reached for comment.
By Doug Limey
Photo credit of Time Magazine