You may notice something striking about this week’s American edition of Time magazine.
While readers in Asia, Europe, and the South Pacific—really, the rest of the Time-reading world—confront a serious profile about Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and his role in the euro crisis, Americans are in for a special treat: a cover story called “The Surprising Science of Animal Friendships*.” (The asterisk leads to a footnote at the bottom of the cover that says, “BFFs are not just for humans anymore.”) With not one but two adorable dogs against a hot-pink background, this week’s Time really signifies the editors’ staunch commitment to serious, hard-hitting journalism, even if it means risking unpopularity.
Sarcasm aside: This is not the first time this has happened. In fact, Time faced ridicule for giving the rest of the world a cover story on the Arab protests while feeding Americans a cartoon cover about “Why Anxiety Is Good For You” only two months ago.
Time’s conviction that Americans only want to read feel-good puff pieces appears to be far stronger than any desire on the publisher’s part to sell itself as an important U.S. news source.