With still over a day to go until the earliest possible result from tomorrow's presidential election, a part of the blogosphere and conservative media was up in arms over a commemorative Newsweek cover depicting "Madam President" which appeared in print as early as Saturday.
As Infowars reported, a Twitter user who works at a bookstore tweeted the images with the comment, “I work at a bookstore and we typically get magazines early and lookie what we got here.” and then adds that "her Twitter account was subsequently deleted after reporter Luke Costin chastised her for “fueling Trumpists’ hysteria about “rigged” #Election2016.”
The website adds that "Trump supporters reacted to the images with a mixture of anger and disbelief."
We were initially skeptical: the more likely - and innocent - explanation was that Newsweek had simply prepared not one but two commemorative editions as a contingency, one in case Hillary wins, the other profiling a Trump victory, so they are ready to be distributed bright and early on Wednesday morning. And, we would expect, both editions would have already been printed and ready for pick up.
To an extent, some of this skepticism was allayed on Monday afternoon when CNN on Monday afternoon asked Newsweek editor Jim Impoco to comment on the cover flap, who responded simply: By sending a picture of the President Trump version of the cover.
From the Editors: 2 special edition covers for 2016 election outcomes were produced by a Newsweek licensee, Topix Media, and not by Newsweek pic.twitter.com/MwC4RytGbC— Newsweek (@Newsweek) November 7, 2016
As CNN explains to its slower readers, "this is the media version of World Series keepsakes that were on sale in Cleveland and Chicago last week. Street vendors printed "Cubs win" and "Indians win" T-shirts, then trashed the Indians shirts after the Cubs won Game 7."
There is just one very notable difference: in the case of the World Series, there were two sets of shirts created. However, in the case of the infamous Newsweek special edition, the publishing company Topix, decided to print just one.
And this is where the "business decision" came in: according to CNN, "Topix made a business decision to only print the Clinton version ahead of time given that she is almost universally favored to win the election on Tuesday."
And the punchline:
"If Trump wins, the Clinton copies will be trashed and the Trump version will be rushed to the printing presses -- a simple business calculation, Romando said."
Yet inversely, if Hillary wins there will be no need to trash the Trump version as one simply has not been created, while the Clinton edition will have already been distributed and just waiting to be bought.
So yes, while for editorial purposes Newsweek "covered" its downside risk by preparing a "President Trump" edition - as otherwise it would be caught completely offside and forced to scramble to pack several days worth of work in a few late night hours - when it comes to its "business decisions" Newsweek has, as the "conspiracy fringe" accuses, already called the election. It wouldn't be the first time.