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Newsweek's Palin Cover

An interesting controversy brewing over Newsweek's new Sarah Palin cover. The image, of Palin in running shorts next to an American flag, accompanies an article titled "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah?: She's Bad News for the GOP, and for Everybody Else, Too."

The photo originally appeared in Runner's World. And Palin has labeled Newsweek's use of the picture "sexist and oh-so-expected by now" on her blog.

Newsweek editor Jon Meacham responds thusly: "We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do. We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard."

Both parties win here, of course. Palin garners more attention for her book and gets to take another base-inciting shot at the "liberal media." Newsweek, which is relying ever more heavily on commentary and analysis to move magazines, lands in the spotlight, too.

But which party is right? Newsweek, with caveats. The magazine did pick a Palin-sure-is-ridiculous image that fits its story. But it strains credulity to suggest that the magazine was unaware that it was overlaying its critique with an image designed to exploit the pretty-ditzy archetype.

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