The gloves have come off at Time magazine. The periodical’s cover, released May 18, features an illustration of the White House, half red and transforming into the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square. Many have interpreted this image to be an attack aimed at President Donald Trump, and as with most issues surrounding the president, it has caused a fair amount of controversy, notes Mashable.
The magazine does not have a cover line on the front, and according to a tweet from Time’s executive editor, Matt Vella, it is the first time in 10 years the publication had only an image and the magazine’s nameplate, with no other text.
“Damn, [Time] magazine’s new cover is ruthless,” one person tweeted. Many others offered their support for the news magazine’s cover choice. “No need for a cover line, when a picture says a thousand words,” another person commented. “Or in this case screams a single one, at the top of it’s lungs, ‘TRAITOR!'” Another Twitter user said that they were “glad” that their grandfather “who left Poland to escape the Russians did not live to see this.”
The controversial magazine cover was not well-received by everyone.
“You are the definition of fake news,” one person responded on Twitter. “This is fear mongering and partisan journalism.”
“I wish I had a Time Magazine subscription so i could cancel it,” wrote another, while many others echoed a similar sentiment. Others criticized the magazine for erroneously leading some people to believe the cover depicts the Kremlin. “About that TIME cover…” wrote one Twitter user. “St Basil’s Cathedral isn’t really ‘red.’ St Basil’s isn’t ‘The Kremlin.’ Are we seriously doing this?”
MAD Magazine pointed out that its cover in December 2016 featured a similar concept, implying that Time might have stolen the idea:
Featured in Time’s issue is an article titled, “Inside Russia’s Social Media War on America,” which discusses Russia’s alleged manipulation of U.S. social media, including the country’s reported meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“Using these technologies, it is possible to undermine democratic government, and it’s becoming easier every day,” Rand Waltzman of the Rand Corp., who worked with the Pentagon to research propaganda in social media, told Time in the piece.
The article states that Russia “used thousands of covert human agents and robot computer programs to spread disinformation referencing the stolen campaign emails of Hillary Clinton, amplifying their effect” during the election.