American Mass-Market Magazines

By Alan Nourie; Barbara Nourie | Go to book overview
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economic and political ideals he held, and it has been noted that Time is not an unbiased source. Its founders were not unprepared for this charge and even anticipated it in the prospectus. The prejudices to which they admitted included, "a general distrust of the present tendency toward increasing interference by government, a prejudice against the rising cost of government, and faith in the things that money cannot buy." 14 And in addition, " Time gives both sides, but clearly indicates which side it believes to have the stronger position" (8 March 1948, p. 56). Although Time has never endorsed a political candidate, some have charged that it exerts a great deal of power in the extent or lack of coverage it gives. On the economic side, Tirnan asserts that " Time is a celebration of big business, the ethos of mass consumption, and the blossoming of the 'American Century.'" 15 Likewise, Swanberg has called Luce's use of Time in the service of his economic views his "celebration of the tycoon." 16

Nevertheless, Time is tremendously successful. It has been used in high school and college classrooms since the 1940s. It succeeded in changing the way in which many Americans got their news. Luce was indeed a man able to anticipate the interests of a diverse population, and make the most of popular trends. Luce and Hadden's dream of informing busy men has evolved into a huge publishing enterprise, and remains strong long after their deaths. In 1985 Time was still outselling its closest competitor, Newsweek,* although even its editors admit that there are some things Newsweek does better. And while depending on Time for all of one's news may be rather like relying solely on the evening news, it does achieve another American goal, to paraphrase Swanberg, of preventing readers from being completely uninformed. 17 Time has helped satisfy the information appetite of a news-hungry world.


Notes
1.
Robert T. Elson, Time, Inc.: The Intimate History of a Publishing Enterprise 1923-1941 ( New York: Atheneum, 1968), p. 7. For additional information regarding the prospectus, see "Story of an Experiment," Time, 8 March 1948, pp. 55-66.
2.
Elson, p. 9.
3.
Ibid., p. 69.
4.
Henry R. Luce, The Ideas of Henry Luce, ed. and introd. by John K. Jessup ( New York: Atheneum, 1969), p. 25.
5.
W. A. Swanberg, Luce and His Empire ( New York: Scribner's, 1972), p. 59.
6.
Time described this style as "fresh, sassy, and sometimes impudent" in an obituary for Luce on 10 March 1967. On the other hand, Swanberg (p. 60) quotes St. John Ervine: "adjectives are used as verbs, and nouns are telescoped to such an extent that a sentence looks like a railway accident."
7.
Swanberg, p. 53. Melville Stone, former Associated Press chief, "assured them that news was public property after a day or two of aging."
8.
John Tirnan, "Doing Time," Progressive, August 1981, p. 48.
9.
David Cort, "Once Upon a Time, Inc.: Mr. Luce's Fact Machine," Nation, 18 February 1956, p. 134.

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