There was a time, several years ago, during the “golden age” of railroading, when a special car would be traveling along with many of the “name” passenger trains. Ahead of the passenger cars, and usually between the baggage car and the locomotive, would be a baggage/express car, regularly owned by Railway Express Agency. In that car would be thousands of freshly-printed issues of TIME magazine, being rushed to various distribution points along the railroads’ scheduled stops for timely delivery to its millions of readers.TIME magazine was created in 1923 by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden – the first weekly news magazine in the United States. During World War II, TIME’s coverage of the conflict and its marvelous photo essays transformed those issues into keepsakes treasured all the more even today. But those days are long gone.

Today’s TIME is shallow and trifling by yesteryear’s standards. And there is no finer example than TIME’s recent issue, naming the “100 Most Influential People.” Scott Horton, writing in Harper’s magazine (May 5, 2007) notes that TIME magazine has been “emptied of its news content and filled with opinion blather.” Focusing on those 100 most influential, Horton notes that the list is filled with American pop culture figures, but fails to include George W. Bush, “the most powerful political figure on the planet.”

Keep in mind that among the criteria for making the list is “influence better or for worse.” Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center in Washington, says TIME’s exclusion of President Bush from its top 100 list “is a deliberate and transparent slap at the leader of the most powerful country in the world. One can agree or disagree with President Bush’s policies, but there is no denying that he is influential. His veto pen proved that this week.”

The selections (and omissions) of TIME’s 2007 Top 100 list are one more piece of evidence of the growing liberal slant of most major media outlets. Here are some of the bimbos and bozos who did make the list: Rosie O’Donnell, Kate Moss, Tina Fey, Sacha Baron Cohen (also known as “Borat”), Leonardo DiCaprio, and Justin Timberlake. Seventy-one men and 29 women from 27 countries, but no George W. Bush. Also on the list – Osama bin Laden, terrorist, and China’s communist president, Hu Jintao. You don’t have to be a “good guy” to make the list – but you can’t be a cultural enemy of the liberal press.

Ask yourself… if you were compiling a list of the most influential people in the world, including people you love, despise, or feel indifferent about, how could you NOT include George W. Bush? It is his country that is embroiled in a ferocious war on terror that will certainly result in profound consequences for years to come, probably beyond our lifetimes. Scott Horton continues in Harper’s magazine: “The current choice of TIME magazine’s Top 100 shows a simple lack of seriousness, a surrender to the world of suburban malls and tabloids. It’s not the TIME that I remember and cherish…it’s a shame.”

And this from Andrew Sullivan, author, political commentator, and a pioneer in the field of blog journalism: “I don’t think Bush has ever been as influential as he is now. If he supports something, vast numbers of people around the world, and a majority of Americans, will automatically oppose it. Whatever else that is, it’s influence.”

Thus TIME magazine’s recent list of the most influential people in the world is as undependable as is its news. Its unreliability and biased reporting are now somewhere up there with the New York Times, the CBS Evening News, and NPR’s Morning Edition. TIME’s golden years now belong in a railroad museum somewhere, sealed inside one of those baggage/express cars.

– Chase.Hamil

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