November 15, 2016
People feeling the heat for publishing Trump cover
A few years ago, if someone said Donald Trump was on the cover of People Magazine, most folks would just shrug and say, “of course he is.” Billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV star, why not? And, if you were to tell them the President was on the cover, those people would likely react with the same entire lack of surprise.
But, apparently, if Donald Trump and The President are one and the same, having him on the cover creates a public relations firestorm of angry consumers for the magazine to deal with. The cover, promoting a five-page feature story that delves into “President Trump, his life, his family and his astonishing journey to the White House” promises to describe Trump’s “stunning upset” that capped off the “most polarizing presidential campaign in modern US history…”
As is typical in these stories, the feature begins with Trump growing up, a boy from Queens, etc., etc. Then his education at Wharton School … then the story veers off into Angry Land, as do so many mentions of Trump in the past year.
The trouble begins when People obliquely mentions Natasha Stoynoff, a People writer who claims Trump attacked her during an interview more than a decade ago. Stoynoff’s story was promoted and run online by People, and the mag’s editor says they stand by their reporter’s account of events.
The Trump story may have passed muster if it was just the standard glowing pop culture piece about a new president, and it may have been okay as an in-depth investigation into Stoynoff’s tale … but in an attempt to do one with a quick aside to the other, People seems to have upset pretty much everyone.
Trump’s fans say sticking the missive about Stoynoff in there without enough critical reporting is a cheap hit on the new President. Meanwhile, those who are still aghast at the idea of Trump winning are furious the magazine, in their estimation, didn’t do enough to support one of their own.
People tried to stave off the growing discontent, telling CNN reporters the story is “not a celebration or an endorsement,” though it is a feature about the President-elect and not the allegations against him. That, as you may imagine only fanned the flames.
As is typical these days, people – though not People – took to Twitter to vociferously condemn both the magazine and the story, and they attacked it from both sides. By attempting to play both ends against the middle, it appears People aggravated everyone.