TIMEly PachydeRm

      63 Comments on TIMEly PachydeRm

time elephantChris Christie is not an elephant.

But TIME magazine referred to him as such this week.  On the venerable publication’s cover was a shadowy, Hitchcockian profile of New Jersey’s stout governor headlined, “THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.”

The elephant became the symbol of the Republican Party in 1874 when, according to factmonster.com, cartoonist Thomas Nast drew a donkey (the Democrats’ symbol) clothed in lion’s skin, scaring away animals at the zoo.  One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled “The Republican Vote.”  “That’s all it took for the elephant to become associated with the Republican Party,” noted the site.

With the Republican Christie re-elected last week in a landslide, TIME published the cover and created controversy–and got lots of publicity.  Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote in Salon: “Nobody needs to tiptoe around the reality of what Chris Christie looks like . . . but…you don’t need to call him a pachyderm.  And anybody who does is just a big fat jerk.”  New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse also tweeted his disappointment: “These cheap shots are decidedly uncool.”  And Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren tweeted: “TIME MAGAZINE EDITOR is SLIMY SNAKE!”

TIME Executive Editor Michael Duffy went into full spin mode, telling MSNBC: “Well, he’s obviously a big guy.  He’s obviously a big Republican.  But he’s also done a really huge thing here this week.  He stood astride the Republican Party and said, ‘Stop.  We don’t have to make our whole appeal about narrow base issues.’  And that campaign showed it with the demographics you talked about.”

The folks at Business Insider aligned their opinion with Duffy: “The new issue of TIME features a brilliant triple entendre featuring Chris Christie.”  And the thick-skinned Christie has made light of his weight on national TV many times.

But comparing a heavy man to an elephant so you can sell more magazines has created a (positive? negative?) public relations “situation” for TIME.  Duffy may think it’s worth it if, in fact, all the attention results in selling more magazines this week.  Its cover certainly has people talking about TIME, which must have been its editors’ ultimate goal.  Your thoughts?

63 thoughts on “TIMEly PachydeRm

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  2. Francesca Bove

    I think that it was extremely inappropriate of TIME to make this comment in regards to an overweight man. This not is only offensive to Chris Christie himself but could possibly offend overweight readers of TIME. They definitely could have gone about talking about Chris Christie in a more thoughtful way. But when looking further into the situation it can been argued that the comment of calling him an elephant had nothing to do with his weight since it is in fact the symbol of the republican party and he is a republican. Regardless if it did or didn’t though, the controversy did bring attention to TIME and allowed for more copies to be sold as well as give attention to Chris Christie which could have been exactly what TIME wanted.

  3. Robert Ryan

    Well if TIME wanted a reaction they got one. But this is not the first time TIME (sorry I had to) has made a controversial cover. A certain cover dealing with how a country in the middle east doesn’t want peace got them in quite a bit of trouble not that long ago. By now I think the readers of TIME have gotten used to controversy and it seems to be TIME’s intention when something like this happens. Is it good PR? I would say no, it definitely doesn’t give the magazine a more positive image. But is it good publicity? Yes. Like you said in the post a reporter from the NY Times tweeted about it. The people that follow him are the type of people who read TIME. So selling more magazines may be the result here.

  4. Jordan Richmond

    While I think it’s better that they stay away from weight-related issues, I feel like one can make an argument that this cover wasn’t made due to his weight. They used a common phrase and linked it to a political party. I feel like had this cover come out with someone else on the cover, there wouldn’t be accusations of insensitivity toward the cover’s weight. This seems like an attempt to criticize TIME just for the sake of criticism.

  5. jeremydbeck

    By saying this knock on Gov. Christie is well placed PR is subscribing to the adage that “any press is good press.” I don’t believe this is true. This cover doesn’t make me feel that TIME magazine is creative or clever. Instead it makes me think that TIME is desperate to sell magazines to the other miserable people who enjoy poking fun at a person over and over again.

  6. Richard Ioannou

    As someone who has a TIME subscription and looks forward to seeing their iconic covers every week, I personally do not think this particular cover is horrible or even one of the “cruelest” TIME has ever done. Chris Christie has made numerous jokes about his weight on many talk shows and has publicly announced that he has had gastric bypass surgery. Also, the title “the elephant in the room” is not entirely about his weight. Chris Christie has been viewed by many people in his own Republican party as a hypocrite after Hurricane Sandy occured. During the 2010 election between Obama and Romney, Christie was making all sorts of jokes about Obama and how he most definitely should not be elected. Fast forward to 2 months after Obamas re-election and Hurricane Sandy and you will see how obsessed Christie becomes with Obama, only because he needed money from the government to rebuild the Jersey Shore. Christie held a press conference with Obama and even thanked him on stage during a benefit concert. However, Chris Christie seems to be a possible presidential candidate and it will be interesting to see if he can convince his party to vote for him as the Republican candidate for the 2013 Presidential election.

  7. csawye2

    I believe the cover of TIME was distasteful and rude. Although they were trying to be clever as the sign of the republican party is the elephant. However, it seemed more like a jab at his weight. Instead I think they should be focusing on his ideals and policies rather then his weight or making fun of him.

  8. kerry stewart

    I definitely don’t agree with the cover as I think it lacks taste and professionalism, yet, it is not the first or last move these corporations will make in bad light. I think it is hard to target TIME because they are definitely not the only group to negatively portray any person of interest. TIME’s only defense possible could be the relation between the elephant and republican party, which can be completely valid in every way. In that respect, it would put the blame on the public for assuming the worst and bringing attention to Christie’s weight.

  9. Jeremy Epstein

    I really do not understand why people are up in arms about this cover. While it clearly pokes fun at the Governor’s weight you have to look beyond that. The symbol of the Republican party is the elephant. If this was Marco Rubio who is in good shape this headline would not be offensive. Just because Chris Christie is clearly obese it all of a sudden becomes a controversy. There have been more offensive magazine covers than this one and for Christie while he may be offended people are talking about it and he is considered a strong candidate for 2016 so things like this raise his already high profile.

  10. acasole

    I personally feel that the way that Chris Christie is portrayed in TIME Magazine is highly inappropriate and a terrible move in regards to public relations. It is evident that Christie is an overweight politician, therefor comparing him to an elephant is something that is inappropriate and completely unnecessary. I know that there have been other members of the republican party on the cover of TIME and to compare this particular republican to an elephant out of all of the republicans featured in TIME is extremely bad taste in my opinion. This is something that can be considered offensive and hurtful not only to Christie, but also to other overweight readers. On the positive side of the situation, this cover has gotten TIME, the article and Christie a lot of publicity and attention. I am unsure if that was the goal of this offensive cover choice, but there are positive ways to get the attention of the media rather than poking fun at someone’s appearance.

  11. Alexandra Ciongoli

    I don’t specifically see the problem with what TIME Magazine did with their cover of Chris Christie. At first glance it might seem offensive, but I highly doubt that TIME’s editor Michael Duffy intended to solely poke fun at Christie’s weight or upset hoards of people with the cover. Plus once Duffy explained exactly how he intended the cover to be interpreted, I think that everyone should just calm down. If TIME continues to experience large amounts of flack, Duffy could simply release an apology to Chris Christie and all those offended by the cover, stating what the intent of the cover was and how they never intended to insult anyone. Then this whole matter would be done with; it’s not a difficult fix.

  12. Emily Green

    I do not think that the cover of TIME was a good PR move. Upon first look, it does not seem to capture Christie in a positive way, which he should be because he just won something huge. I think that portraying him as an elephant on the cover of the magazine has made TIME look like they do not like that a Republican won, and that they are creating their covers with a bias. Even when the TIME editor spoke, he did not apologize or agree that the cover was controversial and maybe not the best idea- he spoke about it makes sense. This was not a good PR move and it gave the magazine a negative image.

  13. Olga

    In my opinion, TIME went too far, comparing Chris Christie to an elephant. Being one of the most readable weekly news magazines, its folks should have been aware that their goal isn’t just deliver news, but also provide high cultural standards and values to the public, which definitely doesn’t include bulling people based on their appearance. The professionals of the journal could have come up with a different catchy headline. Neither the fact that Chris Christie made some jokes in public about his overweight, nor the fact that as a politician he is supposed to be a thick skinned man, doesn’t give them the right to be insulting.

  14. Richard Rocha

    The cover was a reference to more than just Christie’s weight. I see the logic in Duffy’s statement: “…he’s obviously a big guy. He’s obviously a big Republican. But he’s also done a really huge thing here this week.” The elephant reference was meant to represent Christie’s political power and his sizable achievement in his re-election. Everyone also knows that elephants represent Republicans. And we also all know that Christie has made a few jokes of his weight himself, making light of it. I think to condemn TIME so harshly shows the over-sensitivity of some critics.

  15. Danie Zolezzi

    This cover was clever if nothing else. Although it may have been offensive and scandalous when it first hit news stands, it did it did garner a lot of attention. Again we are faced with the same issue we’ve been debating all semester: is something of this nature worth all the publicity and buzz the organization receives? Some argue yes, some say no. Normally I immediately disagree with this sort of tactic but this one has me on the fence. The headline is what I find best and most clever about this magazine, however, the picture it was pushes it a little too far in my opinion. Well, one thing’s for sure: TIME definitely sold a few extra copies this week.

  16. Rob Moran

    I think the cover was pretty clever in a few ways. One way is because of the triple entendre and the other is because of the attention it brings to the magazine, which of course was the main goal. Selling magazines is always going to be the main goal and this cover and publicity will surely help TIME do that. I also feel that the cover was not out of line in any way by referencing Christie’s weight. I know bullying is a major talking point in America right now but so is obesity and I don’t think that TIME was a bully here. It’s not as if they just attacked a random “fat guy”, Christie is a potential presidential candidate so he’s going to have to have thick skin. There’s no way he should get upset every time his weight is referenced and I hope the media doesn’t blow every weight joke or stab completely out of proportion, but they probably will. That said, if Christie’s weight or appearance is a focus point to help defeat him for the Democratic candidate, then I’d say Christie is going to have a pretty good shot at winning because I don’t think that can be a valid opposition campaign point.

  17. rachaeldurant

    I feel that the TIME cover was very inappropriate. We live in a society where those who are overweight or obese are constantly taunted for a health situation. Endorsing this kind of bullying makes it seem that bullying someone based on appearance is acceptable. Thus, it could be seen as a promotion of bullying, a national epidemic in schools where all to often obese children are the target. That being said, controversy does tend to sell magazines. Personally, I would not go so far as to make light of serious matters to sell more magazines, especially in such an esteemed publication. An apology by the editor would have been a nice.

  18. Nicole Lombardo

    I found the TIME over to be a low blow and unnecessary. There are a number of weighs to sell magazines, ways that do not include someones weight. Another reason I believe it to be in poor taste because Chris Christie recently went through a surgery to help him lose all the extra weight which in the end is to help him to become healthier. It turns the TIMEs cover into something not as true since there isn’t really an “elephant” in the room because hes working to remove it from himself. The TIMEs magazine took a shot at something that was rude and distasteful and it has gotten a lot of buzz but mostly negative, if someone now thinks of them they think of overstepping and rude. How is that meant to be beneficial to them?

  19. Kelly Cormier

    If TIME magazine were not such a reputable, established and popular publication I would argue that this controversial cover could possibly tarnish their reputation and have negative long-term effects. However, this is not the case. This cover is certainly creating buzz, but it is also selling copies. Because TIME is such a big name in the magazine world, this cover will give them publicity and get people talking, but it will not damage their reputation or hurt their sales. Another factor in this situation is that TIME has defended their use of the term ‘elephant’ by simply saying they chose it because it represents the republican party. Furthermore, the article itself does not mention anything about Christy’s weight, suggesting (but not confirming) that TIME’s intention was not to bring attention to the issue. By doing so, it has essentially protected itself from completely damaging its reputation.

  20. Adriana Fitting

    TIME’s triple entendre featuring Governor Chris Christy is both creative and perhaps a little bit mean. However, from a PR perspective, I respect and admire the author’s clever and original writing style since it is effective in attracting attention to the editorial. It’s a catchy headline for a magazine cover that must stand out among so much media noise competing for readers’ attention at every newsstand. TIME’s headline is smart and expressive in contrast to other headlines that rely on shallow shock value to trap readers. So, “The Elephant in the Room” headline maybe a tiny bit mean in a superficial sort of way, but it does not compare to the aggressive, unfair, barrage of slander character attacks on political candidates that we have seen in recent campaign messages.

  21. Ishan Kumar

    This particular case can be referred to “The Rolling Stone,” crisis, where the magazine portrayed, Boston bomber as a rock star. It is apparent that a cover picture like that would grab attention of many. I strongly feel that “TIME” magazine is trying to create a buzz in the market and it is just a mere publicity stunt. My initial reaction by looking at the picture was that the magazine is trying to make fun of Christie’s weight issues.
    I strongly feel that “TIME” a magazine of that big magnitude should come up with different, innovative marketing skills.

  22. Adria Marlowe

    While the cover may lead to a temporary boost in sales, the long-term results could be negative. Even though Christie has spoken about his struggle to lose weight and, perhaps, even joked about his weight, TIME comes off as unprofessional by lobbing a personal attack in order to sell magazines. And even if TIME did not intend to make fun of Christie, public perception that this was a jab at his weight could diminish TIME’s credibility.

  23. Nancy Haas

    This issue goes back to the saying, “All publicity is not necessarily good publicity.” Time Magazine has built a reputation of being a credible, intelligent, and witty source for current news. This act of rebellion has only brought Time Magazine down to the same level as repulsive tabloids that people only purchase out of sheer boredom on the grocery line. Making a personal attack about someone’s weight is not only unprofessional, but mean and unnecessary. The editor of Time Magazine could have easily written a more productive and witty piece on Christie without resorting to bullying. I am disgusted with this low blow and am sure that although Time is receiving a lot of attention, they will lose a lot of supporters permanently.

  24. Kim Gray

    I think it’s a brilliant cover and not because of the implicit reference to the Republican mascot. I honestly found this quite amusing. TIME magazine once again is known for this kind of publicity. This is just a very good use of word play and it can be interpreted so many ways, just as a drawing or photo can be seen as something other than it is. People always looking for something to be sensitive about. I didn’t see the “fat” reference until it was pointed out.

  25. Rachel Tom-Quinn

    Time is consistently putting covers out there that are controversial. They know what they’re doing and are proud of it. The only thing shocking about this is that they’re trying to pretend like it’s about “the big things he did this week” or “he’s a big republican.” I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, just call it what it is a PR stunt to sell magazines and one that is working…

  26. Sharlys Leszczuk

    I don’t think that this was a good move for TIME magazine. If TIME wanted to preserve their image, they could have advertised their disapproval of the outcome of the vote in a different way. It does not make sense to bring a politician’s physical appearance into a professional critique because it tarnishes the credibility of the critic. Clearly, TIME magazine had other points to prove that Christie is not the ideal candidate. I am certain that their creative team could have put something else together that wasn’t nearly as offensive, got their point across, and wouldn’t have such an effect on their reputation.

  27. stacy05

    I think the TIME has the right to publish whatever they like. However, these jokes about Chris Christie weight are insulting. It even feels unfair toward overweight people; they probably have offended thousands of people by doing so. I think this cover will have a negative impact on the magazine. But the TIME is known for being controversial and it’s all about getting the attention.

  28. Alyssa O'Brien

    If the cover used the elephant only to point out Christie’s anatomy, it wasn’t polite. Christie subjected himself to judgement in choosing a career in the public eye. Politicians and celebrities alike are frequently criticized for their appearance and behavior. In addition,Christie referenced his weight making light of the situation himself. If this was undiscovered territory Time magazine would have overstepped their boundary. However; he has referenced his weight before, and made fun of himself. If Christie is comfortable with himself and making light of his disposition it shouldn’t make others feel uncomfortable when journalists use an unflattering metaphor to describe his presence.

  29. Brenna O'Shea

    I think TIME took this cover a little too far. Yes, it did get the job done of selling many copies and caught the attention of a lot of people, but TIME magazine did this in an unnecessary way. Making fun of someone who is overweight is not an ethical way of gaining the publics attention.

  30. Nick Stiles

    I think that this is going to do nothing but hurt the reputation of TIME magazine. I could understand attacking someone for a mistake they might have made but to attack someones appearance just because you disagree with them is crossing a line. There was no reason for this cover and even if it does help sell magazines this week it will decrease their sales in the future.

  31. Reina Morison

    First as far as PR goes, even bad PR is good PR. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this cover. Its clever and it’s the truth. People can always take a word or phrase and turn it into something entirely different and criticize it, and the best part about that is you can end up selling more magazines because of it. Even if this magazine was trying to be mean in any way, magazines do this all the time. They don’t always print the nicest thing or there is a harsh message behind the things they say or photographs they take. Its the business.

    1. Jeff Morosoff

      I completely disagree that even bad PR is good PR. I believe you’re basing that thought on an old, outdated adage that says “All publicity is good publicity.” If the publicity creates a negative impression and moves attitudes in an undesirable direction, it’s never “good PR.”

  32. Whitney Shepherd

    When some one decides to run for public office, they sign up for all the negative and positive attention they will receive for it. I think the TIME cover is not really that bad and should stay where it is. The caption is clever and compliments the picture well. I could see where it might be offensive and possibly cold hearted if Christie had not won re-election, but he did. Is it a little harsh to make fun of a person’s weight? Yes, but I do not believe that was the purpose of the cover. If anything, the only reason why the elephant part was put in the caption is because Christie is a Republican and elephants represent the Republican Party. I think the people who are “offended” and “appalled” by the cover are looking too deep in to the meaning and should just relax.

  33. Max N.

    I can’t imagine that TIME would publish this cover just as a mean spirited joke. I believe there really must have been an intended double or even triple meaning to the cover but the interpretation that stands out first is the fat joke. This seems to just be TIME trying to be clever but it ended up being taken a very different way. It was clumsy of the magazine and they really should have thought this one through better but I don’t think it’s as big a deal as most are making it out to be.

  34. Jaime Silano

    I’m not completely leaning toward either side of the debate on whether or not this cover was professional or ethical of TIME magazine to release. I suppose it’s undeniable that the phrasing was a “cheap shot” and that it was hardly tasteful. However, to call it poor writing, in my opinion, is incorrect. It’s actually fine writing, playing off a pun and using it (accurately) to describe a multitude of important aspects of Christie’s political presence, while generating a lot of attention from different demographics. I would have to say well done to TIME magazine, although I wouldn’t have published this myself if I were the editor, just for the sake of being cordial and kind.

  35. Brittany Witter

    I think that this is a grand example of ideal wording! Yes some people may have found these words to be childish and rude. But I think if Christie is known for having made jokes about his weight before than he is opening himself for firing. This was a smart play in my opinion by TIME, it allowed them to grab the attention of so many people. Even the people that thought it was a negative title have brought attention to the issue and now people that knew nothing about it will go and look up the cover and maybe even read the article. Christie has already won the election, this TIME cover did not hate his campaign. I think that people need to be less sensitive, if every bad article of Obama started an uproar, then that is all that our news would be about, how rude the comments are. I don’t think TIME magazine did anything that bad, he is Republication, their symbol is an elephant, and Christie is over weight; take it will a grain of salt America!

  36. adrianazappolo

    I find it very disappointing and unprofessional that TIME published this cover. The cover sold many copies and definitely got people talking, but as a result they sacrificed their reputation. Ultimately, I think this cover will have a negative impact on the magazine. I think many publications fail to realize that sometimes attention shouldn’t be the main goal. If most of your attention is negative and angers the public, is the attention worth it?

  37. Laura Schioppi

    I think the TIME cover is in bad taste. Christie is always the joke because of his weight. He is struggling with something many people are suffering from and this will hurt TIME readers who are overweight. I understand they are trying to stir up a story to make publicity, but there are other ways to do this by not offending someone’s appearance. If TIME is comparing Christie’s weight as an elephant are they comparing all Republican people who are fat as elephants too?

  38. Marilyn Oliver

    It all comes back to aligning your messaging with the integrity and values of the publication. TIME magazine is a highly respected publication so it is even more disappointing when they throw such a cheap shot like this. As much as TIME’s spokespeople might talk their way around it, there is no grey area, this cover is clearly designed to point at Chris Christie’s weight. That being said, sure, it gets people talking, but to what cost? If this cover skews TIME’s objectiveness and shows poor discernment, then ultimately the publication becomes less trustworthy.

  39. Laurel Smith

    I work as a waitress at a local restaurant. This weekend, I served a table of seven who were celebrating a friend’s birthday. When I got to the last person, the kid sitting at the end looked up at me smiling and joked, “it’s cause I’m black, right?”
    I told this story because it brings up a similar point made in your post. My intention or thoughts of serving the black kid last wasn’t racist, until he brought up the fact. I think the Time magazine case is similar. I don’t think Time purposely (though it is on a much grander scale) alluded to Christie’s weight on purpose. It isn’t a prod until people bring up the fact that it is a prod. I also believe that if Time wanted to be much more vicious with the cover, they could have been. Especially because Christie alludes to his weight so often himself, I don’t think it should have been made such a big deal as it was.
    And, since Time is flying off the shelves, its goal, whether intentional or not, has ultimately been successful.

  40. Julia Ryan

    I find it hard to believe that entitling this article “The Elephant in the Room” had nothing to do with the governor’s physique. Even the silhouette chosen to depict Christie, is completely unflattering with his mouth open, appearing to be yelling. While the title is a clever play on words, I think it is a serious cheap shot, and I personally think it works to make the magazine less credible. Time Magazine is a highly renowned publication, and for them to make a nasty comment about a person’s appearance in an attempt to cause controversy and sell more magazines, is completely juvenile and unprofessional. However, my biggest problem with the title is it is a clear presentation of political bias. Although I consider myself pretty liberal, political bias (in any direction) is my biggest pet peeve. It only works to lessen my belief in the publication’s credibility.

  41. tacost2

    Regardless of TIME’s stance in politics, a huge part of me is finding it hard to believe that one of their goals in making this headline was to take a cheap shot at his “size.” The fact of the matter is: Christie is a member of the Republican party and their symbol just so happens to be a substantially large animal. To think that a publication with the following that TIME has would purposefully make fun at any individual’s appearance like that would be disheartening.

    This particular could be either negative or positive, depending on which side you’re on. For Christie, this is definitely negative since it makes him out to be a dark, sneaky person that simply doesn’t belong. However, for TIME this could possibly be positive in the way in which it might draw the attention of their vast left-sided followers. Either way you look at it, it has obviously generated publicity and attention, which I’m sure – whatever their intended message – was their ultimate goal.

  42. VanessaV

    I think Time has achieved its goal and that is having the public pay attention. While I do think there is a slight reference towards his weight. I believe it has more to do with his political party. The elephant in the room was a great title compared to the other names that would have been considered rude like large and in charge etc. Referring to him as the elephant is the room is better, because that phase is not about being fat. It is about being a person that cannot be overlooked. With a career in politics many politicians are in a field where they will be criticized and characterized by the media. Sometimes positive, but most of time it’s negative. I think that Christie is aware of this and accepts it. That’s why he discusses his own weight from time to time.

  43. lmansl1

    Considering Time Magazine tends to lean politically to the left I think this was a low blow on the magazines behalf to make a statement. In a country that is trying to stay away from the big red “R” brand the fact that Christie won by a landslide could anger those who lean to the left.

    I think this cover has a negative effect on Time because America knows what a wonderful Governor Christie is. He pulled New Jersey through a very tough time after Sandy and has done many great things for the state. The cover of Time magazine is a pathetic attempt to point out any kind of fault in Christie.

  44. Joe Flanagan

    I thought the magazine’s headline was an interesting approach to the situation. I do not think they were calling Chris Christie fat, I think they were taking all of the issues surrounding Chris Christie and combining them into one clever headline. They were the issue of his weight, an issue addressed frequently, his potential GOP presidential nomination, and his political party. In my opinion, it was not a desperate attempt to be recognized, but rather an attempt to increase sales and to have TIME’s name circulate through the public again.
    As a person who studies the political landscape, I think that headline from TIME was not anything that should cause a negative reaction. I believe that the headline was doing what it was suppose to do; invoke a response from the audience in the form of sales.
    I think it was unnecessary for TIME to come out and defend their stance. I do not see publics demanding an answer, nor an outcry to take the issue off the stands. The most they should have done is support the headline. Coming out and spinning the issue just made them look worse. TIME created the literary spark and they should have sat back to watch if it was going to start a fire. Not a public image fire, but a buzz fire.

  45. cmadsenpr

    I don’t think time TIME did anything wrong at all. Using that phrase could be associated with his weight but in this case I don’t think it necessarily had anything to do with that at all, and was rather referring to the fact that he is a republican. In today’s society I think we take everything too seriously, and it is great that even though he is a heavy man he is taking this whole thing with stride. The phrase that they used was clever and fitting, and I sincerely doubt they meant it with ill intentions. It seems to have worked in their favor, creating a buzz about the magazine.

  46. Sarah ElSayed

    I feel as though this issue of Time Magazine was clever, but incredibly ill mannered. With Time magazine being one of the most influential and read magazines of this era, the writers should reconsider saying things that can be seen as offensive to not only the politician, but to a good portion of America. Though this triple entendre was a clever attempt at grabbing the reader’s attention, I think that attacking someone’s physical appearance makes the source much less reputable. Personally, I am more inclined to look for flaws the next time i pick up an issue of Time Magazine, rather than to dive into it with an open mind.

  47. bschac5

    You are right that the TIMEs’ ultimate goal was to get people talking and that happened. It also came with a lot of backlash and negative responses. I feel the editor knew that this would irk people but he did it for the story. If Christie were to be a fit, skinny man the headline probably would have been different. There is an entendre here but it is still a low blow. TIME tried to spin it and say it was about the huge things he had done this week but that was just to try to make him look more favorable to the public. I do not think he was successful and this will probably tarnish the magazine’s image a bit. It was a low-blow. There have been worse magazine covers though (such as Rolling Stone and the Boston marathon bomber) but there were other headlines that could have been used .

  48. Steve Jellinek

    I think people might be overreacting to the TIME cover. The nature of the term “elephant” in this context, while perhaps a poorly-veiled dig at Governor Christie’s weight, is also obviously referencing the symbol of the GOP and the literal use of the phrase “the elephant in the room”. I believe that it is on Governor Christie himself to say whether he is offended by the use of the term “elephant” in calling him fat, which as stated in the blog post, he has laughed off in the past. This backlash over the TIME cover is perhaps exactly what the editors wanted, and if so they played their hands perfectly.

  49. Alexandra Cohen

    I think this issue has created a negative public image for TIME Magazine. The cover is targeting how the magazine feels about the Republican party and Chris Christie. I don’t think what TIME Magazine did was ethically moral in order to sell more magazines and boost their ratings. The magazine is comparing Chris Christie to the size of an elephant and that is a low blow because he doesn’t need to be reminded of his weight problems. The public should be more concerned with his political agenda rather than his personal problems. I’m sure this isn’t the worst thing TIME Magazine has done and it certainly won’t be the last.

  50. Chelsey Fuller

    Even though it came off as negative to many people, I think the cover should stay. TIME obviously had thought through the possible outcomes of this cover and still stuck with their decision. Yes, they are mocking his weight but they are also referring to what the Republicans identify themselves as, which is the elephant. People shouldn’t get too offended by this because it is just publicity and especially with politics they can’t be too surprised that some people would take this angle. Overall, yes TIME maybe have been a bit harsh to Christie but the managed to sell a ton of magazines which in the end is what matters to them.

  51. Play Ball!

    It really seems to me like TIME was trying to be more clever than anything else. Of course, they understood what it would mean to literally call Chris Christie an elephant on the cover of their magazine, because everyone knows that Christie is a man of larger size. Th elephant being associated with republicans, the size of Chris Christie, and the pun “the elephant in the room” surely were all considered in this cover. However, an elephant in the room is an expression that is used when there is a topic or situation that all parties are aware of but no one choses to address. Pun aside, I don’t really see how Christie is ‘an elephant in the room’. He won the election, people are not shying away from talking about him. In fact, it may be just the opposite.

  52. Lauren Platt

    I believe that this created a negative image for TIME. Although they have had controversial covers in the past, this takes it to a whole new level. Whether they were trying to be funny with their play on words or not, it definitely did not work in their favor. They have made themselves look like bullies and have probably offended thousands of people by choosing the words they did. I think TIME should issue an apology- because whether they think they are right or not, they could potentially lose readership because of this incident.

  53. Max Eisenberg

    Negative publicity is still publicity, and if that is what TIME magazine was going for then they certainly succeeded. To me, it didn’t seem as if the cover was outright making fun of his weight, but could also be seen as a reference to the fact that he is a republican. I could see how this could be offensive to some of the more politically correct people, but I don’t think this cover is a big enough deal for people to be throwing their arms up in outrage. People who are followers of TIME will most likely continue reading the magazine and supporter of Christie are aware that he’s publicly acknowledged his weight issue and made light of it and will probably continue to support him. I wouldn’t be surprised if people forget about this issue within a week.

  54. Rachel Tyler

    This TIME magazine cover is controversial but that is what is going to get this issue of the magazine publicity. First I think that this cover is offensive to Christie. He has made jokes on his weight before but he has also asked that the media stay away from his personal life. The title of the article was clever and “punny” but calling an overweight guy an elephant is not in good taste and and can be offensive to many of the readers. Overall TIME magazine wants to get publicity and if it take being controversial to do that that is what TIME will do.

  55. Dilpreet Kainth

    A magazine cover such as the one displayed on TIME magazine does not really shock me because it seems as if TIME magazine is one of those publications that has had controversial issue covers in the past. And as mentioned in this post, it seems the editors do this for the sole purpose of popularity and publicity for their magazine. But the issue of whether this is positive or negative is the real question. I believe that this magazine cover has yet another negative impact on the magazine. Although TIME is considered a great publication in certain lights for their content and diversity. They often jump the gun when they publish covers such as this. I don’t see any benefit by calling Christie an elephant. The reason people seem to be speaking about it is because they do not really care that Christie is an “elephant” or a “big guy”. Many have regarded him as a great republican with great insight into politics. The man has spoken comfortably about his weight out in the public so the reason TIME decided to display that is a little baffling. It’s not really interesting because Christie has compared himself to such jokes in the past. It seems as if they alluded to a punchline that is old news.

  56. Yeliz A

    This TIME magazine cover does not surprise me considering that they’ve had numerous controversial magazine covers in the past. In fact, compared to the OJ Simpson cover they had back when he was on trial for murder I’d say the Chris Christie cover is pretty safe. I personally don’t understand what the big deal about his weight is; the man’s a politician, not a model. Although I do not agree with them using his weight as a way to earn more sales, I do understand where they were going with this analogy. Those days where the content mattered are now long gone and people focus heavily on looks. Nowadays, some people even base their opinions off of looks, but will TIME magazine care if it creates a negative image? Probably not. It’s all about the sales.

  57. Cody Dano

    I believe that TIME took the wrong approach to this situation. They have the right to publish what ever they want, but need to be more careful of how they do it. Not only did TIME insult the Republican party, the magazine made itself a “bully” figure against overweight people. The editors may have their own opinions, but what TIME should have left out is the low blows. A person’s weight has nothing to do with his or her job or political affiliations. Yes, TIME did get publicity and the sales they wanted. However, we have learned before that it is better to stick to the facts and leave opinions aside in the long run. Next time they publish an article, I believe TIME should choose their words more wisely.

  58. Nathalie Salazar

    This obviously has created a negative public relations situation for TIME Magazine. However, I didn’t see it as a negative pun towards Governor Christie, at first. Maybe I am oblivious, but I just saw the title as a generic saying–not a stab at Christie’s weight, but rather a reference to his party (since an elephant does symbolize the Republican Party). I feel that the public is making it a bigger deal that what it actually is; but, then again, if TIME intentionally compared a heavy man to an elephant just to sell more magazine issues, I feel that is a question of ethics. And therefore, I would have to agree with the public backlash.

  59. Leia Schultz

    This isn’t the first nor will it be the last occasion when a magazine uses a pun to get a reaction. Time magazine’s editor took an opportunity to use the Republican Party’s animal symbol to play upon the fact that Christie is a rotund individual. Perhaps the magazine thought it was being decidedly clever by doing so, but subtlety in the effort was totally lost as people immediately interpreted the title as an attack about Christie’s weight. Media of all sources frequently take cheap shots at political figures, but going after someone’s appearance turns the whole affair into bullying. People don’t like or support a bully, so Time had better rethink its angle in future publications. However, do I think that Christie was personally offended? Perhaps, but I doubt that Christie really cares about a magazine’s wordplay when he a state to govern.

  60. Lyndi Catania

    Agreeing with Steven Greenhouse, comparing a large man to an elephant on a magazine cover is a cheap shot. However, it is not new or surprising that this kind of tactic is used for publicity and sales. His weight is completely unrelated to the topic. Some may find it to be “punny” while others will find it as absolute disrespect. Overall, TIME magazine is gaining the desired attention and I do not think this will be a major set back for them.

  61. croyal13

    When I first saw the cover of Time magazine, I felt that it was an insult to Christie and an insult ti Republicans. Chris Christie has been the target if many jokes because of his weight. Many times, that topic has been more popular than his policies as governor. However, I eventually made light of the cover; it was a clever play on words and was sure ti get plenty of attention. Christie has made jokes about his weight and asks the public to stay out of his personal life, especially his health issues. Supporters of Chris Christie will either be upset with the cover or think it’s funny. Either way, it is sure to get Christie plenty of attention.

  62. Zoe Hoffmann

    In this case, I think the cover should stand. TIME, while maybe taking a dig at Christie’s weight, did something very clever with this cover, and have garnered themselves an abundance of publicity. This idea of controversy with magazine covers reminds me of the Rolling Stones cover that featured the boston marathon bomber in a rockstar-esque light. While that was a much more negative case, it is a prime example at how sometimes a lapse in judgment can create a controversy that damages the magazines reputation. The TIME cover is going to generate publicity, stir the pot and most likely not leave any long term damage on TIME’s reputation. It was arguably in bad taste, but the “elephant” refers to the republican party and his changing policies. Worse magazine covers have happened.


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