by Michael dEstries
Categories: Print.

Here comes the cover controversy — again.

For only the second time in 85 years, Time magazine abandoned the traditional red border it uses on its cover. The occasion? The fight against global warming.

But this time — to really make their point — they decided to use the iconic photo from the Battle of Iwo Jima (which is the inspiration for the US Marine Corps War Memorial) and do a little modifying. OK, they actually replaced the flag with a tree. Their goal was to make the comparison that the fight against global warming is similar to the fight of WWII. Veterans are understandably upset. From the article,

“It’s an absolute disgrace,” Donald Mates, an Iwo Jima veteran said. “Whoever did it is going to hell. That’s a mortal sin. God forbid he runs into a Marine that was an Iwo Jima survivor.” Mates also said making the comparison of World War II to global warming was erroneous and disrespectful.“The second world war we knew was there,” Mates said. “There’s a big discussion. Some say there is global warming, some say there isn’t. And to stick a tree in place of a flag on the Iwo Jima picture is just sacrilegious.”

Time is standing behind the decision to use the cover with managing editor Richard Stengel saying that a point of view is needed. “You can’t always just say ‘on the one hand, on the other’ and you decide. People trust us to make decisions. We’re experts in what we do. So I thought, you know what, if we really feel strongly about something let’s just say so.”

Personally, I believe it was a mistake to modify a memorial to fallen soldiers to make a point about something completely different. Fighting global warming is very important, but the efforts to rally support for that cause should not be made at the expense of the sacrifices of others.

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About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • david

    That is not a memorial, it is a photo of the marines raising a flag after the battle. That image was used as the basis of a memorial – but the image there is not itself a memorial.

    It is totally appropriate and not at all sacreligious. They owe no apology.

    And if anyone thinks that global warming is not going to threaten people’s lives, think again. Disruptions of food supplies, changing inhabitability of regions, these are all life threatening and sources of conflict.

  • http://www.ecorazzi.com michael

    Yes, it is a photo. But when you see that image, do you not think of the memorial in D.C.?

  • http://www.maxgladwell.com Max Gladwell

    And here I thought the debate would be whether it was printed on recycled paper. Guess Time dodged that bullet by getting even more controversial.

    It’s a photo. It’s a statement. It’s a point of view. It’s the reason vets fought the war in the first place: to preserve our freedoms of speech, expression, press, etc. The only people this truly insults are those who think global warming is a hoax. And so they’ll cry foul no matter what the image. It’s like Obama with his flag pin. Those who are for him don’t care; those against him say he hates America. It’s not about the pin or the picture; it’s about your political and environmental beliefs (respectively). And so this photo will be used as another wedge by global warming skeptics to distract from the real debate. Don’t buy into it.

  • Sean

    A total disgrace. Nothing is sacred today and that is a shame.

    I am all for promoting the Global Warming issues at hand but using that photo was in very poor taste, just as it was in poor taste to promote the 7th War Bond drive in 1945.

    I guess Time should use another Pulitzer Prize photo from Nick Ut from the Vietnam War showing the nude little girl running after she was burned from Napalm.

    Time could spin it as “The Burning of the Amazon Rain Forest”

  • Joel

    Is it a proven fact that global warming exists and is definitely a man-made phenomenon? No it is not. It is most certainly, absolutely not proven. Therefore, derogatorily referring to people interested in REAL, OPEN scientific debate (like myself) as “skeptics” makes it appear that you’re more concerned with promoting your “cause” (or religion, as some would call it) than you are in discovering real truth. A true scientist is skeptical of EVERYTHING. There is powerful evidence to the contrary of “global warming: man’s fault” – educate yourself on both sides of the argument before taking up a cause that will line many a sleazy multi-millionaire politician’s pocket.

    Regarding the magazine cover, it strengthens my belief that the most ardent supporters of the “war on global warming” are politically motivated, not looking for the truth but blindly following a political agenda.

    The bottom line is that all this loud, pervasive hoopla over global warming is strange and should make EVERYONE uncomfortable – it reeks of emotionally driven political activism, not real scientific concern. Ask yourself: Why is this issue so politically polarized?

    http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p357.htm

  • Krista

    It really is horrible to defile a Pulitzer Prize winning picture like that. It’s very tabloid-esque.

  • http://www.businessandmedia.org Amy

    Another question is: will Ecorazzi apologize for plagiarizing this story from the Business & Media Institute? Here’s the link they omitted: http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2008/20080417171532.aspx

  • http://www.ecorazzi.com michael

    Amy — Absolutely! Link added. Our apologies for not citing the reference.

  • david

    @michael – I don’t think it matter that the image was used for a memorial. There is symbolic power to the image, that we achieve a victory through hard worn struggle and cooperation. I don’t see how it in any way tarnishes on devalues the loss we suffered in WW2.

    @Joel – How do you explain the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere if not from human activity? You may deny it but is it reasonable to think that all the billion of barrells of oil and the millions of tons of coal we are taking out of the ground is contributing to that in a significant way? What is the standard of proof you would need to say that it is caused by humans?

    If I was burning plastic in your house and your child was getting sick, would you want to wait for it to be a proven scientific fact that the burning plastic was harmful and was indeed causing your child to be sick? Or would you just want me to stop, you’d take measures to reduce the harm such as opening the windows and take your kid out of the house. When harm is being down the first course of action is to stop the activity that is thought to be causing the harm. You can study it as much as you like later, and worst case, we have left over oil and coal that we can burn the future if we were ever to find that CO2 is not a problem.

  • Janie

    Um, plagiarism?
    And Ecorazzi is content to resolve it with an un-named hyperlink?

    Journalism?

  • http://www.maxgladwell.com Max Gladwell

    Funny. If the cover was “The War Against Foreign Oil” that used this photo, I’m sure everyone would be on board. Whatever makes you sleep better at night. We need to free ourselves from fossil fuels of all kinds. If it’s not the CO2, then it’ll be laundry list of toxic emissions that kills us. CO2 just happens to be a universal emission of fossil fuels that we can price and reduce accordingly. It addresses global warming, foreign oil, and toxic pollutants in YOUR neighborhoods. Which is also why nuclear power is still on the table.

  • drivin98

    “….to stick a tree in place of a flag on the Iwo Jima picture is just sacrilegious.”

    It’s really sad is that American nationalism is now a religion.

  • http://www.arcticrefuge.org Chad Kister

    Climate Change threatens the lives of billions of people this century according to top scientists like James Lovelock. This is exponentially more people than die in World War II. Those offended by the cover need to realize this, and realize that they are wrong, and need to join the movement to tackle climate change before it is too late.

    The record ice melt in the Arctic last summer and the record melt in Antarctica in the last several months show that we are clearly at or past the tipping point toward an entirely different planet, one that life, including our species has not evolved to survive in.

    The implications of dying forests, floods and droughts, mass famines, increased tornadoes and hurricanes, ocean acidification, sea level rise and disease make climate change vastly eclipse the threat posed even by World War II at the time, so it is very fitting for Time to be bold about their cover, and to give the green background to show the importance of this, by far the most important issue ever.

  • http://www.arcticrefuge.org Chad Kister

    Climate Change threatens the lives of billions of people this century according to top scientists like James Lovelock. This is exponentially more people than died in World War II. Those offended by the cover need to realize this, and get educated on the latest findings. They need to join the movement to tackle climate change before it is too late.

    The record ice melt in the Arctic last summer and the record melt in Antarctica in the last several months show that we are clearly at or past the tipping point toward an entirely different planet, one that life, including our species has not evolved to survive in.

    The implications of dying forests, floods and droughts, mass famines, increased tornadoes and hurricanes, ocean acidification, sea level rise and disease make climate change vastly eclipse the threat posed even by World War II at the time, so it is very fitting for Time to be bold about their cover, and to give the green background to show the importance of this, by far the most important issue ever.

    My second book, Arctic Melting is about to come out in its second edition.

  • http://www.war-stories.com Patrick (Beanie) Camunes

    I had the privilege, as did my dad in the Pacific, to fight alongside our Marine brothers. To use something that represents the honor and sacrifice that so many suffered for mere profitable gain is totally wrong!

    What’s going to be next? . . . A picture of an American general shooting an illegal alien in the head or perhaps a young naked girl running away from a decaying forest? . . . TOTAL, TOTAL disregard for the memory of so many brave souls! . . . . . . . . . Beanie

  • Rebecca

    Wow – it is truly scary how successful the liberals and their cohorts in the media have been at brainwashing our society. They start with dumbing down the kids in the public schools. See, if the kids are actually taught how to think and question things, they would turn to the real scientists who do real research (and have been for dozens of years) about the nature of change on our planet. Instead, the kids today and most of their parents, have been dumbed down and they just accept whatever they are told. Then, you have the media that tells these morons over and over and over and over and over that the sky is falling – literaly, and of course, without the ability to think for themselves, they believe every word. I just thank those parents who have the foresight to home school their kids thus at least ensuring that someone will be able to actually run this country in the future. Check the lists of the so-called scientists that are “experts” on global warming. They are astronomers, and astrologers and basically anyone who has a couple of letters after their names. In the late 70′s we had acid rain. In the 80′s we were heading toward a new ice age. 10 years ago Ted Danson said the oceans would be dead by today. The spotted owl needed old growth forest to live – and we found out that was not true. Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies and the sad part is just how many idiots out there believe them because it is too much work to find out the truth. So, I say to all you wackos who believe in global warming – do some real research – open a book, look up some REAL scientists’ quotes on global warming (they know it isn’t happening, but they have been scilenced), watch Ben Stein’s new movie – Expelled – No Intelligence Allowed (take a dictionary if the words are too big for you of the dumbed down persuasion). You may just find that you have indeed been lied to. I’d be ticked if I were you. I think TIME is a scummy magazine in the first place, so their cover does not really surprise me. It disgusts me, but doesn’t surprise me.

  • Sha-Ron Worthen

    The cover is a bold and incredible statement. I will buy this issue just for the cover. I think it grabs our attention and gets us to realize that what we are doing to our environment threatens billions of lives, and we need to declare war on our own genocide.

    I have never been a member of the armed forces, and I have never put my life in danger for the lives and freedoms of others, so I won’t even pretend to understand what that feels like. But being Black woman in this country, I know all to well that my freedoms and my opportunities were paved by the blood, sweat and tears of those brave men and women who came before me who were willing to put their lives on the line for future generations. Should their sacfrices be in vain? That’s what would happen if they fought and died for me to have freedom on a dying planet. There is no more important issue than the quality of life on this planet. It makes all other causes worthwhile.

  • http://www.lumag.com Remy Chevalier

    The redwood they used looks like a camouflage cell phone tower!

  • http://exlibhollywood.blogspot.com Clark Baker

    Anyone who understands American history and the great and heroic sacrifices that led to the conclusion of WWII understand our outrage. That they think it pure genius suggests a sustained isolation from both genius and courage.

    Those who do not understand history or its relevance (or cannot think critically) rely on more primitive superstition-driven emotions to make decisions. (Lyle Rossiter, MD explains further.) Primitive people agree with their circle of like-minded friends because they fear losing popularity among them. This is why and how the majority of German people permitted Hitler’s tiny Nazi Party to gain control – and how Democrats controlled the “Solid South” as long as they did. Most acquiesced because those who disagreed were threatened with incarceration, terror, confiscation of wealth, torture, and death. If you took a stand against the Nazi Party or Jim Crow (e.g. courage), your friends had to decide whether to share those risks with you, or take the easy way out (e.g., cowardice). Cowardice is the polar opposite of what Iwo Jima is known for. Time could have been raising a swastika or a Ptolemy image with the same result.

    If you want to see courage, hold a prayer vigil at Berkeley and ask yourself if the Obama supporters who spit, curse, and throw eggs at you are the courageous ones.

    Sixty years from now, people will look at Al Gore and tree huggers with the same mixture of perplexed curiosity that we now view segregationists and Nazis – What we they thinking?

    As for the merits or “global warming,” the fact that top scientists risk alienation and the loss of research funding if they question the merits of global warming suggests that Gore and his worshipers fear the truth – much the same way that Darwinists fear “intelligent design” arguments, and why the Pope feared the truth about Ptolemy’s geocentric universe for so long. The fact that our Nobel Prize winning champion of global warming refuses to publicly debate the issue with real scientists, or that his movie used faked video (without telling anyone) is telling. I agree that the world is getting warmer, but our ability to slow it down has more to do with Gore’s “intoxicating vanity” than real science. I also want to know how Gore plans to compel a billion people around the world to stop using dried cow dung for energy to make the air cleaner in America.

    Greenpeace co-founder Pat Moore recently left the organization because of what he calls pop-environmentalism.

    Environmentalists have been wrong about thinning forests (“unmanaged virgin woods”) that have fueled the mega fires that have destroyed the environments these kooks tried to save. They’ve been wrong about nuclear energy.

    Environmentalists are why America still relies on coal as our primary source for fuel, and why we unnecessarily waste billions of our dollars on Middle East oil every year.

    I live in Hollywood, so I know how dangerous it is to bring up these inconvenient truths in polite company.

    The problem isn’t that we don’t know, but that Gore, socialists, and competing global interests want America to do something… A N Y T H I N G!!! about something we know little about. Man’s influence on the weather is still a theory with many scientific detractors.

    Real scientists know that, before you treat a patient or repair a machine, it’s always better to understand what ails them. Among witchdoctors, the cure is often more dangerous than the malady itself.

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  • http://terbanglahlbhtinggi.multiply.com terbanglah lebih tinggi

    The image itself was revealed a fake. Despite the heroism of the Marines (and I respected them for that), what is so sacred on a something like that? It’s just a picture.

    Beside, let’s focus on the substance over the form, and not the other way around.

    I stongly agree with Time magz position on this issue. Make me love them more.

  • Roger

    michael, you need to take a pill.

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  • Elizabeth

    I am the daughter of a US Navy Seal and Mother of a US Marine, Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Time Magazines disrespectful display has earned my Mothers seal of non-approval. My subscription is canceled.

    My old copies now will be used for fish wrap. How’s that for recycling :)

  • http://www.sidedown.com Jw

    I didn’t even know about this until today, and while I’m not personally offended by the idea, I’m pretty offended by the really ugly and lazy Photoshop job they did. They must have spent no more than three minutes on that cover.

    Pretty pointless.

  • Flu-Bird

    That cover is a offence to all those who fought and died at IWO JIMA i mean pushing this stupid green movment by mocking the four brave men at iwo who raised the flag and replacing with a stupid tree TIME SHOULD BE ASHAMED