Time magazine has named long-time veteran Nancy Gibbs as the new Managing Editor now that Richard Stengel has (officially) joined the Obama administration. In the official announcement, Time Inc. editor-in-chief Martha Nelson declared Gibbs was “one of the most published writers in the history of the magazine, having been an essayist and lead writer on virtually every major news event of the past two decades.”
Gibbs has also been one of the most embarrassing writers of faux-literary liberal goop in the history of “news magazines.” It's not exactly positive when Stengel declared, "No one personifies Time more than Nancy Gibbs."
We’ve collected some classic clunkers below, starting with the sticky Obama valentines and moving on to tributes to Bill Clinton’s “supercharged hormones” and attacks on the “excesses” of the Reagan years:
Time Touts America's Muppet-in-Chief
"It's not just his age and mastery of the alphabet that make Obama the first Sesame Street President. The Obama presidency is a wholly American fusion of optimism, enterprise and earnestness - rather like the far-fetched proposal of 40 years ago to create a TV show that would prove that educational television need not be an oxymoron....Sesame Street's genius lies in finding gentle ways to talk about hard things - death, divorce, danger - in terms that children understand and accept. The polls can tell a President what the American people want to hear, but after so many years of sandbox politics and childish games, there comes a time to grow up....Professor Obama has at least talked to us like we're adults."
-- Time’s Nancy Gibbs writing in the magazine's June 15, 2009 edition.
Our New Prince of Hope
"Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope....Barack Hussein Obama did not win because of the color of his skin. Nor did he win in spite of it. He won because at a very dangerous moment in the life of a still young country, more people than have ever spoken before came together to try to save it. And that was a victory all its own."
-- Time’s Nancy Gibbs in the November 17, 2008 cover story.
Excusing Reverend Wright, Accusing ‘Unholy’ Conservatives
“The Reverend Jeremiah Wright would baptize Obama, perform his marriage to Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, baptize their daughters and draw him into the raucous, restless family of faith that Obama had never known before...In all this, Obama saw an opportunity, and an obligation. The opportunity lay in a generational change, as old evangelical icons passed away and a new band of leaders wanted to talk about the poor and the planet as much as about gays and abortion. It lay in a growing consensus that something had gone wrong, that the phenomenon of politicians nailing campaign posters on the gates of heaven and laying exclusive claims to God’s designs was unwise, unfair, even unholy. It lay in the conviction that religious voters are a diverse and divided cohort, and many of them were more concerned with the instructions Jesus gave than the ones James Dobson broadcast.”
-- Time’s Nancy Gibbs in 2008 Life magazine book on “The American Journey of Barack Obama.”
No More Moral Authority
"The front page of a Baghdad paper shows the defiled prisoners and the caption: 'This is the freedom and democracy that Bush promised us.' Psychologically, if not in fact, these pictures shred the last good reason to feel righteous about having gone to war."
-- Time’s Nancy Gibbs in the May 17, 2004 edition.
Ken Starr's Vast Sexist Conspiracy
"In the book you have a lot to say about forgiveness. Have you forgiven Ken Starr?
Is the 'vast, right-wing conspiracy' bigger than you thought when you brought that term into our vocabulary?"
-- Time’s Nancy Gibbs in an interview with Hillary Clinton about her memoir Living History, published in the June 16, 2003 issue.
Elian Better Off in Cuba
"Altogether, in wages, tips and bonuses, he [Elian's father] earns more than 10 times Cuba's $15 average monthly salary - enough to afford to buy Elian imported Power Ranger toys and birthday pinatas fat with Italian hard candy and German chocolates....Elian enjoyed that rarest of Cuban luxuries: his own air-conditioned bedroom. And before Juan Miguel sold it to pay, he says, for calls to Elian in Miami, the boy's father even had a car, a 1956 Nash Rambler, in which Elian rode through town like a prince, while many people relied on horse-drawn carts."
-- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, April 17, 2000.
Conservatives = "Cold Hearts and Small Minds"
"But the really costly war he [George W. Bush] never had to wage was the one that time and again has crippled Republicans by Easter - the fight to win over the conservative faithful with all sorts of promises and pledges and litmus tests that haunt the candidate for the rest of the campaign. From the very first day, Bush positioned himself as a new kind of Republican, who talked about the poor and spoke Spanish and spanked the House Republicans for their cold hearts and small minds."
-- Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, January 31, 2000 Time.
Missing Clinton Already
"Clinton over the years has shown a great capacity for self-pity, but in this sense it would be partly deserved: no ordinary citizen would face Clinton's present excruciating legal bind. No ordinary errant male would face a special prosecutor with four years of relatively slim results and an ever expanding mandate to search for potential illegality....But legal rights are for ordinary folks, not the man elevated to the office that transmutes a lifetime of ambition, dealmaking, and supercharged hormones into a symbol of dignity, power and promise to serve the greater good."
-- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, August 10, 1998 cover story.
Bill Clinton, "Multitasking Wizard"
"In the gaudy mansion of Clinton's mind there are many rooms with heavy doors, workrooms and playrooms, rooms stuffed with trophies, rooms to stash scandals and regrets. He walks lightly amid the ironies of his talents and behavior, just by consigning them to different cubbies of his brain. It's an almost scary mind, that of a multitasking wizard who plays hearts while he talks on the phone with a head of state, who sits through a dense briefing on chemical weapons intently doing a crossword puzzle, only to take reporters' questions hours later and repeat whole sections of the briefing word for word."
-- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs opening a news story in the March 2, 1998 issue.
Clinton's State of the Union: The Naked Pause That Refreshes
"He invited his exhausted audience to take a holiday from Lewinsky and spend a refreshing hour and 12 minutes feeling like a country again. For once the talk on the screen was not of oral sex, but of our lives and fortunes and sacred happiness. He had become all human nature, the best and the worst, standing there naked in a sharp, dark suit, behind the TelePrompTer. That which does not kill him only makes him stronger, and his poll numbers went through the roof....That may have been a miracle, but it was no accident: Americans are less puritanical and more forgiving than the cartoon version suggests, and this President is never better than in his worst moments."
-- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, February 9, 1998.
Unabomber: He's No Leftist...
"Yet no one, either at Michigan or Berkeley, remembers Ted having any contact with the leftists he would later excoriate in his manifesto."
-- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, April 15, 1996. The Unabomber manifesto begins: "The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race."
Newt the Thug
"Under pressure he reverted to the pompous thug of late-night cable, the backbencher lobbing grenades on C-SPAN about sick Democrats who were enemies of normal Americans....[Voters have] learned how far he is willing to go to achieve his larger goals: shut the government down to make a point with the President; invite lobbyists not just to lobby, but to draft the laws themselves; and give a huge tax break to his party's allies at the expense of services for the poor, with the explanation that this is what it takes to keep his Republican coalition together."
-- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs and Washington reporter Karen Tumulty, December 25/January 1, 1996 Man of the Year cover story on House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Three Cheers for Reversing Reaganomics
"The narrow votes on Thursday and Friday represent the first real rejection of Reaganomics, a doctrine that survived for more than a decade in which taxes were lowered, spending raised, and Congress was blamed while everyone watched the deficit soar."
-- Time Associate Editor Nancy Gibbs, August 16, 1993.
Clarence Thomas Got Off Easy
"Would the Thomas vote have gone differently if his story had been challenged as relentlessly as hers was; if the Senators had pressed him on his penchant for watching pornographic movies in law school, or his sudden claim that he was a victim of a racist conspiracy that would have to have been plotted ten years earlier, when Anita Hill first spoke of his behavior to her friends?"
-- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, January 6, 1992.
One of Anita's Allies
"And then there was Anita Hill, the poised daughter of so many generations of black women who have been burned carrying torches into the battle for principle. The cause of civil rights and social justice has so often fallen to them to defend. Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth were slaves by birth, freedom fighters by temperament. Rosa Parks was a tired seamstress who shoved history forward by refusing to give up her seat on the bus...The latest to claim her place in line is Anita Hill, a private, professional woman unwilling to relinquish her dignity without a fight."
-- Time Associate Editor Nancy Gibbs, October 21, 1991 issue.
Those Crazy Reagan Years
"Beneath the retrenchment and return to basics one can see the mark of American Calvinism, as consumers pull back and repent what many now consider the evil excesses of the Reagan years."
-- Time Associate Editor Nancy Gibbs, December 31, 1990 issue.
-- Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Tim Graham on Twitter.