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October 11, 2013

Magazine Covers Capture Frustration Over Latest Government Shutdown

Government Shutdown Magazine Covers News PoliticsThere’s a lot of frustration out there about the current government shutdown, and several news magazines tried to capture it on recent covers. Of these three, which one did it best?

The government shutdown continues to dominate news headlines and social media news feeds, but only a relative few news magazines are weighing in on illustrating or commenting on the standoff on their covers.

Magazine industry news site FolioMag.com compiled a list of three “shutdown” covers and asked readers to determine which publication captured the standstill in Washington best.

Time magazine, as should be expected, was part of that short list since its weekly publication schedule gives it an edge on monthly competition to more often add to the conversation with its cover commentary.

The newsweekly chose a striking shot of the U.S. Capitol under an ominously cloudy sky with the words “Majority Rule.” scratched out in red above it. The photo was taken Oct. 1, the first official date of the government shutdown. The headline was a reference to the oft-repeated mantra from Speaker of the House John Boehner in the days leading up to the furlough of government workers “Let’s listen to our constituents.”

According to the accompanying cover story in Time’s Oct. 14 issue, a majority of Americans would have preferred to avoid a government shutdown, making both the headline treatment and photo a well-done interpretation of events and perhaps what’s to come.

Fellow newsweekly The Economist placed the most recent shutdown in greater perspective, placing two politicians going at each other’s throats atop Mount Rushmore in its cover illustration. The founding fathers are turned in the direction of the politicians, giving them a look of disgust with the headline “No way to run a country” above it.

Not until 1980 did the government officially shut down. It became something of a common practice, occurring seven times during the decade. The last government shutdown happened 17 years ago, in 1996.

Perhaps the headline is a fitting reference to the fact the government continued to function for more than 200 years without interruption, the past several decades notwithstanding.

Finally, popular parody and humor magazine MAD took advantage of the opportunity to get in its jabs, too. For its October 2013 issue, it went with a less artistic shot of the U.S. Capitol than was used on Time’s cover with the sign “This Country Is Still Out of Order” hanging from it.

From Republicans to President Obama to everyone in Washington, there are plenty of targets the public is blaming for the latest impasse, and this sign pretty much covers them all.

Which one do you think best captures the situation in Washington?



About the Author

Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.




  • The Affiliate Mommy

    I really prefer the MAD magazine cover. Funny but true

  • Suzanne Werthan

    Love the shifting eyes on The Economist