Businessweek's Controversial Warren Cover Adorned With Epithets Not Sourced To Any Critics

Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

For its cover this week, Businessweek apparently selected the words "arrogant," "entitled," "smug," and "know-it-all" -- stamped in dripping red ink blotches -- to characterize criticism of Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law School professor who serves as special assistant to President Obama and special adviser to the Treasury Department.

Huffington Post's Jason Linkins rightly took issue with the cover, explaining the sexist insinuation of "Warren's picture dotted with epithets like 'smug' and 'entitled' and 'know-it-all.'"

What's curious about those particular epithets, to borrow Linkins' descriptor, is trying to discern where Businessweek came up with them: Drake Bennett used more than 4,000 words in his cover story, but "entitled," "smug," "know-it-all," and "arrogant" were not among them. (Two other words on the cover -- "bureaucrat" and "liberal" -- do, in fact, appear in the article.)

Linkins offered to "generously assume" that Businessweek chose those particular words as "an interpretive way of sending up Warren's myopic critics, and not the magazine itself commenting on a woman whose most fervent desire is for ordinary Americans to have intelligible loan and credit-card agreements."

That may be, but questions remain as to just where the magazine's editors came up with the words they apparently chose to adorn their cover -- and why.

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