Ebola in Newsweek: comparing American and European cover art

Nope, my laptop is colorblind.

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No - I see one picture with “A BACK DOOR FOR EBOLA” in big type and a Monkey. This reminds me of the fear mongering and mis-information that has lead to a lot of people today (admittedly most of them fundies and other low-information types) believing that AIDs came from gays having sex with monkeys.

I see another picture that seems to show two black males holding hands with the word CONTAGION plastered across it (though I admit it’s hard to be sure they are male) and that reminds me of the hysteria in the eighties and nineties that touching or being around gay people could give you aids.

Seeing these together and from the same publisher gives me the gross feeling that they are for some reason trying to conflate the AIDs crisis and the Ebola crisis for no reason I could imagine (lazy journalism doesn’t seem applicable here…), but it still makes me feel uneasy.

I do admit though that having come of age in the 80s in San Francisco where there was more attention paid to the terrible reporting and completely false rumors around aids has probably skewed my perception on disease reporting, so it could just be me.

Some people see the picture and realize they are different from each other, other people see the picture and see that both are different from the viewer. Still some other people understand that its not about what they are trying to say, but about what they are trying to get you to think.

Just like the US cover is about Americans and the other one is about the people who are suffering.

Anyway, is the content different as well or is it just the covers?

I’m assuming that the Back Door reference is hinting at how the meat is smuggled…
I imagine that it leads to a tender sous-vide-esque product.


A bit, but the only part that seems significantly lighter is the underside of the one arm. That looks like a dark-skinned “fish belly” forearm to me.

So what’s the conclusion? Do I need to twist my panties clockwise or counterclockwise?


The whole thing is clearly a plot by Mr. Beschizza to increase apparent interest in his articles - by pointing out how much commentary they attract. Frauenfelder and the gang must be holding his feet over the fire.

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I’ll leave the “is it racist/homophobic/fearmongering” to everyone else but what struck me was…
Microsoft packaging on the left, Apple on the right.

Info overload vs less-is-more.


I would suspect the content is different. This is pretty common for Newsweek. A few years back, the leader of the scientific institute I work at got a Newsweek cover (and associated story) in the European Newsweek but there was an entirely different cover (and no story) in the US edition.


Maybe this is just my own prejudice, but I look at the US cover and see “Here’s a plausible but perhaps unlikely* way Ebola could get here!” The international cover seems much more nuanced. The contrast of “CONTAGION” with two people holding hands seems to me to be saying, “Ebola spreads through contact, but we still have to stick together.”

*Perhaps I need to RTFNewsweekA to be certain, but my gut instinct is that smuggled bushmeat is unlikely to be a “backdoor” to a US ebola outbreak.


I thought print media was dead.


Time magazine is well known for this kind of thing.

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I don’t think you’re on-base at all. One covers the people in crisis, the other, “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR AMURKUH?”


What a great Rorschach test. Each image seems to have different meanings to different people. I suspect that has more to do with the viewer than the actual content. In that respect, Newsweek did an excellent job in selecting emotive and evocative images for those covers.

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