A new Time Magazine cover showing President Joe Biden locked in an icy staring match with his Russian counterpart has been mocked as an over-the-top display of machismo, producing a number of parodies online.
Titling the issue “Taking on Putin,” Time released the cover on Friday, just days before a summit between the two leaders set for June 16 in Switzerland. The magazine features an illustration of a stone-faced Biden decked out in aviation shades, with Putin reflected in their lenses.
The cover soon drew ridicule from observers online, with journalist Glenn Greenwald saying it is not only “adolescent,” but highlights a serious failing of the American corporate press.
“The US media constantly depicts complex relations between countries as some adolescent competition about which President can be more macho and stare down the other one, like 12-year-olds playing a staring game,” he said, adding “Putin shaking when he sees Biden’s aviator glasses.”
The US media constantly depicts complex relations between countries as some adolescent competition about which President can be more macho and stare down the other one, like 12-year-olds playing a staring game.Putin shaking when he sees Biden’s aviator glasses. pic.twitter.com/TQ2wbC9Ttf
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 11, 2021
Other netizens unleashed a flood of satirical magazine covers inspired by the Time issue, most less flattering to the commander in chief.
One of the mock-ups featured Putin front-and-center, with Biden reflected in his sunglasses instead. It was captioned “How I got my pipeline” – apparently a reference to a recent decision in Washington to drop sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Germany.
Ahead of the June 16 summit, Biden has signaled he would get tough with the Russian leader, saying, vaguely, that he would “let him know what I want him to know” earlier this week. That followed previous remarks in an interview with ABC, in which Biden agreed with the contention that Putin is a “killer,” and recalled how he once told him bluntly that “I don’t think you have a soul.”
While Putin told NBC in an exclusive interview aired on Friday that Biden’s harsh words were mere “Hollywood macho,” he suggested he could work with him, saying that, in contrast to ex-President Donald Trump, Biden would not act on “impulse.” He nonetheless praised Trump as a “colorful” and “talented individual.”
“He didn’t come from the US establishment. He had not been part of big-time politics before, and some like it, some don’t like it but that is a fact,” Putin said, comparing the two American leaders. “So, as far as harsh rhetoric, I think that this is an expression of overall US culture.”
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