Stephen Baker

The Boost
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BusinessWeek screwed up. Move on.

March 2, 2013News

Lots of outrage over BusinessWeek's ridiculously ugly and insensitive cover image from a week ago. Like most people, I'm stunned the cover made its way through the editorial process. I would have thought that editors would have given that cover one look and asked: Are you kidding?!

This has led to charges that BusinessWeek is racist, and is buying into the narrative that poor people, many of them racial and ethnic minorities, "caused" the housing crisis by borrowing irresponsibly. In any case, I'm for moving on.

There's so much attention these days on whether words or images are appropriate, or true, or fair, or "hurtful." And the upshot is that people can get into trouble, or even wreck their careers, by saying or publishing something stupid. This leads to caution, self-censorship, boredom. BusinessWeek's editor, Josh Tyrangiel, has taken lots of chances in the last couple of years. Many of them have worked. The magazine is lively and very good (even though I'm not crazy about the design). He, like the rest of us, should to be free to commit misjudgments with something close to impunity. 

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