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Newsweek’s Bachmann cover was no newsstand hit

Newsweek’s cover photo of a wide-eyed Michele Bachmann was a much-debated (and often derided) distraction in mid-summer media coverage of the presidential candidate, but for all the attention it received, the controversial image didn’t do too much to help newsstand sales of the issue.

Newsweek says it sold 47,225 copies of the issue, Adweek reports, just above the single-copy sales average of 46,561.

The Bachmann shot was just one of a few controversial Newsweek covers this year, and none of them are preforming too admirably, according to Adweek. 

[Editor Tina] Brown’s other controversial covers have done similar numbers. The so-called “Diana’s Ghost” cover, which featured a computer-generated image of Princess Diana as she might look at age 50, fared just above average for a double issue, according to Newsweek, which said 70,000 copies were sold. The industry sources put sales at 47,500 to 57,000, however.

Newsweek is projecting another of its double issues, this one featuring a big exclusive — an interview with the hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape — at 50,000 sales, below the double issue average. 

Another controversial cover, depicting Mitt Romney as a dancing Mormon from the Broadway hit musical “Book of Mormon,” did well: Another double issue, it sold more than 80,000 copies, according to figures that Newsweek provided to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

For its part, Newsweek points out that since Brown’s March redesign, the magazine has sold 30 percent better on newsstands compared to the three months prior.

Devin Henry can be reached at

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