07/10/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Conservative Mag's Cover Says Russert Will 'Predict Our Next President' From Beyond The Grave

Via Portfolio comes word of a print-media snafu reminiscent of last January's Parade cover story that was ten days off on the news of Benazir Bhutto's death. Conservative magazine Newsmax has a cover story on the "52 Talking Heads Who Will Pick Our Next President," fronted by the image of Tim Russert, whose influence on the election going forward, would be better captured by the Fortean Times.

Well, these things happen. And as Newsmax editor Cable Neuhaus tells it to Jeff Bercovici, there was very little anyone could do:

Well, let's face it, it was an extraordinary situation. Several boxes of the July issue had just arrived in our office, and I was sitting in a conference room with our graphics department, discussing some designs I hoped to implement in the months ahead. It was, I think, some four hours since our in-office supply of bound books had appeared here in West Palm Beach, when suddenly word came that Russert had died. An executive editor poked his head into the conference room and made the announcement. Of course I immediately figured it was a bad, somewhat distasteful joke. I think blood quickly drained from my face, Jeff, as I realized this was largely unprecedented -- and somewhat spooky -- territory. The magazine had already shipped, darnit. It had just shipped, in fact. We could not modify the covers -- not the ones going to subs, not the ones traveling to newsstands. The book was on its way to readers ... with Russert on the cover, and nothing could be done to avert an, uh, awkward situation.

Neuhaus plans to include a "paragraph" explaining the mistake to readers in the next issue. That said, it raises a classic new vs. old media question: seeing as how Newsmax is best known as a website (EIC Christopher Ruddy describes the brand as "the leading independent online news site with a conservative perspective") that's often criticized for trafficking in "willful misrepresentation," why maintain a print organ that's at risk of spreading unwitting misrepresentation?