Newsweek editor Jon Meacham is defending his magazine's decision to put a running shorts-clad photo of Sarah Palin on the cover. Relatedly, Andrea Mitchell is mildly embarrassed that she only has older white men to ask about this stuff.

Meacham tells Politico's Michael Calderone, "We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do. We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard."

Meanwhile, over at MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell just asked her guests for their thoughts on the cover, adding delicately, "Maybe you're not the best people to ask." Cut to two dudes, at least one of whom (Democratic strategist Steve McMahon) has no qualms about answering bluntly:

"This is a woman who is basically the Tonya Harding of authors. She came out and kneecapped every single person who helped her along the way. And she's making millions of dollars for it. She has no right to complain, she has no reason to complain. She can complain all the way to the bank."

Palin Calls Newsweek Cover Sexist and Degrading [Politico]

Earlier: Sarah Palin Gets Her Criticism of Newsweek Cover Right