TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 24th October 2011.

TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 05th December 2011.

TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 02nd April 2007.

TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 03rd November 2008.

TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 08th August 2011.

TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 20th September 2010.

Selective variations might appear politically-driven, but what I think it comes down to is the publisher using market research in an attempt to increase sales. TIME is supposedly the world's largest weekly news magazine. Why wouldn't the company change cover depending on what it thinks will sell?

When you take the above examples in isolation it mightn't look great, but you don't need to venture far into the TIME archives to see differences that aren't quite as noteworthy.

TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 31st October 2011.

TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 17th December 2007.

TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 14th January 2008.

TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 14th November 2011.

TIME magazine covers US vs rest of the worldTIME covers, 11th February 2008.