Rep. Michele Bachmann’s cover shot on Newsweek magazine and the ”Queen of Rage” story therein have resulted in a rarity: Liberal women’s groups are rushing to defend a conservative women. The Daily Caller reports:

One of presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s major political opponents is defending her against what it says is blatant sexism on the part of Newsweek magazine.

Monday, the National Organization for Women (NOW) spoke out against Newsweek’s most recent cover, which features an extreme close-up of Michele Bachmann and the title “The Queen of Rage.”

“It’s sexist,” NOW president Terry O’Neill told TheDC. “Casting her in that expression and then adding ‘The Queen of Rage’ I think [it is]. Gloria Steinem has a very simple test: If this were done to a man or would it ever be done to a man – has it ever been done to a man? Surely this has never been done to a man.”

What to make of all this? For starters, after NOW’s silence during far worse and continual sexism directed at Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign, the newfound display of fairness by NOW and other groups is refreshing.

But, it’s not necessarily sexism, or rather only sexism, at work. As the Daily Caller reporter observes, in addition to a controversial shot of Sarah Palin in her bicycling attire, Newsweek has also put “unflattering” cover shots of Rush Limbaugh and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the newsstands. Hmm. Now what do all these folks have in common. Oh, my — all Republicans!

The problem isn’t so much the sexism (rage? why not righteous indignation?) but biased, bad reporting. Bachmann is not peddling rage; she’s demonstrating uncanny policy adeptness as the candidate of change. My, sort of like a noted community organizer.

What’s also irksome is the charade that Newsweek and the rest of the mainstream media carry out that Brown’s magazine is a respected “straight news” publication.

If Tina Brown were honest, she would have said, “Of course we took a wacky-looking shot! That’s the image we have of Bachmann.” After all, the Weekly Standard and the National Review don’t defend their often hilarious cover shots of the president by pretending they’re nonideological observers of the White House. The difference (in addition to ideology and the quality of editing and reporting, and the timeliness and humor) between those publications and Newsweek is that Tina Brown pretends hers is not an opinion journal. Come to think of it, Newsweek isn’t a bit like those successful conservative journals. Maybe it’s because Brown is pretending her magazine is something that it is not.