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Yes, that Newsweek Clinton cover is real

But Newsweek also has a version — albeit unprinted — prepared should Donald Trump win the election Tuesday.

Several conservative-leaning blogs and Facebook discussion groups circulated a photo of a special edition Newsweek magazine cover that has been shipped to bookstores around the country emblazoned with the phrase “Madam President” juxtaposed with a picture of Hillary Clinton, indicating she had won the presidency, even though Election Day still looms.

Many of those blogs and social media users suggested the pre-designed cover is proof the election is rigged, and the media is in on it. But that theory excludes one important factor: There is a Clinton cover and a Trump cover being prepared, according to the Newsweek editorial team.

From the Editors: 2 special edition covers for 2016 election outcomes were produced by a Newsweek licensee, Topix Media, and not by Newsweek pic.twitter.com/MwC4RytGbC

— Newsweek (@Newsweek) November 7, 2016

The magazine is actually a commemorative edition that is not even produced by Newsweek. Topix Media, an unrelated publishing company, has been contracted to design the special edition covers under the Newsweek brand.

“For the past six months Newsweek Special Editions has been piecing together a Road to the White House Tribute Issue for both major party candidates,” Topix CEO Tony Romando told CNN after the leaked photo of the Clinton cover started making waves.

So why is it that only the Clinton version is in stores? Well, according to Topix, it was a business decision. Given most of the polls show the Democratic nominee winning the election, Romando decided his company would print and ship the Clinton version. News is, after all, a business. And, like it or not, it’s about beating competitors to the newsstands.

If the polls are wrong and Trump wins on Tuesday, the Clinton editions will be trashed and a Trump version will immediately begin printing and will be rushed to bookstores to replace the inaccurate editions.

“Unlike hard news magazines, commemorative editions for sporting events, elections and unfortunately deaths are created weeks, months, and even years in advance,” Romando explained to CNN. “The largest publishers in America have dozens of tributes ready to print at plants across the country.”

He even compared the controversy about the Clinton-Trump magazines to the Chicago Cubs’ historic win at the World Series, saying, “One minute after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series their commemorative T-shirts went on sale and the losing team’s T-shirts were scrapped.”

“This was a business decision,” he added. “Not a political decision.”

Nevertheless, news of the magazine covers spread like wildfire, as Trump has argued since day one that the process is “rigged” against him.

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