July 15th, 2008
09:10 AM ET
10 years ago

New Yorker editor defends Obama cover


Watch New Yorker editor David Remnick defend the magazines controversial cover.

(CNN) - Amid widespread criticism over The New Yorker cover illustration that portrays Barack Obama in Muslim garb and wife Michelle Obama as a gun-toting militant, the publication's editor told CNN Monday he doesn't regret approving the use of the controversial image.

Watch: Remnick on The Situation Room

David Remnick, the longtime editor of the highly-regarded publication, said he believes the ironic intent of the illustration will be clear to most Americans.

"The idea is to attack lies and misconceptions and distortions about the Obamas, and their background and their politics. We've heard all of this nonsense about how they're supposedly insufficiently patriotic, or soft on terrorism," he said. "That somehow the fist bump is something that it's not. And we try to put all of these images in one cover, and to satirize and shine a really harsh light on something that could be incredibly damaging."

The cover - which shows the pair in the Oval Office, with an American flag burning and a picture of Osama bin Laden - has been widely criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike. On Sunday evening Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton called it "tasteless and offensive." John McCain said Monday it is "totally inappropriate."

Bernard Parks, a California city council member and supporter of Barack Obama, told CNN he is calling for a boycott of the liberal-leaning magazine.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (527 Responses)
  1. Corb

    I wonder if anyone here has actually read the article yet????

    July 14, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  2. gram

    It's about time the OBAMAS got a taste of their own medicine...They are fair game....just like any other politician...and family

    July 14, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  3. E. de Leon

    Obama is not my cup of tea, but the cover of New Yorkers is tasteless. I will read what they have to say, but they cant convince me otherwise either. I'm a McCain democrat for November. HRC 2012!

    July 14, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  4. yns

    Last time I checked... we are in THE UNTED STATES OF AMERICA and in this country we have the FREEDOM OF SPEECH!

    Well.... Barack Hussein Obama, quite your whining, suck it and up, and now realize what the media has been doing to all the candidates all along.

    And, people, everytime there is something portraying Barack Hussein Obama in a not so favorable light, IT IS NOT RACIST. QUIT USING THE "RACIST" CARD EACH TIME SOMETHING YOU DO NOT LIKE HAPPENS!!!

    If some of you think this is outrageous, then take a look at the history of politics. Many, many things have been used throughout time to depict a variety of characters.

    For those of you calling for a "lawsuit" against The New Yorker, remember that Barack Hussein Obama's "Presidential Logo" was totally illegal and charges should be brought against him for that!

    July 14, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  5. shannon

    It is a left leaning magazine...geeeeeeez. They were actually making a valid point. Too bad you Obamaites react without thinking. Had you spent half a second to actually figure out what they were trying to say, you would probably appreciate it.

    Of course...a lot of you nimwits are new to politics and probably have no idea what they were trying to say.

    July 14, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  6. Debby

    I hear this magazine is selling like hotcakes and you can't get one. Obviously the editor knows what sells. LOL

    July 14, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  7. Fed up in Washington

    Lou Dobbs showed this evening a number of prior New Yorker covers depicting George W., Cheney, Clinton, and other politicians in extremely unflattering ways. The one I remember is George W. Bush portrayed as Nero fiddling while Iraq (if I remember correctly) burns.

    I hope everyone lightens up a bit. The New Yorker is about as liberal as any magazine gets and always has been.

    They have also published some of the most moving American literature ever published. For example, John Hershey's "Hiroshima" was published after we dropped the first A-bomb on Japan.

    July 14, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  8. Josh, NY

    Forget the article, the cover tells the real story.

    July 14, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. susie

    Was there an outcry when this magazine went after Bush? Or is Freedom of Speech gone when the subject is in reference to Obama?

    July 14, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  10. Marie in California

    I think the picture says it all. The only thing missing is the fire-breathing Jeremiah Wright and Rezko in his prison garb.

    And enjoy free speech while you have it. Nancy Pelosi wants to eliminate it with the Fairness Doctrine.

    Was for Hillary, now for McCain!

    July 14, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. Indiana Bob

    Of course Obama cries racism. Anybody that dares disagree with him or make a comment that he deems as negative against him is automatically racist. I seen it all through the primary and it continues on and on. In the past, I had sympathised with blacks when the race card was played. All a black had to do was accuse someone of being racist and i was gullible enough to believe it. This election has definitely changed my perspective of that. Political elections are always full of disagreements and accusations. That is how the political has always worked. But the Obama campaign constanrly accusing anybody that has a different political position from Obama as being racist is way over the top. If this is change we can believe in, then you can believe me that I want no part of it. I don't have to vote for Obama to prove to myself that I am not racist. Of course the Obamabots will automatically accuse me of being a racist. They always do.

    PUMA - Vote for McCain

    July 14, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. G. Gabelli

    Yes, of course the New Yorker Obama cover is meant to be satire. But it is not!

    The New Yorker has forgotten what satire means; satire takes what is true and exaggerates it, and brings it to the extreme. This cover, standing alone without obvious commentary, therefore infers that what is caricatured about Obama and his wife is true.

    It feeds into the hateful misinformation Obama's opponents are hoping the low-information voters will continue to believe.

    Many people will only see this disgraceful cover and will not bother to read "satire" into it, and use it to confirm the lies that are hurting the Obama campaign.

    AND most people will not turn the cover and read the articles!

    The New Yorker's editors should be ashamed of themselves for feeding into low-information voters' hatred and biases.

    An EX-subscriber!

    July 14, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  13. Terri

    This is what white America finds humorous....hey...black america is not laughing. New Yorker we know how much you are reaching for a discussion on the article....however the picture dominates the headline and the article is lost in translation...GROW UP BOYS..THIS TYPE OF HUMOR IS ONLY FUNNY FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS...ADULTS LOOK MORE FOR THE CHARM THAN THE WIT.

    July 14, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  14. ray patrick

    This crap is just the start of what is comming! When the right gets through with Obama the Kerry Boat Fiasco will look like a canoe ride in Central Park! The liberal? New Yorker just pulled a fast one guess the editor is a sneaky right wing on this...easy read as no one could be that dumb....or could they?

    July 14, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  15. ch

    No sympathy or outrage from me. The Obamas and the media tried to caricature the Clintons as racists.

    Where was the outcry then?

    And the Obamas as terrorists (although untrue and ridiculous) is still more believable then Bill and Hillary Clinton as racists.

    July 14, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  16. Auntie Coosa, Blairsville, Georgia, USofA

    Lighten up, Liberals. You can dish it out, but you can't take it.

    Michael Moore, recall him? THAT was okay, right? THAT was "art" or "freedom of speech," right? So if someone uses freedom of speech and you don't approve, you immediately want to revoke his right to the same freedom you use when you're screaming obscenities into the faces of young children.

    What goes around, comes around. You Liberals are not immune to cartoon caricatures. IF what is depicted on the New Yorker Mag's Cover is untrue, then why are you protesting so much?

    Let it go and it will disappear. If you don't let it go, you give the idea that there is some truth to it.

    July 14, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. nancy

    I am sure that the New york post must feel like they can do whatever they want to do and put anything on the cover but when they have done is cross the line. Obama will be the Pres with my vote. I bet they would have never put George and Laura Bush on the cover with guns and we all know what Bush is about. I believe they only did that because they knew they could get away with it and try to sugar coat the cover. It is unacceptable We all know that they want money and what better way to get paid off of Obama!!!!

    July 14, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. Indiana Bob

    PUMA - Vote for McCain

    July 14, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  19. OHIO

    OK...Where's John McCain's/Cindy Cover Page.......I'm waiting and make it good!!!!!!!!
    Wheelchair.... Check
    Illiterate to the email....Check
    Stepford Wife....Check
    Pill Addiction.....Check

    July 14, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  20. Mariann Pepitone

    They can boycott the magazine all they want but that magazine will sell and make the New Yorker millions of dollars. That was one of the best covers I have seen in a long time. The New Yorker brought out the truth about the Obama's that people don't want to believe or hear because Obama fooled them with his copied speeches and his promises that he will never keep. Even though Jesse Jackson endorsed Obama he also can see thru him that's why he said what he said to a friend of his. I glad that Jackson said what he did although without the foul word. Jackson is a smarter man than Obama and can make a speech without copying someone else's. This generation of college students don't have the brains to sit on or a window to throw them out of that's why they don't understand the good and bad in politics. They are too busy with their drugs and booze.

    July 14, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. white 49 yr old woman for Obama

    The New Yorker should be boycott by all New Yorkers who support Obama, that was very distasteful and should not have been approved for publication. New Yorkers, please do not buy the mag!

    July 14, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  22. Independant Thinker

    If Obama thinks that this is bad now, if he gets elected, it will be at least 10 times worse.

    This is not racism, even though Obama is playing the race card.

    It is not even as bad when they characterised Bush with a Hitler mustash, or as a redneck.

    Fair is fair, especially since this is a left wing magazine.

    July 14, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  23. jerry, San Francisco, CA

    New Yorker regulars would never mistake the satire for an attack. The cover is about fear-mongering by Republican operatives. THEY are the subject, NOT Obama. Rove and his his clan have used every low form of lie imaginable, from Willie Horton (Dukasis) to Swift Boat Veterans (Kerry), and will do the same this year. So drawing attention to these vicious tactics is an important message, and one that will help Obama fight back.

    July 14, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  24. lovable liberal

    The only thing that's important to media is attention, so this worked perfectly.

    July 14, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  25. devams

    I see what they were going for and I understand that they're trying to hold up a mirror to the politics of fear and misconception. However, I think the cover is more likely to fan those flames. Unfortunately, uninformed people who still believe that Obama is what the cover depicts will only feel validated in their beliefs. I think the magazine overestimated the intelligence of the American public. The only ones that will get the intended message are the people who already get it.

    July 14, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22