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. Kevin

    I think it's awesome! I want a framed print of it. This thing will be worth something one day!

    NObama 08

    July 14, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  2. Dave from Virginia

    Oh sorry forgot to add that James Carville is the only smart one among you bunch at CNN.

    July 14, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  3. clowney

    How dumb can you get? David Remnick apparently had his head
    up somewhere when he approved the new Obama cover. In an apparent attempt to quench the fires of attack politics he has doused it with kerosene. And here I thought the New Yorker was a high IQ mag.

    July 14, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  4. used2bdemocrat

    As the old saying goes there is a lot of truth in a joke.

    July 14, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  5. Ali

    I get what they are trying to say but based on the comments on this site a lot of people didn't get it. I personally don't see any humor. I don't find racisim fueled by the media to be very funny.

    The argument that Obama and others who are offended sholdn't complain because we have freedom of speech is a ridiculus argument. You could say that the New Yorker is excercising freedom of press/speach. The problem with that argument is that if the New Yorker has the right to publish the picture under those who feel it is offensive have the same right to express there decenting opions.

    July 14, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  6. Bill, Covington

    GREAT JOB NWE YORKER! I hope we will be seeing more along the same lines in the next 115 days.

    The nation needs to see these people for what they are.

    July 14, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  7. Hate to break it to you

    I understand what they were trying to convey, but I think some problem has to do with if you don't know that the New Yorker does this kind of satire on there cover and that they are a liberal Magazine, then it will cause a problem. I don't read or even look at this Magazine and it bothered me, but once I saw the interview with the editor and his explanation, I had accepted it. I guess the problem you have is the picture depicts so much misconceptions it's unnerving to some people including the Obamas. And let's be honest, this picture is going to play into any misconceptions people have, because those people were already having those thoughts prior to the Magazine coming out and they will not think differently.

    Obama 08

    July 14, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. Tasteless

    this makes me sick. This guy is an idiot and should not draw political cartoons for any one anymore. There are such things as political cartoons, and then there are tasteless, vicious ones. For all the stupid, uninformed people out there, this cover could reaffirm beliefs of Obama's religion that couldn't be farther from the truth. I believe also in freedom of speech for all you first amendment lovers out there, up to the point it is slanderous against another person or impedes against their rights.

    July 14, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  9. Mathew

    I will call for boycotting NewYorker Magazine.

    July 14, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  10. Lyn

    How fabulous that a Leftie publication would attack a Leftie. Hmmm. Now tell me, how will they blame the Conservatives?

    July 14, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. Guy

    Sleaze stuff. Is the New Yorker that desperate for sales?

    July 14, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. Isabeau

    OK. Right. This is America, where we have freedom of the press. We also have freedom to not appreciate what the press is presenting, especially when it is not CLEAR what they are presenting and why. I'm sure the article absolutely explains and clears up all misconceptions. But there happen to be a lot of people who BROWSE and don't read the magazines. They look at the cover and are inspired or offended or otherwise affected by the artwork they see. If there was no explanation on the cover making it very clear that it was satire at its best... how are people to know? To relate this to Colbert, take a few of his remarks out of context from the whole and you will be highly offended, put it all together and you have something very funny and understood to be satire.

    I agree that Mr. Remnick should not have to defend anything, and he wouldn't if he had just made it clear what he was doing. It is also freedom of the press for the paparazzi to stalk and take pictures of Julia Roberts or Angelina and Brad... But it is also their right to complain and sue for invasion of privacy. This cover could be considered defamation of character, no matter what the intent was. Because it wasn't explained and defined. I think Mr. Remnick is hiding behind his "rights" to make a joke out of the Obama's and not out of the public's opinion of him.

    Brooklyn, you said every president has had to take it and they have shrugged it off. Please enlighten us about who else "took" being portrayed as a terrorist with a terrorist wife on the cover of the New Yorker, burning the American flag... Actually... tell us about a president portrayed burning the American flag. (In jest of course... to make a point). Betcha can't do it. Really bad critique there Brook...

    July 14, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. paula

    Yes, I get the satire. And I concede the right to free speech. However, to use the rationale that there are Americans out there that still believe Obama is a Muslim does not really justify the tasteless cover of the magazine. It will only fuel the fire for those ignorant enough to believe whatever they are spoonfed. So, the satire is lost on the folks who this guys says it's aimed towards.

    July 14, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. Proud American

    I find it amusing that the folks who spread the lies find it amusing. The New Yorker is not laughing with the misinformed racist of America its laughing at the misinformed racist of America.

    July 14, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. L.D. Watkins

    Simply put, the cover is tasteless and smacks of blatant and subliminal messages designed to reinforce the fear that white America and others who are looking for something in Obama to reinforce why they dont like him. And Ricky, he does not need to explain to ANYONE why his father was a Muslim. His father would speak for himself, but he is dead. Since when does one have to give an explanation about what another person's choice was? This is the same thing with Wright. He can't stop him from saying what he wants to say, yet you think that he should impose his will to do so. If you want to know what Obama's religion is, read a book, go to his site with his biography and READ! After all, reading is fundamental...

    July 14, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  16. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    I understand his point, but that cover will have the unintended consequence off giving fodder to the paranoid nutzo's who still think he is a muslim. Unfortunately, a large part of the electorate has an allergy to thoughtful discussion and debate.

    July 14, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  17. L.D. Watkins

    And with that being said, despite my opinion that the cover is tasteless, we live in a society where free speech is our right as citizens. They can print it, it just means that I do not have to like it.

    July 14, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  18. RJ, CA

    "Obama suddenly the cash underdog?"

    Gee. who woulda thunk? WE - Hillary supporters do!

    The corrupt DNC inspired us to now contribute to - and support John McCain!

    July 14, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  19. Tanya Kujath

    The burning American Flag was too much. They not only insulted the American People, they have really put a lot of doubt in their own reputation.

    July 14, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  20. David

    This is just sad. Those in the media have reached an all-time low. How low can you go? What ever happened to responsible journalism?

    July 14, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  21. Lynn, FL

    Okay, so a totally liberal magazine, prints an obviously over the top picture, to make a point that helps Obama, and they get criticized by the liberals for it! Freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, but for the liberals, only when you agree with them, which ironically the magazine does and they just didn't get it. The conservatives are laughing at you.

    July 14, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  22. sandy

    I think the cover says it all for the dirty politics in this country. It is appalling that such a thing can be printed about someone running for our highest office. The media in this country has just gone too far. I grew up in the days of Walter Cronkite, who every night gave us the news and he did not analyze things to death,nor did we see such utter disregard for someone who may be our President. This country has no shame anymore and because of it, we are slowly going down the tube. Way to go American media...

    July 14, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  23. GT in CA

    Remnick need to be fired.

    July 14, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  24. Young & Educated

    Now after alllllll this can anyone tell me that when Sen Obama wins... can anyone say it was an 'easy' win after putting him thru the wringer!
    He will have a much deserved WIN come Nov!

    The cover was tasteless! Plain n Simple!

    Never seen any other politician on a cover in such a manner!
    We all know Obama is not a Muslim. We all know Michelle is not a terrorist! Its just amazing what we do to our own people thru ignorance!

    July 14, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  25. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    An editor who is indeed educated!!! Pity intelligence and education often don't go hand in hand!!!

    July 14, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
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