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. JforObama

    I am an African American woman who is highly offended by this article. Not because they are talking about Obama but there is more to it than that.

    It is very racist. Ok, I agree, there is free speech but come on do you have to offend other races. This is uncalled for.

    When I have a family who loves this country and everything that it stands for. When I have family who fought and died for this country. When I have a right to be respected as much as the next man – it saddens me that I am still looked down upon. Yes, it states the racism that still exist in this country.

    It is not about Obama in this picture – it is painting a negative picture of different cultures. This is absolutely disrespectful. When my daughter looked at this picture, she was said mom, why do people hate me for what I am.

    I am still proud of my country and hope that one day all of this nonsense will end.

    This is only pushing more and more people to vote for Obama.

    Someone on the blog stated – once a muslim is always a muslim. How dare you state such a hateful comment. You are way off line here.

    July 14, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  2. Terry, Dallas, Texas

    Sure we have freedom of speech.. But this is HORRIFIC!!! Then to try and justify it by saying it was done to attack lies and misconceptions. This is further proof of the hateful, prejudice mindset of the media.

    July 14, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. Nick Wright

    This would have worked if everyone was as smart and in touch as the average reader of the New Yorker. Sadly, that isn't the case.

    The New Yorker has a circulation of around 1 million, most of whom may get this, but tens of millions more will see this cover and not understand the satire. By overestimating the intelligence of the general populace the New Yorker editors have unwittingly added more fuel to the firestorm of obscenely false accusations.

    July 14, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  4. Mr. Lewis

    It's scum – pure & simple

    Obama '08

    July 14, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  5. S Eastman

    The problem with the new cover of the New Yorker is the picture of Bin Laden over the fireplace in the Oval Office. He (and others) are responsible for killing Americans seven years ago. We presently have Americans who are in harms way looking for him. That's where the artist and the magazine stepped over the line and what makes the cover offensive.

    July 14, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  6. Bill Creeden

    If the American public is offended, as I am by, the cover of The New Yorker, the solution is simple – boycott The New Yorker and everyone who advertises in it.

    July 14, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  7. Jim

    How about all of the covers where they try to make Obama look like he is Jesus? Deal with it. When the media far and wide cover you with absolute giddy who complains? It is satire and learn to take a Joke Obama and all of your PC supporters. How about the joke after joke about McCain and his age and so on and so on? God I hope this country realizes what Obama is before its too late.

    July 14, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  8. Sue CA

    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.
    CNN Monday he doesn't regret approving the use of the controversial image.
    Just Curious will you do an illustration of CINDY and John McCain?

    July 14, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. ace

    The cover was in very poor taste. It was racist ,sexist and a lot more. The Obama's and their supporters should boycott the New Yorker. We of course know politicans are fair game for the media but there needs to be a line drawn somewhere. I'd be pissed off if I was the one on it just like every other human being.

    July 14, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  10. Chappy in Jacksonville, Florida

    Let me give the New Yorker my Satire. I shall not buy a copy of this
    "Mag." Moreover, to suggest this is satire, the editors should ask
    themselves, "Who is laughing?" with the exception of the racist
    culture in our country. They KNEW what they were doing and their
    pathetic excuses are another attempt to look down at those of us
    who are looking for a change in our government. In closing,
    to go after the Obama's wife is beyond contempt. Would they have dared to put laura Bush on the front page as "Satire?"
    I think NOT!!

    July 14, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  11. James Mack

    It's one thing to make a satirical comment on what a person has said or done. I believe it is an entirely different thing to make such a comment on what other people believe about the person who is target of the satire. For example, one could 'poke fun' at George Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' photo-op.

    Can 'The New Yorker' please give us a few examples (2 or 3) of satirical magazine covers in the past 15 years about uninformed beliefs that segments of the population have held about the target of the satire?

    July 14, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. TyWebb

    Why even take the chance it will be misconstrued? Publicity, I guess. They should have added frivolous dialogue captions to the pictures to truly get their satirical point across.

    July 14, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  13. Barack Uda

    I'd view this more suspiciously if it came from a right wing publication. Now that we know there's a corresponding story to go along with the illustration, about the very thing we must stop falling for; the politics of FEAR!...
    Vote Hope

    July 14, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  14. Wendell Pichon

    Why not do like I did, cancel your subscription to the magazine and request your favorite news stand not to carry the issue/the magazine. If we all truly disagree with the New Yorker's latetest statement lets join together and no longer purchase the magazine.

    July 14, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  15. Margy

    I went to Indonesia many times and being Jackarta Indonesia a poor muslim country , children are training to be a good muslim like their parents. All the white foreign people live separed . If Obama lived in Jackarta he must had many muslim friends. OK but do we want a "muslim president " ?

    July 14, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  16. KE

    A better picture of Obama would have been a wolf in sheep's clothing. The portrayal of his wife is spot on. Another nice touch would have been Rev. Wright and Al Sharpton high-fiving each other.

    July 14, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  17. LaTeef Alade

    The is the worst catoon image of potential US president. The picture is racist in nature. Shame on New Yorker.

    July 14, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  18. Independant Vet

    They were get close. Waite till some one spell's it out, That he is not a Citizen of the USA . Therefore he can not be elected president.

    That made my day , for it shows , in plain facts, what a flip Flopper he is, Plus all the other , LIE"S .

    He flips, flop's more than a fish out of water.

    NOOOOOooooooooooo Obama , go back to Rezeko .

    July 14, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  19. Donnie Nair

    The New Yorker cartoon belongs on the inside of the magazine where regular readers expect biting satire. It is not funny-it is vicious. If it were on a conservative magazine cover it would be considered hate speech. By putting it on the cover where casual readers will see it, it will confirm in the minds of many that Obama is a OSAMA worshiper or follower who hates America and is in fact a muslim and burns the American flag inside his home. It portrays Michelle as a gun-toting terrorist. Appaling, tasteless, hateful and damaging. To repeat-cartoons like this belong on the inside not on the cover.

    July 14, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  20. Vig

    Tonight one of the talking Obamaheads on Cooper's 360 stated the New Yorker magazine cover was racist. Why is it that any criticism of Obama is called racist? It's Obama who vacated the pledge, it's Obama who didn't wear a flag pin, it's Obama's wife who measures patriotism through her husband's popularity, it's Obama whose friend and pastor was the trash talking Rev. Wright. The seeds of doubt were conceived months ago and the magazine cover is Obama's offspring. Stop calling Americans racists.

    July 14, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  21. Andrew

    I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but it brought controversy

    July 14, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  22. Sue

    It is shameful....the media has lost all credibility!

    July 14, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  23. Nevada

    Many will look at this cover and see only the picture...they will not read the article. As there is no explanation on the cover, it becomes an offensive negative. This shows a lack of common sense on the part of The New Yorker... with this type of support, the Democrats don't need enemies.

    July 14, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  24. aware

    The super sensitive Obama would never make it as president! He can dish it out but he can't take it even from his own left-wing people!

    Give it up Obama! You will never be president. You are a living breathing joke! 🙂

    July 14, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  25. Diane

    David and the New Yorker are full of rotten crap and should get the stinky fart award. This is not funny, it's not satire, it's defamation, and it stinks to high heaven. They should be sued, then let them try to find some irony in that.

    This United States Senator is a Christian and was raised by his White, Christian mother and grandmother; not his Black, Muslim father who abandoned them when he was very young. His wife is a dignified, fantastic, articulate, brilliant attorney and loyal American and Christian, with credentials one could only dream of having.

    It's 2008, not 1608. God, please help this nation; democrats, republicans, and independents.

    July 14, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
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