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. SHAME


    July 15, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. Realist

    To Tammy v "Where is the free speech?"


    Free speech and freedom of the press... absolutely!

    The KKK's right to march and spew racist and bigoted propaganda is also protected. Just because speech is protected doesn't make it any less racist. Even if you call it satire, satire can also promote racism and sexism.

    You can make all the excuses you want New Yorker, it's still blatant racism.

    July 15, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  3. TerryDAH

    Is the satire caricature True or False?

    Obvious from the over reaction from the Obama team it is TRUE!
    I think thou dost protest to much!

    There is always a hint of truth in every joke and in every satire.
    He has leaning towards the Muslims as he stated in his own book. To paraphrase, when push comes to shove, I will be on the side of the Muslims.

    And Michelle, is a radical as she stated in her university thesis.
    We do not change our stripes overnight, as Obama would love for people to believe; especially about his leaving the Black Theology teachings of Rev. Wright.

    So, I would conclude that the satirical drawing was right on, and that it is a true reflection of the Obama's hidden mind set.
    PumaPac, Democratic Supporters for H.R. Clinton, demand her name be placed in nomination for The First Roll Call at the Denver Convention!!!
    Come and join our noble cause!

    July 15, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  4. Cynthia

    I understand satire and what the New Yorker does with its cover but this was a tasteless one. The cover itself does not explain what is going on and from what I understand neither does the article inside. Polls show that there are people still out there who believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim and some of the other crazy stuff out there and this cover only makes it worse instead of better.

    July 15, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. Beverly

    The problem is that this cover is like a joke without a punchline. I kow a lot of people who are extrememly very versed in satire who didn't get it. At best, they can see why it was suppose to be funny, but it isn't there.

    When Colbert does his thing, he will contradict himself or say something that doesn't make sense or do something over the top absurd. It clues you in to his real meaning. This cover doesn't do that. It may seem like it should be absurd, but people really believe these things, so it isn't. It needs a punchline to bring it home: a person labeled "media" dreaming it up or putting the decoration behind them; a reference to obama also being a Christian. it's not bad, just incomplete.

    July 15, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. mark

    in no way am i an obama supporter, but this was truly tasteless!

    July 15, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  7. Leah

    It's satire. Can we drop all of these stupid side stories and actually discuss politics for once? Honestly it seems like people want the elections to be played out like some awful reality show. Lots of drama, little substance.

    July 15, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  8. atypical

    To all of those who keep saying Obama should quit whining about the cover, Obama himself has said, "No comment."

    The Obama CAMPAIGN' denounced the cover. Obama offered no comment.

    It makes it sound like you can't wait to pounce on him for something–anything. Immature.

    July 15, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. Tammy

    I think it's right on the mark. Americans want change? We'll get more than "change" if Obama is voted into office, we'll get more than we ever bargained for..... America knows how to fight war on terrorism, to an extent, HOWEVER we are not equiped to fight what ever hash the Obama's and their Black Pride, will be slinging, because we're too political correct now.

    July 15, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  10. Joe PA

    I am an Obama supporter. I am not happy about the cover but, this is still America you know freedom of speech. The New Yorker shouldn't have to defend the cover. If you don't like it buy it end of story.

    July 15, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  11. Renee Flowers

    Why didn't you put Obama's two children holding guns on the cover also? Why is his wife on the cover? Are they BOTH running for the office of president? Why didn't you type "For Intellectuals Only" on the cover so the rest of us would not view the cover and see racism and disrespect of Mr. and Mrs. Obama ?

    July 15, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  12. Joe

    I Think it hit the nail on the head and did what it was supposed to do, get people talking. We are getting so tied up in political correctness that people are afraid to discuss things for fear of offending someone. What ever happened to free speech.

    July 15, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Jimmy in NY

    When Barack Obama is the president then the cover could be viewed as humorous. At this point it only plays to the racist misinformation that FOX news channel likes to propogate.
    The New Yorker Magazine should be more responsible.

    July 15, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  14. AdamW

    This guy is out of touch with America if he thinks most Americans will "get it". The truth is, all it will do for most Americans who only look at the cover and never read the articles of this magazine is fuel more flames.
    It's a decent attempt at satire but all in all kind of weak. These guys don't specialize in satire...leave that to MAD magazine, ok?
    And start hiring better illustrator please.

    July 15, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. Safety & Comfort

    I love how McCain is somehow involved in this. Liberals will not be distracted from their hate of him.

    July 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. oggy

    Irony deficiency aside, what were the editors at The New Yorker thinking? It's certainly cutting edge stuff, but surely there must have been a Plan B in anticipation of all the flak they must have known they would take. Nice try, but poor taste.

    July 15, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. Elinor Hite

    There is a disconnect between the cartoonist's intent and the actual graphic result. I think the cover is defamatory. However, politicians need to get used to being misrepresented every which way, but I do think this is pretty extreme.

    July 15, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. JDM

    The cover triggers emotions before you think.
    Most poeple will not think before they attack OB and his wife!
    This was about making money and not a point to help thought!

    July 15, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. Ero

    It's disgusting and cheap and I will expect noone will pay any attention to it and simply reject it. Too bad that there are so many uneducated stupids who will look at a silly picture like it and make up their minds when they don't know how to read the article.

    July 15, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. David

    It's clear that the New Yorker should fire David Remnick. He obviously does not have the intelligence to know the difference between funny and tasteless.

    July 15, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. Andrea

    In good satire, and I adore good satire, the images are OF those being satirized! So. . .where do we see the fear mongerers themselves on this cover? Folks, you got the rules of satire just plain dead wrong!

    July 15, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. DM, Let talk about the truth!!

    Eugene M. McQuade President and COO Freddie Mac $10,752,905 $900,000 Not available

    Thomas J. Fitzpatrick CEO Sallie Mae $39,629,325 $682,500 $1.4 billion

    Taxpayers Bailingout the Rich so they could get richer?

    Who's really getting paid?

    July 15, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |

    This Cover picture to me depicts that all BLACK MEN AND BLACK WOMEN ARE MUSLIMS AND TERRORIST. (We can call the BLACK people BABARIANS if we want to)

    I think this is how the black people have been potrait by white people since time memorial. This bird eye view of babarianism can even be seen on a new Game called Civilization revolution in XBOX360.

    W all know that this judgement from white people about blacks is almost at the rim. before the November 2008, there will be more.

    Please brace yourself for some more bumpy rides.

    But let me just say that if this was the other way round it would have been caos by now.

    July 15, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. Cathy

    Brandon Hillary PUMA for Mc Cain-Pa (and those alike):

    It is so sad that some Clinton supporters are supporting McCain just out of spite. In my eyes you NEVER supported Clinton based on her position on important issues. Because if you did, you could never vote for McCain who represents nothing of Clinton's beliefs. From the very very beginning everyone knew that Obama and Clinton were almost identical on their positions on important issues. It was a hard fought race and either candidate would have barely won. But because your candidate didn't win you are going to vote for the opposite side just to be spiteful. That is just a shame!

    Come on already. We are picking the President of the United States, not the captain of the 3rd grade kick ball team.

    Democrats Unite!!!

    July 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  25. FLORIDA Voter for Barack Obama

    Blah, blah, blah...

    I'm over the cover. Can we move on already?

    I get the point, but yes it failed to accomplish it's goal. Oh well.


    July 15, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
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