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. Theresa - Minneapolis

    The big deal, James Carville, is that there are a lot of hillbillies in this country who have a vote. They're already biased and racist and this will simply make them think they were right all the long.

    Unfortunately not everyone reads the words. They just look at the pictures...

    July 14, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. Obamalism

    People wouldn't know satire if it bit them in the rear. It's much easier to throw out the race/minority/feeling cards when you don't understand something.

    July 14, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. observer

    This is as sick as it gets. The New York has a moral responsibility to this country. The Editor needs to be fired! Is this the society that we want to live in? Tasteless Rubbish. They should perhaps been sued into bankruptcy!

    July 14, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. M. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    Is the New Yorker gonna do a parody on "Grandpa McCain" as well? If not then this cover is not only tasteless and feeding the urban myth but racist as well

    PS: Despite the high minded intent this cover will be hung in every gas station in W. VA and it's surrounding states offering pure glee to every bible toting, gun owning, snake handling bigot that's for sure. Way to go New Yorker...

    July 14, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. foriegn engineer

    It is amazing that USA still lives in such a darkness, that people use such offensive cartoons to make money and get free publicity. I think these are the people who are creating hate for USA in all over the world. That is precise reason the respect of USA is diminishing due to such incidents. Live and let live, respect each other to be respected by other nations wheather you like one canidadate or other.

    July 14, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |

    Maybe we should burn all New Yorker magazines in the fireplace! This is seriously in poor taste!

    July 14, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. John G

    Welcome to the Peoples Republic of America.

    That whole freedom of speech thing is a thing of the past.You can no longer say what you want about who you want you have to be politically correct and sensitive-even if you live in Japan.

    July 14, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. Shiloh WA

    It is appalling, racist, ethocentric, fearmongering, and insulting to America! It is NOT SATIRE as it is not based on fact only predudice. The New Yorker has lost any claim to respect. Neo-con crappola!

    July 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. evia

    I don't plan on voting for Obama because I don't think he's being up front regarding the issues but give me a break that cover is a little much!

    July 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. Mike in NYC

    "I think you underestimate the intelligence of the American people, to be quite honest."

    Unfortunately, "overestimate" is the word to use when talking about the intelligence of the American people, as judged by many of the posts on these boards.

    Note how Bill Bennett is trying to be PC.

    The cover made MO look like Angela Davis. Not fair, I say. MO's resemblance to AD is strictly ideological.

    July 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. Independent-woman-4-Obama

    I watched as Wolf Blitzer interviewed David Remnick. Remnick has no defense!

    What people don't get is that the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS, do not read the New Yorker!!! And ALL they WILL SEE IS THE CARTOON, WHICH PLAYS TO THEIR FEARS AND LIES!

    That's what I am upset about! I GET that its satire! But MOST Americans do not know what satire means!

    Also, its obvious that Muslims and African-Americans can be lampooned but when Rev. Wright spoke up against the 'other' side, people were up in arms!


    July 14, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. Nikole

    The problem is that too many people have looked at the cover as confirmation of the crap that they already believe about Barack Obama.

    July 14, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. Anita

    David Remnick is an expert on Russia and a fantastic writer, but he obviously is not a keen PR guy. The satire will NOT be blatant to many, and beyond that may reignite questions about Obama’s patriotism and religious affiliation. What were the satirist and Mr. Remnick thinking? What would Malcolm Gladwell, another writer at the New Yorker and someone of mixed background, say?

    July 14, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  14. Jim

    The editor of the New Yorker has the misconception that the majority of Americans have IQ's over 90. He needs to get out of NY and spend more time in small town America. George Bush did not get elected twice because of the overwhelming "smarts" displayed by middle America.

    July 14, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. Carol

    Great ART work ! Get real people. What's the saying – "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the fire" Senator McCain has takwn a lot of "hits" and you don't hear him crying " foul". Isn't Obama a liberal? The object was to sell a magazine people.

    July 14, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. John in Washington

    Seems like a non sequiter to me. Point out the inaccuracy of the portrayal through use of the same portrayal?

    I'm not particularly offended, but I believe the magazine fails to make their point.

    July 14, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  17. Barbara

    I don't understand the outrage. All I want to know is, can we order this cover design in poster size? I'd love one for my family room.

    July 14, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. Alfred - Sacramento, CA

    But isn't this already spread all over the internet for months? The New Yorker is only facing us all blatantly with our 'shy' thoughts of the Obamas despite some of us, may be small fraction, are in full agreement with the cover page.

    July 14, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. Ivan

    I would have never guessed it. McBush, the Gop, and The New Yorker Magazine. Goes to prove that you can't keep these swift-boaters down for good

    July 14, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. ANGIE

    the big deal is the way you threw it on the front page and how dramatic you made it look its tasteless anyone who just glances at it and doesnt read the article see the obamas just as fox news and the smearing gop have been doing you know he has been trying to fight these smears shame on you newyorker my friends are cancelling their subscriptions!!!!!!!!!

    July 14, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. Kim, Dallas, TX

    I just watched this on MSNBC and I can understand what he is saying and why they published this. However, I do think it was very tasteless. I also think you should look at the potential impact past what your specific agenda for publishing it is. The problem is that those who subscribe to the New Yorker understand their magazine and they are very sophisticated people; they know it was satirical. On the other hand, those with an agenda to push hatred and mistrust, the ignorant ones in our country, will buy into this magazine cover and use it as a means to exacerbate their hatred and racism. After reading many of these blogs it's easy to see that we do have much ignorance in our country. People who still think he is Moslem are certainly NOT informed. I don't know why I am surprised, our country did elect Bush twice.

    July 14, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. Jim

    David Remnick, you are an idiot.

    July 14, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. Brad

    "I think you underestimate the intelligence of the American people, to be quite honest"

    Quite the opposite. The problem is that it grossly overestimates the intelligence of the American people.

    July 14, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. Steve Ivins, Esq. Arlington

    The desire to portray Barack Obama in an unsavory light is driven by the persons (including Senator Joe Lieberman) who wish to see an American presense in the Middle East indefinitely.

    July 14, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Tasha from Houston, TX

    The New Yorker and this cover is disgusting. The editor should be fired. The cover is insensitive and only promotes division. Its pathetic.

    July 14, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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