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. nola

    Mr. Remnick,
    I think that you have lived in your little world too long – out in the world, ie West Virginia, Kentucky (where the voters did not vote for Obama because of what your cover illustrated) . Did you know that only 27% of the people living in the state of Kentucky have a college education and would thereby understand the cover. Did you know that the remaining individuals in Kentucky will embrace and believe that cover to be true.
    I know that the people that I have written about do not purchase your magazine but because the media has shown it over and over the magazine will be a big item. Not for the substance but just for the cover.

    I hope that you will do a reprint of this issue

    July 14, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Sharon

    What comes around goes around.

    July 14, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Ryan, New York, NY

    "I think it's outrageous that we have a cover that would depict racism, sexism, anti-religion, also anti-patriotism, and then on top of it to try to draw a conclusion that Mr. Obama has some sympathy towards terrorism, and all of those are depicted in this magazine cover with no explanation," Park said.

    Explanation...you mean like the article within the magazine.

    I'm a supporter of Obama and found nothing wrong with this cover. If we're going to criticize the New Yorker over this, where is the equivalent backlash over half of the things that Stephen Colbert says on a nightly basis? It's no different and I enjoy both forms of lampooning the morons who actually believe these things.

    July 14, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Cathy

    I can MAYBE…SLIGHTLY…TRY to understand the point The New Yorker was TRYING to make with the cover. Although I have heard the article is excellent in combating the misconceptions and lies of Barack Obama, the cover does not invite anyone but Obama's non-supporter to continue to make ignorant, unjustified and racist remarks to Obama’s campaign. It is just adds to the fire and flames of dumb statements about his patriotism, faith and childhood.

    The cover definitely sparked “buzz” but does NOT accomplish the “buzz” about the truth amongst all the lies the cover tastelessly portray.

    Try again New Yorker!!! I think you lost a lot of subscriptions today.

    July 14, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. Glenn, Cary, NC

    Hey. It's a joke. Don't you understand? It's a joke. If you think it's funny then it's a funny joke. If you don't think it's funny then it's an unfunny joke. But it's just a joke. The biggest problem I have with Obama is he's nowhere near ready to be a good president. The second biggest problem I have with Obama is nobody can criticize him or even joke about him without being attacked for racism or whatever. Personally, I value a sense of humor more than warmed-over rhetoric marketed as inspiration. So far he is the least criticized candidate for president since Reagan – and we all know how that worked out.

    July 14, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. Laura Chesvick

    I think this cover with the cartoon of Senator Obama and his wife is absolutely outrageous and totally disrespectful. I really do not understand why the editor of the Newyorker would put that on the cover of his magazine.

    July 14, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. Greg

    The magazine supports Obama so an attack on the magazine hits a supporter. Obama sure has some nutty friends.

    July 14, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. Women In California For Obama


    July 14, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. Robert Ladson

    The Cover of Senator Obama and his wife in The New Yorker should be a disgrace to any American in my opinion. Obvious the New Yorker is out of touch as to the direction of American society. The editor should be ashamed of himself and he is right, the American people are not dumb. His intent was to show exactly what the cover meant to do, make the Obama's to appear they are not for America.

    July 14, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. E

    This magazine is a disgrace. It is very offensive what they did. This magazine should be shut down asap. If I were the Obamas I would sue the magazine for every penney it's worth.

    July 14, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Rose Marie

    Considering how much Obama has been criticized, it is not satire. Instead it feeds directly into the misperceptions of which he has been accused. It is satire when it is widely recognized as being untrue. At this point, there are far too many people who will believe the cartoon depiction. Really poor judgment on the part of this editor. If he is supportive, Obama doesn't stand a chance.

    July 14, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |

    Mr. Remnick should NOT have to defend anything... This is his right, this is OUR right as Americans to speak what we feel... And ANYONE that wants to be the Commander and Chief of our Nation should in fact be well aware of this...

    Seems like Mr. Obama is not.

    If he wants to be my President, I would appreciate no more whining because it really makes us all look bad... We need strength for God sake not a baby... This comes with the job... He is fair game, his family is fair game that is just how it is, no matter if it is right or wrong, every President has had to take it and they have all simply shrugged it off... Why can't he?

    July 14, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. Littlesky

    Why are we sooooooo sensitive over Obama and the cartoon. It's ok to ridicule to the 10th grade over a blue dress, or age, or gender with cartoons but this is off the table. Poor Obama. Give us a break!

    July 14, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. s.positive

    The New Yorker will PAY for this.

    July 14, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. bob in L.A.

    On the surface, it may appear as a satyre to the well informed. But like so many other things in life it was ill-concieved in reality.
    Those who have not taken the time to find out about Obama for themselves and rely on gossip and the internet blogsdfor all of thier news will see this and take it to heart.
    Intelligent people would never serious look at these images and take them seriously, would they? Ask the Jews and the blacks in Germany is 1937.
    Bad call New Yorker.

    July 14, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. pam Eugene OR

    The cover was humorless and in very poor taste.

    July 14, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Venus

    Tastless! Ha,ha,haaaaaa! It backfires

    July 14, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Sandra

    I think the New Yorker's satirical point could have been made without adding such despicable visual imagery. I have seen their other covers and do not agree that they have depicted any other President or potential President in this way.

    July 14, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. Griff

    You have a right to an opinion, Mr... I.L.N.Y..

    July 14, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  20. Delegate from California

    Freedom of Speech people, get over it...

    July 14, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Huckleberry

    Great cover!!! The truth hurts.

    July 14, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  22. James Smith

    Don Imus said his statement was satire too

    July 14, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  23. debbie dutra

    it hurts poor little obama because its true abd the truth hurts doesn't
    it. he is a liar and his wife is a B
    debbie dutra

    July 14, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. Obama 08'

    All the New Yorker had to do was read some of the blogs on this site and they could see that there are lots of Ignorant, uneducated, uninformed people that will not take the time to investiagate the information but take this cover as a justification of their right wing veiws

    July 14, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  25. dll

    I am not so sure this is a bad thing. Sure the right wing utilize the image without any subtext or context, but for the first time the national media will talk about and debunk some of the most insidious rumors that have been spread since Senator Obama began to run.

    I am a fan of the New Yorker. At first, my visceral response was, "Oh, no. Here we go.!" As a "thinking" human being, I get it! While I am not ready to defend the New Yorker completely, I thank them for allowing this issue to come to the forefront of the campaign early in the campaign season.

    July 14, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
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