July 15th, 2008
09:10 AM ET
6 years ago

New Yorker editor defends Obama cover

CNN

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. One

    YOU WOULD NEVER DO THIS TO ANYBODY RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT...YOU CROSSED THE LINE! MICHELLE DOES NOT WEAR AN AFRO...THIS IS INSULT TO ALL AFRICAN WOMEN. YOU THINK IT IS FUNNY...HAVE YOUR FUN BUT THERE IS A LIMIT TO EVERTHING WE DO!!! OBAMA IS NOT A CRY BABY...JUST STOP INSULTING PEOPLE'S RACE, RELIGION AND PATRIOTISM...NOT SATTIRE!!!!

    YOU'D NEVER DO THIS TO ANY OTHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE!

    July 14, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. Janet WV for Obama

    Really, BROOKLYN, whining? The cover was one of the most offensive things most Americans have ever seen! People all over the country are furious. Obama, himself did not comment on it. Anyone with half a brain would find it offensive. That leaves you out!

    July 14, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  3. TerryDo

    I personally loved the cover, if the Obama cannot take an exaggerated cartoon of themselves they are overly sensitive, besides how far is it from the truth?

    And as far as the Obama and his supporter who are calling for a boycott of the liberal-leaning magazine The New Yorker, they should not worry, PumaPac is calling on all of America to boycott Obama as in do not vote for Obama in the General Election.

    Just Say No Deal is calling on the DNC to place Hillary R. Clinton's name on The First Roll Call at the Denver Convention...

    July 14, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  4. Jean

    WHO IS NEXT?????????

    July 14, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  5. Dr. Vincent Petrosino

    Mr. Brooklyn,
    As one born in Brooklyn, New York as you seem to be, let me "school" you since it is evident yoiu know little about politics. Obama IS NOT whining. He has made no comment. He has moved on as he did with Jesse Jackson's infamous remarks. But the editorial board of the New Yorker must know that most people do not read but they do look at pictures. This is why news broadcasts are so popular. This is where the majority of Americans get their info from. The New yorker is a well-respected magazine whose tasteless cover feeds into ignorance, prejudice and bias. If they truly wanted to point out the ludicrous lies told about the Obamas then the cartoon should have been accompanied by a banner reading "Only ignorant, racist and willfully uninformed Americans would believe this."

    July 14, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  6. ShirleyY - Seattle

    BROOKLYN – I AM NOT SURE OF YOUR RACE, BUT YOU MUST NOT BE BLACK TO ACCEPT SOMETHING SO CRUEL AND EVIL. I AM SURE YOU WAIT LATE AT NIGHT AND PUT YOUR WHITE HOOD ON AND GO FIND A BLACK PERSON TO HANG. BROOKLYN, YOU DONT EVEN EXIST, YOU ARE LOWER THAN DIRT. WOULD YOU LIKE SOMEONE TO TALK ABOUT YOU IN THIS MANNER, NO YOU WOULD NOT, BUT SINCE HE IS BLACK, YOU THINK IT'S OKAY.

    IT'S NOT, YOU IDIOT.

    July 14, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. ELL

    Daid Remnick you are a jerk, very distasteful!

    July 14, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. BB

    Have the Obama people forgotten the hatchet jobs done on the Clintons, the Bushes, etc? When you are in the public eye, every one
    if fair game. Remember: If you can't take the heat...........

    July 14, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  9. PaulC

    Crude and very uncalled for. Did McCain buy stock in the magazine?
    The New Yorker deserves any percussions. I for one will cancel my subscription and avoid this magazine.

    July 14, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. Moira in Toronto

    The right of free speech and bad taste are two very different things. They should not be confused. The New Yorker has chosen to be known for bad taste alone by publishing such a cover. Without the context Mr Remnick suggests, this cartoon is nothing more than a demonization of the Obamas. What is satire in its " ultimate " form ? Perhaps more Clinton sour grapes.

    July 14, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. Erika, KS

    I agree with Brooklyn. Obama cries foul all the time. Maybe it was tasteless, but so what? Here in America we have that little thing called freedom of speech. Obama is fair game. We all should be exposed to the real Obama and how he would handle obstacles such as this. He'll cry "racist" like he always has, wait and see.

    July 14, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  12. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    If you have to go on national television and explain, what you meant. Then the majority of the people didn't get the message.

    Brooklyn; Obama had a no comment. How is that whining?

    The cover was in bad taste and people like you took it to mean, just what they intended for it to mean.

    And Carville, is of the clinton camp. He was just glad that it wasn't Billary.

    July 14, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. sarah

    obama should send this guy a thank you note since the obama camp seems to run on whining that someone is hateful because the ONE is black, demanding an apology once a week, or wagging his finger at someone who dared to exercise their constitutional right to free speech. obama needs start acting like a grown up and stop whining all the time that "people" hate him because he is " different". but i guess any free press is a good thing huh?

    July 14, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. Jam

    Well you can't have it both ways Brooklyn, you are not making any sense...New Yorer just lost a subscriber in me is all....oh well, c'est la vie....

    July 14, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  15. BlackMan4Mac

    I think the cover represents many Americans' veiws, including me and my family. If the shoe fits, wear it. HAHAHAHA !!! Him and many of those that worship him ARE the enemy of this nation. That is all there is to it. Radicals are not welcome in my country.

    July 14, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. jonathan

    They are absolutely correct in using that cover;
    it is an IRONIC reaction to the racist foolishness, waged by the right wing christians to use LIES and FEAR in influencing voters to support the ULTRA CORRUPT REPUBLICANS and the useless facade known as John McCain.

    July 14, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  17. Liam 1982

    I saw McCain on the cover of "BedPans Daily" and he was doing a fist bump with Wilfred Brimley.

    July 14, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  18. TYER

    CARVILLE WOULD SUPPORT IT...NEWS? MCCAIN WAS LIED ABOUT BY THE NYT HE DENIED IT AND CASE WAS CLOSED...OBAMA HAS PUT OUT THE TRUTH ABOUT HIMSELF BUT THEY HAVE DEFIED HIS CALL AND CONTINUE TO HAMMER IN THE LIES...THIS IS HATRED!

    July 14, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  19. Joe

    It's brilliant.

    July 14, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  20. jonathan

    The New Yorker was never for people who need irony spelled out for them and over explained.

    July 14, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. Angry

    What an aweful judgement call, would you put your mother in that picture and still think it was funny!! That was rascist and it will offend alot of people! May God give you better judgement in future articles if any.

    July 14, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. Miranda

    I don't think the problem is that Obama is whining about a cartoon. The problem is no other presidential candidate, to my knowledge, has been depicted in this manner. I don't remember any white presidential candidates being depicted in a KKK outfit or any other thing. It is disrespectful and offensive. Yes we have freedom of speech, but the more and more I see and hear things like this it just shows that racism is alive and well and people's true colors are showing through.

    July 14, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  23. juan bobo

    The Faux News Channel and others are making outrageous statements about Obama every day.
    This cover is an indictment of that nonsense. I think it will have the intended effect- shining a spotlight on and holding up a mirror to these idiots.

    July 14, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. Voter

    I guess The New Yorker is a little too sophisticated for Obama and his friends.

    July 14, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  25. Roger from CA

    Brooklyn: You miss your own point by criticism those who speak out against the New Yorker cover.... They are only "speak[ing] what we feel." Freedom of speech is NOT freedom to say whatever you want without being criticized!

    This cover is an attempt at satire, but a failed attempt. Mr. Remnick errs in comparing the New Yorker to "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report." No one is confused that the latter are satirical works. And in viewing those shows, you are absorbing the entire creative context that establishes the program as satire. The New Yorker cover, on the other hand, requires reading the accompanying article to "get" the satirical point. That doesn't happen when it is seen on a newsstand, or when it travels around the Internet as a jpeg.

    July 14, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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