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. Nancy

    So now Barack has to fight the Clintons, the GOP and the New Yorker? He's got my vote.

    July 14, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. Matt, Canoga Park

    It's all part of the job Barack. Learn to take the good with the bad. Not everyone has to goosestep along with you. It's called freedom of speech. Learn it and love it even if you don't like it.

    July 14, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Kobe, LA

    Mr. Remnick: Admit your mistake and step down!

    July 14, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. Phil

    As the gatekeeper of taste, David fell asleep on the job. It's a sad, sad day.

    July 14, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. H-ROD


    July 14, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. bimmer

    Nopthing wrong with then cover..

    If obama gets offended by this, so be it.

    He is known to be one who befriened a terrorist.

    If I am patriotic, I would never socialize with someone who wants to harm Americans. People chose their friendships and church.

    July 14, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. Mike

    "The best laid plans of mice and men...."

    As I have often noticed, The New Yorker out smarted itself.
    Rather than take a hard look at media, divisive politics and
    stereotypes they over blow a cover and spend all their time
    backing up a stupid decision.
    For this to be so news worthy strikes me as kind of silly
    but I guess that is due to the quality of our journalist's training
    and willingness to sell out to tabloid style journalism.


    July 14, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. laura, CA

    Get over it...has everyone gotten so sensitivie that even a liberal publication can't point out the current nature of American politics as it attacks it's most liberal candidate?
    In this climate of fear and guilt, divisiveness is the exact leverage that the cover seeks to use.

    Me thinks some people need to re-familiarize themselves with defining the word "satire."

    This outrage is stupid.

    July 14, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. Jenna

    Hey, are we not allowed now to joke? How many jokes such as that have past presidents been subjected too. Bush was satired as Sadaam, I did not see him crying about it. Freedom of speech and expression, Obama stands for none of that. That includes the right to bear arms.

    July 14, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. Ron

    I like the way the media justifies the New Yorker cover by saying thats the the New Yorker is it is confrontational views, So does that mean that Archie Bunker is no longer a bigot becasuse that is just the way Archie is confrontational? The cover is very offensive no matter how you try to spin it. There is no underlying satyr about it is pure defamaition of the Obamas.

    July 14, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. Rise America Rise

    Its amazing how people do something wrong and still try to rationalize it. Maybe they will do a cover next of John McCain in a nursing home, holding a soldier of fortune magazine, while calling his wife a you-know-what. Nah, we should all just boycott The New Yorker, much easier.

    July 14, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. Timber (ex dem)

    Obamabots are able to dish it out, but not able to take it!!It is satire for God's sake! If it was Hillary, they would be fine with it. The "new" Democratic party at it's finest.

    July 14, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. MM

    Many posts about "free speech". The New Yorker does has the right to publish that cover. And the public has a right to react to it and call it tasteless if they want. I personally think it is rather clever but do worry about those folks that won't look past the cover and actually read the article.

    July 14, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  14. Lindy in Oregon

    I don't see Senator Obama "whining" about this at all. I believe his only comment was "I will not comment on this."

    Although I don't like the cover, I can see the "satire" in it. However, because it was a cover, it would have been better to have added in bold print – "Are lies going to decide this election?" THAT would have explained the satire in the cartoon.

    July 14, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  15. Terry

    As a retired military member I fully support free speech and i understand satire, but I think the New Yorker cover is just plain racist! Most Americans won't read the story and I am convinced the new yorker meant to hurt Obama.

    July 14, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. anton

    I think it's funny that the Obama campaign is making such a big fuss over nothing. Should Obama be elected President, he and his family will see a lot more and probably worse of this type of cartoon satire.

    Grow up, you're a public figure now, game for anything and everything and please don't use the racist card. It's getting very tiresome.

    July 14, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. BV

    Capt Kirk
    Go back to the Star Ship..you haven't a clue.

    July 14, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  18. Listen Up...

    I get it, yes it's funny. BUT, there are too many people...specifically the demographic the New Yorker is targeting who will see this cover, snap their fingers and say I KNEW IT!

    July 14, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. Maxine

    This is sicking and in bad taste. Just think if this was one of your family member running for President New Yorker Magazine done this. This is so unfair this magazine is in my view is rated low as ZERO

    July 14, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  20. New Yucker

    Dear Stupid,

    We get it, but it's still NOT funny.

    Obama 08

    July 14, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Renee, DC

    Here is WHY this cover is SO offensive, demeaning and hurtful. African Americans are the ONLY race of people whose greatest injustices came at the hands of AMERICANS. Additionally, they were brought here and stripped of their dignity, heritage, and for MANY their lives, AGAINST their will. I’m disheartened, dismayed and disgusted every time i hear them constantly being told to GET over it.
    Here is a question for ALL.. Would we ever tell the relatives (immediate or extended) of Nicole Brown Simpson, Adam Walsh, Brooke Bennett , just to name a few to “GET OVER IT” cause it’s “JUST A JOKE”.

    July 14, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Kathy

    It is way past anything appropriate for a Presidential Candidate and his wife. They should pull the magazine and apologize to them and us for this distasteful picture.

    July 14, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. Rise America Rise

    Hey Brooklyn, freedom of speech doesn't mean there are no consequences to that speech, just that there are no criminal consequences. The campaign of almost president-elect Obama is free to vocalize their thoughts on the magazine cover too, unless you thought freedom of speech only applied to the new yorker and you?

    July 14, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. Yuck

    Boycott the New Yucker.


    July 14, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. JA, Melbourne Australia

    Concentrate on what matters would you all.

    July 14, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
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