July 14th, 2008
09:30 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama camp calls New Yorker cover 'tasteless and offensive'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/14/art.cover.ny.jpg
caption="The New Yorker magazine says its latest cover is just satire."]

(CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign has sharply criticized The New Yorker magazine over the publication's latest cover illustration that appears to portray the Illinois senator and his wife, Michelle, as terrorist enemies of the United States.

Specifically, the cover, published Sunday, shows Obama in the Oval Office dressed in traditional Muslim attire and Michelle with an "Afro" hairstyle carrying a machine gun. An American flag can also be seen burning in the fire place and a picture of Osama bin Laden hangs on the wall.

Watch: Journalists debate the New Yorker Cover

"The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement.

"But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."

John McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said he agreed with Burton's sentiment.

iReport.com: Satire or slander? Share your thoughts

Obama himself refused to comment on the illustration Sunday.

Full story

soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. Belle

    I also thought Obama's comments about baseless charges of flip flopping to be extremely funny....one only has to listen to his speech, the check his voting record to see he is indeed a flip flopper, all wrapped up in "flexibility."

    July 14, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. Karmo

    Obama needs to toughen his skin, like everybody else does when they choose, in accordance with the rights afforded all Americans, to put themselves in the public eye - and therefore, out there for public scrutiny and commentary. We are the land of the free and that includes many rights, including journalistic latitude (The New Yorker) and even the right to disagree.

    If Hillary Clinton had screamed and kicked each time she was the (not always positive) subject of a political cartoon, cover, joke, or comment, she would have been accused of wimpy feminine behavior unbecoming to a presidential candidate.

    If the Obamas can't stand the heat, they need to get out of the kitchen.

    July 14, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. Kris K

    I tried to contact the New Worker directly and the web site is disabled and the phone just rings. They make a HUGE mistake. This is criminal. It is wrong and the editor should be fired for poor judgement. Nobody thinks it is satire or humorous. It is about as bad as it gets. The credibility of the New Yorker just dropped-permanently.

    July 14, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. Ms C

    Some of the people in this country-will never except anything good from a black person, sad but soooooooooo true.

    July 14, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  5. Hillbilly for Barack

    If it weren't for the fact that the majority of Americans are mindless and ignorant, this might be an appropriate satire of the right wing kooks who paint this false image of Obama. However, the New Yorker's decision to use this image will only confuse the fools who already believe this to be true because they read it on the internet in one of the many false and defamatory emails circulating about Obama. I get it, but most people won't ... then again, most of them will have never heard of the New Yorker until Fox News brings them this headline in ther usual slanderous and misleading way.

    Barack is not the answer, but he is a step in the right direction.

    July 14, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |

    this is so the mcshame camp
    no hillary did not get this treatment
    this is a insult to all people to think we have such demented news garbage out there to just humilliate another american. how unamerican is this

    cnn please post this

    July 14, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. Hawke


    So it's ok for Bernie Mack to crack a joke insulting all women at an official Obama fundraiser and after the presumptuous nominee feigns disapproval, he says He's just 'messing with him, but the New Yorker satarizing Obama is off-limits?

    Give me a break.

    I think it's a riot.

    July 14, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Eric

    Maybe Don Imus should WRITE his tasteless joke about nappy headed hos insted of say them. It sounds to me like that make a difference.

    July 14, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. Another old white woman for Obama

    Unfortunately, this cover will do exactly what it was intended to do.
    With rampant lies and misinformation being emailed and printed in these blogs, it is apparent that most people do not read past the headlines and believe what they see. This is a blatant attack on Barrack Obama by this rag of a mag. For CNN to even print it will bring out the haters and racists and add fuel to the many ignorant people who will believe anything negative on him. Why? Because they want to believe it. Shame on you New Yorker and CNN. How much did the Rep party pay you for this? They and you are filth.

    July 14, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  10. s for obama

    Wow wow wow media!!!!!!!!!!!! bravo!!!!!!!!!! you did it again!!!!!

    New York mag. you got your attention again!!

    I don't know if it is going to work though.

    You are making us learn more about Obama and it is still Obama.

    Please try to come up with something that is going to make us hate him. Right now whatever you are doing is not working.

    July 14, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. Marc, NV

    Does the truth hurt? Remember–he who protests the most, has the most to hide. If you want to be in the limelight, you should get a thicker skin, Hussein.

    July 14, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  12. floridian

    Unfortunately, there are some Americans that believe what the cover reflects. So, instead of Sen. Obama commenting directly to the cover and NOT further upsetting that group you have the other guy, Sen. McCain, who would presumably get that group's votes, commenting and "turning off" that group. What a weird campaign this is and what each of the candidate's are doing is full of surprises. Why don't we just stop being sensitive to the trash that will continue and just let the chips fall and ignore them. Why do the candidates have to comment all the time about such things? They have limited time and need to be doing other things.

    July 14, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  13. Nick

    This cover is actually funny to me. For those you don't yet know, whatever God has for Obama and his family, no one will be able to take away. You can slander his name, make fun of his family, try scare tactics, say he is "exotic" (code word for black) And at the end of the day all of those things won't matter if God's plan is for him to be president.

    Good luck trying!

    Obama '08

    July 14, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  14. War

    I don't know, after sooo many years their is so much racism and hate some people are weird or insecure ...Obama 08.

    July 14, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. not an obamabot, thank GOD

    people get offended so easy, maybe just maybe we "whine" just alittle to much about little things.

    July 14, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. Barack Uda

    I wasn't influenced by the politics of fear in the two previous elections. I'm so proud of myself for being able to laugh at this.

    July 14, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Ted

    The reason that this is so offensive is that a lot of people will see this as truth, not satire. While liberals may see this as lampooning of the right, the opportunists and bigots on the right will use this as proof that they've been correct about Obama all along. The cover enforces the malicious rumors. This will be a poster in every GOP field office until November.

    July 14, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. jane in CA

    They can surely keep their copies of magazine for souvenir this time.

    July 14, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. Kobs

    Outright racist
    Why not Mccain pouring agent orange on Veitnam and being imprisoned and saying mission accomplishzd like his body.
    Very low and I think we deserve better after the UN crowned the sanitation worker those thinking or taking etitlements should know better !!!
    The world ie change and for the better so please do not take us backwards.

    July 14, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. HopeMonger in NYC

    I believe in free speech and I also believe in speaking through my pocketbook. This is one New Yorker that will no longer be subscirbing to the New Yorker. Unfortunately, with so much ignorance out there, I believe the "satire" will be lost on many. I believe to perpetuate and play into these fears increases the dangers for me as a New Yorker and as an American. I find it to be in extremely bad taste.

    July 14, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. Moderate Republican Supporting Obama

    This cover is utterly foolish and whatever "good intentions" were meant by the New Yorker, I think the point will be completely lost on those who are just drooling for a reason to substantiate their irrational prejudice against Obama.

    July 14, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. Michael

    "Obama spent 1/2 his life outside the USA, he is not a complete American."

    So do I and I work for the US goverment. Does this make me an incomplete American? You sir are a moron and if that is the best your right wingers have this election should be a slam dunk for Obama.

    July 14, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  23. Reality for a change

    It may intended to be satirical lampoon, but it comes in the midst of the Obama campaign trying to clarify much of the slander and lies created by the right to muddy up whats truth and what are lies.

    It’s obvious what their intensions are, and it IS in bad taste. Not for the "buzz" they’re trying to create, but more so for the confusion that many will actually buy into. I for one (and I’m sure there will be many others ) will no longer buy or read the new yorker.

    July 14, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. vic nashville,Tn

    Nothing wrong on this cover Obama must stop whining or quit the politics
    Carton lover

    July 14, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  25. What if?

    Since this is JUST satin......Ops,.........sorry satire. Looks like satin will be happy with this scare tactic New York Times.

    'tasteless and offensive' that is so TRUE Obama camp.......Just another try at fooling and freighting the American people to vote for McSame. Who ever thought this was OK, needs to seek professional help ASAP. I guess McCain and his wife pictured will be next month feature on the cover, I hope they make sure when they are just satire/joking the people responsible for this one make sure they include Mrs. McCain running behind prescription pills that are flying in the mid air, several botox needles in her hands and McSame counting the money out of beer cans that his wife company saved after 100’s lose their jobs.

    SOMEONE AT THE NEW YORK TIMES, SHOULD BE BROUGHT UP ON CHARGES FOR HAVING A PITCURE THAT SHOW BURING OUR FLAG, such desperation, bad and immoral acts that is just satire. If this is the way they show their love of our County, by burning our flag,
    This is what OUR CHILDREN should think this is the way to show Patriotism from The New York TIme.

    Obama and his wife are not these kind of people, after reading this I think the New York TIme should check for a mole inside their family of employee's.................

    July 14, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
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