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. Irene

    Fair is fair, New Yorker.........Let's see another tasteless and offensive cover.....

    This time with John and Cindy McCain being "satirized". Lord knows, you will not have much work coming up with "subject matter"!

    July 14, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  2. L. R.

    I imagine that there would not be such an uproar had the images depicted Mr. and Mrs. Bush. Nevertheless, whether in poor taste or just plain lack of discretion, making too much of a deal out of this thing is a disregard free speech and will simply bring more attention to it (which is obviously what they wanted to begin with)!

    July 14, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. Liz

    As an Independent voter the article shows Obama a bit of a snake. After reading Michelle Obama's Princeton thesis her illustration is spot on.

    July 14, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  4. Saad from NJ

    This kind of stuff should simply by ignored or just laughed about. Because it will not make a difference to those who will vote for Obama based on his policy and agenda and it will indeed not a make a difference to those whose are against Obama no matter what he says or does.

    July 14, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. ARB

    who cares.....it's just a satire....its not supposed to be offensive....i think its funnier than hell to be honest.

    July 14, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  6. RR

    Racism is alive and well!

    July 14, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. Mark G

    Absolutely disgusting. I cannot believe that such characterizations were drawn with the sole intent of it being satire. Imaging the Obamas as terrorists and enemies of the US is completely irresponsible and malicious. And even, if as one comment stated...he spent time outside of the US...that makes him a terrorist and an enemy??? No wonder Anti-American sentiment is at an all time high...but then we don't care about such things do we.

    July 14, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. allison

    How does spending 4 years abroad in ones entire life(46 years) make anyone un american. John mc cain spent 5 years abroad as a POW so by your very own logic John Mc cain is more un american than obama.

    July 14, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    The New Yorker.............what a scumbag newspaper?!... worthless as my dog pooh!

    this kind of article & cartoons divides us and do not elevate the discuss on how to solve the critical issues that affects us as nation!

    one more hack job from the right-leaning bigot newspaper; instead of talking about the issues....they will want to smear & attack an honorable man – the next president of the United States – Barack Obama!

    July 14, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. FEDUP

    This illustrates the opinion some people have regarding the Obamas. The statements Michelle has made about this country, attending a racist church for 20 years, one might get the idea they are not what they want people to believe they are. Now if Obama only had on a pair of flip-flops, instead of sandals..Barack Hussein Obama, This is just the beginning, get ready for the onslaught. It only takes a few of these types of caricatures to sink a candidate.

    July 14, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. oh well

    The cover is great, the Obama campaign should take it as is and for what it is. The intention is to make fun at the media and the ridiculous and sometimes absurd coverage on the viewa of the Senator from Illinois. They should not be so quick to judge and take the reality of what it may cost him the Whitehouse and use it in their advantage to win.

    July 14, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. Mom from Arizona

    Can someone please tell me what is John McCain's religion? Where does he attend church? Who is his pastor?

    I am a christian (republican) but cannot vote for someone who is not a christian. At least people accuse Obama for being a Muslum. Thats ssomething... what is Mccain?

    Where is Mike Huckabee

    July 14, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Karen in Jacksonville Florida

    Ignorance is bliss.

    Obama 08

    July 14, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. michigan voter

    Tasteless, Tasteless, Tasteless...The new yorker should be ashamed of puting something of this calliber of hate, whether satirical or not, it's not funny. With every Senator Obama has had to endure this campaign season, this just makes me sick. The media has shown a huge bias against the democratic candidates this election cycle, leacing John McFlipFlop basically unscathed for the entire process...why are these "whiner" remarks being blown out of proportion like bittergate, or Hagey like Wright, or McSames continual memory lapses and forgetfullness of his own policies.

    The American people will not stand for this open discrimination any longer, too much is at stake this year!

    July 14, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. Joe the Troll

    People who believe the stupid lies about Obama that are making the rounds are not going to see this as a lampooning of their beliefs, but a justification of them. Cheap tactic, New Yorker. What, did a major corporation threaten to pull some ads?

    July 14, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. M. E. Gantt

    No real American in his right mind (or left for that matter) would vote for this individual. The cover is not far-fetched (also not right or left)...

    July 14, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. Will D.

    Reminds me of when FoxNews kept saying- 'It's probably not a good idea for anyone to use Barack's middle name HUSSEIN'... Well they kept saying it over and over in the guise of questioning if it was proper or not, by that time- "PERCEPTION CREATED and MISSION ACCOMPLISHED". Despite the New Yorker's attempt at addressing Obama's media distortion by the right wing media, this has a similar overtone to it. "RE-ENFORCEMENT of already created DISTORTION". This is very much the same.

    July 14, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. Charlotte

    Tim, quit whinning..go donate more of your hard earned dollars to Obama, it'll make you feel better.

    July 14, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. Walter

    Ha Ha, about time someone finally took a jab at the EVIL Democratic candidate and his EVIL Wife. What now editors can't utilize their free speech rights...All the Obama whiners are thinking this is an attack on their precious little boy. Waaa get over it. The New Yorker put into a cartoon what a lot of TRUE Americans think of OBAMA and HIS WIFE. Only the ignorant think that a cartoon will derail a candidates chances of getting elected but yet one could only hope. If so then the caricature of Muhammed should have derailed a lot of terrorist activity and disillusioned a lot of that prophets followers, guess what didn't happen so why the big uproar about a presidential candidate and his wife dressed as they such a big to do? Because the big crybaby Democrats and Obamabots don't like their golden child being pot shotted. GET A FRAGGIN LIFE.

    July 14, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  20. Fay Tx

    The New Yorker it is tasteless and offensive

    July 14, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |


    July 14, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. katiec

    Very tasteless. Additional proof the media, magazines are run
    and owned by the far right. Is Murdock on their board of
    directors too? Who knows, he may own the magazine.
    Satire is fine if not so harmful. To support such a biased rumor
    (which some idiots actually believe) does not show any
    integrity on the magazines part.
    Don't know what the article says and will never know as
    would not support this magazine by purchasing it.

    July 14, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. Linda K.

    I understand what The New Yorker was trying to do here, but they missed the mark. This cartoon plays too deeply into the existing prejudices.

    I also found this cartoon offensive as an American Muslim. My husband occasionally dresses like the caricature in this cartoon, but we don't carry guns, burn the flag, or engage in other terrorist activities. Like most other Americans, we pay our taxes, raise our kids, and shop around for the best deals to help our family budget.

    To JohnBoy: Obama spent a few years in Indonesia as a child. It was nothing close to "half his life." McCain has spent nearly half of his presidential campaign overseas but, hey, that's his choice.

    July 14, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. John, Brooklyn, New York

    The New Yorker is ABOUT satire – and it is satirizing the right wing media. Sadly, the haters outt here have attemnpted to smear Senator Obama that, unfortunately, he seems to have had to over-react to what is intended tob e a joke. Shame on the Republicans!

    July 14, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  25. L

    Obama is a shady character who rose to ranks in chicago on a very dodgy path. He is being vetted now and most americans are starting to realise this and really am really hopeful now that he wont be in the whitehouse. If he ever does (god forbid) he is never going to have an easy ride because people just dont trust him. I think Sean Hannity will see his ratings go through the roof as he's the only person game enough to speak out about Barack.

    July 14, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
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