Obama: New Yorker Cover ‘Tasteless and Offensive’

July 14, 2008 Updated: October 1, 2015

PRESIDENT OBAMA? Taleb Alkardai holds up a copy of the New Yorker magazine cover showing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama dressed as a Muslim and his wife as a terrorist at his midtown newsstand on Monday.(Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
PRESIDENT OBAMA? Taleb Alkardai holds up a copy of the New Yorker magazine cover showing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama dressed as a Muslim and his wife as a terrorist at his midtown newsstand on Monday.(Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
Barack Obama isn’t laughing this week. Not at The New Yorker Magazine anyway.

The Illinois senator’s campaign is up in arms over a picture in the New Yorker Magazine portraying Obama and his wife as terrorists.

The cover of the New Yorker's July 21 issue shows an illustration of Obama wearing a turban and robe fist bumping his wife, who sports military garb, an afro, and an AK-47 slung over her shoulder. In the background is the Oval Office, where a picture of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden hangs above a burning American flag.

Drawn by artist Barry Blitt, the picture was meant to illustrate an article titled “The Politics of Fear.” According to a press release from The New Yorker, the picture was meant to "satirize the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama's campaign."

However, Obama’s campaign did not see eye to eye with the magazine. It took the publication of the picture as a summary of a number of smear allegations made in the past year. The campaign had tried hard in the past year to downplay various allegations made on Obama’s background and does not find the magazine’s portrayal amusing.

"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,” said Obama’s campaign spokesman Bill Burton. “But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

In an interview with the Huffington Post, The New Yorker editor David Remnick defended the magazine’s choice to publish the picture.

“Obviously I wouldn’t have run a cover just to get attention — I ran the cover because I thought it had something to say,” said Remnick. “What I think it does is hold up a mirror to the prejudice and dark imaginings about Barack Obama's — both Obamas' — past, and their politics.”

Obama’s rival Republican nominee John McCain was also quick to condemn the publication. McCain told reporters in Phoenix, Ariz. that the picture was “totally inappropriate” and believes “Obama and his supporters would find it offensive."

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