The Newsweek Cover That Wasn't: Obama in a Hoodie

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Newsweek has been making a name for itself with a string of newly salacious cover images, but not all the provocative ideas end up in print, as editor Tina Brown explained in a video on Newsweek's Tumblr. In the wake of Trayvon Martin's shooting, after President Obama said, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," Brown says they designed a cover featuring the president in a hoodie, but didn't run it. It's interesting to hear just where the woman who put a gay halo over Obama's head, a crazy glint in Michele Bachmann's eye, and a hipster jacket on Jesus's shoulder actually draws the line. Brown explains: 

And I had to ask myself: how would I feel if this image was used in some kind of hate speech context? How would I feel if this image of the president in a hoodie wasn't taken to be an ironic statement about what he himself had said, but was in fact appearing on the T-Shirts of white supremacists? And I thought it was dangerous, so I didn't do it. But I had a lot of agony about it, because I thought it was a great cover.

Having written and received comments here about Newsweek's Obama cover that did see the light of day, the one with the "First Gay President" headline with a rainbow halo over his head, we can say her fears that an image might provoke anger are well founded. Watch her talk about the non-cover over at Newsweek's Tumblr. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.