Over the top and totally unacceptable. That is the only response that every American citizen should have in response to the actual cover for one major magazine now on the stands, and the proposed cover for an equally prominent publication.
The bloodied and bandaged faces of Mitt Romney, President Obama, and Newt Gingrich are not representative of how this nation conducts elections, or how transitions of government take place. While politics is rough and tumble, as it always has been from the first days of our nation, the two pictures only allow for the worst of our current divided government to come pouring forth.
There are deep feelings on each side of the aisle, but everyone knows that there is a process by which this nation decides elections and policy directions. I find the tone and imagery of these two pictures despicable and unforgivable. Though the story is about smear campaigns there is no way to justify the images or the underlying message.
“New York” magazine published their cover, Bloomberg did not. However, I find the idea of such a cover ever being contemplated almost as deplorable as what “New York” actually published.
There comes a time in our national discourse when we need to take a deep breath and step back from the brink.
I wish there was at least one more magazine editor in the nation who had come to that conclusion.
It depicts Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, photoshopped to look bloody and beaten (with a similarly injured but much smaller Newt Gingrich headshot sandwiched between them in the background), to illustrate Joe Hagan’s feature about “The Dark Art of the Political Smear.” (The headline inside the magazine and on the web calls it “The Coming Tsunami of Slime.”)
Also circulating online today was a recent Bloomberg Businessweek cover that never made it to the printer. “funny seeing @NYMag cover this week…2 weeks ago we killed this cover,” Businessweek creative director Richard Turley tweeted this afternoon, along with a photo of his spiked Romney art.
This image likewise depicts a swollen and bloody-faced Romney, looking as if he just got jumped by a pack of angry Gingrich supporters. It was posted to the Businessweek design department’s Flickr account with the caption “Killed Romney Cover.”
“Each week we design a few cover possibilities for the upcoming issue,” Businessweek editor-in-chief Josh Tyrangiel told us through a spokesperson via email.
“We see where the news is going and make a final decision about the image on Wednesday afternoon,” he said. “Two weeks ago (January 16 issue, on stands January 13) we had two great pieces in the magazine: Ashlee Vance’s profile of Steve Ballmer and his efforts to reboot Microsoft, and Peter Coy’s Opening Remarks about how the GOP had turned on Mitt Romney and Private Equity. In the end, we went with Ballmer since the Romney story seemed to have already hit its peak. A lot of times these decisions are about all of us putting our finger in the air and trying to figure out which way the zeitgeist is blowing. It’s what makes the job so fun and so challenging.”