'First gay president' cover stirs buzz

2012-05-15 08:40

Washington - Newsweek made no apologies on Monday for anointing Barack Obama as "the first gay president" on its cover this week, matching its rival Time in terms of online buzz.

It depicted Obama with an angelic rainbow halo just days after Obama became the first sitting president of the United States ever to come out in favour of same-sex marriage.

"Obama's earned every stripe in this haloed rainbow," said Tina Brown, editor of Newsweek and its online counterpart The Daily Beast, on her Twitter account.

White House press secretary Jay Carney, asked what Obama thought about the cover, said on Monday: "I don't know if he's seen it and I haven't spoken to him about it."

Newsweek's cover followed Time's jaw-dropping cover photo of a Los Angeles mother nursing her 3-year-old son aside the headline "Are you mom enough?" for a feature on so-called "attachment parenting".

"I do understand why Time chose this picture because ... it did create such a media craze to get the dialogue talking," the mother, Jamie Lynne Grumet, told NBC's Today programme.

Several versions of cover

Time claims a total print circulation of 3.3 million, just over double Newsweek's 1.5 million - and both titles have been struggling to sustain their newsstand sales, which hinge in large part on a given cover's impact.

Newsweek executive editor Justine Rosenthal, speaking in a video on its website, said the magazine had another cover story in the works, but ditched it "after Obama 'came out', not to coin a phrase", last Wednesday.

Several versions of the cover image were considered, including one with Obama "holding a married [same-sex] couple like a wedding cake", she said.

The online edition of PR News, a public relations trade journal, noted how Newsweek had been trying to create a "#firstgaypresident" hashtag trend on Twitter - something that would send more traffic to its website.

"Rival publications trying to one-up each other with provocative covers is nothing new, but Newsweek's Obama cover is too obvious a publicity-seeking ploy, and smells of desperation from old media," it said.

It noted, however, that Time had sold more online subscriptions on the day its controversial cover appeared - just in time for Mother's Day in the United States - than it had for the entire week before.

  • Tuco - 2012-05-15 09:21

    with the american economy in turmoil, I find it strange that people are obsessed with sex instead of the real issues biting the american people. Jeez and I thought the masses in SA where blind.

      NickiAya - 2012-05-15 09:53

      it´s not about sex, it´s about love. The freedom to love somebody and get married. Why do you have to reduce it to sex?

      Jason - 2012-05-15 10:26

      You know more than one topic can be looked at once. So economic / sex / foreign policy / service delivery / welfare.. they don't have separate weeks in which can be discussed. Anyway Obama didn't only talk about gay marriage its just the only topic the media what to discuss at the moment!

      OccamsMachete - 2012-05-15 11:04

      Maybe Obama and some of his countrymen are capable of having more than one idea in theis head at a time. You should try it.

  • Jason - 2012-05-15 09:38

    Well I can't believe in the so called land of the free, that this topic is still debated.Regardless of your beliefs this is discrimination against a group of people. Just very sad that those who choose to defend them are attacked in such a childish way!

      ludlowdj - 2012-05-15 10:30

      "LAND OF THE FREE" !! what planet do you live on, it sure as h*ll ain't earth, there is no such place, anyone that has watched the development and perversion that we once considered freedom i.e. Democracy, knows that it hasn't meant freedom in many years, The US has simply refined it to mean a more acceptable form of communism. In reality our society is almost identical to the feudal system, we have the lower class or peasants, the middle or yeoman class, and of course the upper class which as always is made up of the richest and most influential who make money from the efforts of the lower classes and manipulate and pervert justice to their own means.

      Jason - 2012-05-15 10:57

      "The so called land of the free" please read more carefully!... and as far your views on acceptable form of communism my question is "WTF have been reading?". That is the dumbest thing I've read other than a few comments by creationist.

  • Piet - 2012-05-15 09:50

    I like !!!! Black PREZZIE??? It sounds strangely Fammilliar....

  • Michele - 2012-05-15 09:54

    Can't understand why straight people are so obsessed with gay people - maybe they should just come out of the closet and stop having gay children :)

      Louis - 2012-05-15 10:58

      I think both parties have a role to play - I made a comment earlier that I new would get mostly negative responses, but did it for a reason - fact is that two of my best friends are gay and we get along perfectly well - reason: I don't force being straight down their throats and vice versa. What happens mostly (and this is obviously one side of the story) is that we feel the topic gets shoved down our throats on a constant basis. Then, when I have an opinion, most gays (not all) climb into you with insults that I wouldn't direct at my worst enemies...hence there is and always will be conflict.

      Pulverturm - 2012-05-15 11:36

      Problem is you would consider me holding my partners hand in public as "Down your throat"... yet for a heterosexual couple that's perfectly acceptable. That's the problem! Double standards and bigotry go hand in hand!

      Pulverturm - 2012-05-15 11:37

      In other words, you are saying it's ok for us to be gay as long as we do it in a dark little corner somewhere hidden away from the rest of the world! *shakes head*

      Louis - 2012-05-15 14:02

      You certainly are full of assumptions, like me being a class A bigot. Seems like its more like you're feeling guilty about yourself. Wouldn't know why.

  • Louis - 2012-05-15 09:57

    I agree with Obama - we should acknowledge and even promote being homosexual. The same should be done with sex outside of marriage, interracial relationships...hell let's approve everything...then we can have no morals, no families and no nations defined by their own traditions, culture and race. Sounds perfert to me.

      Pulverturm - 2012-05-15 10:01

      You sound like a class-A bigot to me!

      Jason - 2012-05-15 10:21

      Yup and that priest that is feeding all this moral advise on gay marriage is probably a pedophile... the double standards of religion is shocking!

      Louis - 2012-05-15 10:32

      No use arguing the fact that priests have destroyed their own reputation and their purpose. Many of them are morally corrupt.

      Phoenix - 2012-06-24 20:21

      How convenient for you to be heterosexual. I wonder how you would have coped if you were gay. I doubt that you can even imagine what it is like, and what it is like for gay people to read these type of messages. I hope you get more compassion and understanding for fellow humans as you get older.

  • Seena - 2012-05-15 10:02

    they forced the brother to take a stand on this....damned if he did not and damned if he did....

      OccamsMachete - 2012-05-15 10:55

      When you say 'they forced him to take a stand' do you mean his conscience and his intellect?

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-05-15 10:11

    Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all

      Phoenix - 2012-06-24 20:22


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