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September 24, 2012

More “Shoot First, Aim Later”: National Review’s Obama Abortion Cover


You’re kidding me, right?

Less than two months to go before the election and this is what NRO dishes out? Not to mention, they issued a straight photo credit, as if this was an actual image from the Democratic Convention instead of labeling it a photo-illustration. (Romenesko has more.) Still, the fact there are people who wouldn’t figure out this was photoshopped is the least of the problem here.

No, what’s significant about this cover is how vapid it is. (Romney keeps insisting it’s a close race, but it isn’t at all, at least not in terms of the argumentation.) Shallow and shrill, the photo-illustration mainly captures the right wing’s belligerence, especially when it comes to women’s bodies. Having made access to birth control and forced ultrasounds key legislative issues, what this cover mostly achieves is a recognizable match in tone to the far right’s “war on women” mirroring the projection of hostility and the basement low signal-to-noise ratio of their presidential product offering this year.

Curiously enough, what the cover manages to illustrate, if by default, is Obama’s poise and reason (“the grown up in the room” is one way it was referred to four years ago). That’s because, trying to fit this red-meat fantasy to Obama’s cooler and deliberate nature, it comes up a head-scratcher. If the editors at NRO were really considering Obama, they might have understood how much the cover, instead, operates like a boomerang. But then, poor folks this year, they don’t get it enough to even duck.

  • Bukko_Canukko

    The Republikkkan Party, its print propaganda arms, and at least one Supremacist Court Justice (I’m looking at you, Tony Scales) have now been taken over by the voices of cranky reich-wing bloggers. Truly, the nastiest anonymous bloggers on places like Red sHate now find their screeches mirrored in the official ideology of one of the two political factions allowed in Amerika’s inverted totalitarian political system.

  • Joe Agnew

    I’ve noted that in my own debates with members of the Republican “base,” the abortion issue is always used as a trump card (“Well, at least I have more morals than you!”) when I effectively argue the inefficacy of most Republican stands on other more important issues facing the US.

    With this cover, the Republicans essentially reveal just how desperate they are at this point in the game.

  • black_dog_barking

    Again the president is portrayed from behind, we don’t see his face. Is there anyone in political history so widely pictured by the back of the head?

    • Michael Shaw

      To be fair, Souza loves that angle. Still, I basically agree with you.

    • Deb

      And, he’s all blurry. Photoshopped in, too, it seems. This is journalism?

  • Michael Shaw

    Interested in any thoughts about the crowd. From what I read at Romensko (linked in the post), this is either a composite of several related photos from the same scene, or people’s body language might have actually been ’shopped. The consistency of the crowd is certainly odd – with lot of mobile checking.

    • black_dog_barking

      On first viewing all I saw of the crowd was the signs. But now that you mention it the crowd doesn’t seem like the audiences I recall from other Obama rally pics. In those images it was quite clear that people were excited to be where they were, that their attention was directed at the speaker. In this composition the crowd looks disinterested, attention wandering, like maybe they’d rather be somewhere else. There is diversity by race / gender, just attention-deficit.

  • Deb

    Wondering if people pictured here have any legal recourse for their images used in this dishonest (libelous?) way. Imagining if were me. Yikes.

  • Gasho

    Deb – That was my first instinct as well. If I were pictured holding a photoshopped, nasty sign like that, I’d sue for a million bucks. What an ugly thing to put on a sign. Super offensive. The editor should be ashamed. He should also be sued.

    • BigB

      Let me get this straight….Its an ugly thing to put on a sign, but it’s not an ugly thing to do. Are you for real??!! What is incorrect about the sign, photo chopped or not?

  • Cactus

    As Romenesco has now proven, this is a complete phony photo.
    Rachel Maddow has exposed several teapublican campaign photos that have been
    taken from stock photo houses. They seldom admit it.

    It doesn’t even look like a real crowd. Some people are
    totally disengaged (which may be difficult for teapublicans to identify) and the
    perspectives are off kilter. The screaming woman right in front of Obama seems
    to be standing in a hole when compared with the bald man on the left (who was in
    the original photo, but was shouting enthusiastically).

    As for crowds shouting “abortion” – they can be seen
    frequently surrounding medical clinics trying to prevent women from entering

    The people who did this probably also think Breitbart was a
    genius of a ‘journalist.’

  • virginianative

    To my dismay, my mother-in-law gave us a subscription to The National Review. But I’m old school, raised with manners, so I thanked her and went along with it. I withstood it for two issues, but after the latest travesty, i.e. the photoshopped cover showing delegates hoisting FAKED “Abortion” signs, I’ve come to my senses and cancelled the stupid thing. Have these people no shame? I’m embarassed for my mailman to see this magazine and think it’s something we endorse. And I couldn’t agree more that this cover acts as a boomerang. If I were in this photo, I’d want to sue, and I hope someone does. Talk about a graceless age, this is Exhibit A.

  • Obama Llama Ding Dong

    I like boobies.

  • Ursula L

    The crowd isn’t a crowd at all. It looks, to me, as if it is a bunch of individual pictures of people, photoshopped together. The way individuals are lighted changes from person to person. The proportions are wrong for a group of people standing on a level floor. The way the figures overlap is weird. They’re looking every which way, rather than towards the speaker, as one would expect for most (but not all) of the people in a crowd at a speech.

  • Eddy Collins

    What is incorrect about the sign(s) is that those pictured holding them are very likely NOT advocating for “abortion”. What they or (I’ll own it) I would advocate is that the decision be YOURS, not a pandering politician’s.
    If you’ll agree with me that the National Review has been working to maintain a misogynist, male-supremicist, anti-science, anti-factual-sex-education, puritanical, anti-birth-control, anti-equal-pay-for women society, then, yeah, I’ll agree w/ you that after all that ugliness, abortion is ugly, too.

  • BigB

    I think you are reading way too much into NR’s commentary. The Democratic Party supports abortion. That is a fact. So they put it on the cover of their magazine. This is no different than Time magazine cover of Obama with a halo “The First Gay President”. As to your second paragraph, I’m not sure why you would make the ugliness of abortion conditional to me agreeing that NR is being NR. Doesn’t follow.

  • Deb

    The Democratic Party supports a woman’s RIGHT TO CHOOSE. Choice is the issue. No matter how many times it is said to be otherwise. Abortion is a highly personal issue for a woman. Always a difficult choice. A choice nonetheless.

  • BigB

    And where do you get the “right to choose”? Not in the Constitution, I know that. …and not a highly personal issue for men? You make it sound like you are picking out fabric for your sofa.

  • BigB

    Where do you get this Right to Choose? Its not in the Constitution, I know that. Okay, so the Democratic Party is the party that supports ending life. Does that work?

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