New ‘Newsweek’ Cover: The First Gay President

Here's the cover of the new Newsweek:


The headline tries for wit in its unsubtle recollection of a profile of Bill Clinton authored by Toni Morrison, entitled "Clinton as the First Black President," which appeared in the New Yorker in 1998. In it, Morrison wrote:

Years ago, in the middle of the Whitewater investigation, one heard the first murmurs: white skin notwithstanding, this is our first black President. Blacker than any black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime. After all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food loving boy from Arkansas.

Andrew Sullivan's Newsweek story has yet to be posted to the web, so there's no telling if he's written similarly of Barack Obama. Hard to imagine he would. I'm pretty sure Obama's never "displayed" any gay "tropes," if such things exist at all.


  1. alittleblackegg says

    I recall Sullivan saying that the title of his “Why Are Obama’s Critics So Dumb?” article was chosen by his editors, and that’s probably what happened here. I wouldn’t get hung up on it.

  2. carl says

    Very damaging, stupid and boorish. Newsweek should fold up its tent once and for all.

  3. Joey says

    Can you imagine what would have happened to Obama if he would have led a gang of young men in high school in an attack on a fellow student and cut off his hair? Jail time? Do you think he would have had any chance of being President?

  4. says

    it makes sense, actually. his biggest and most-vocal critics have the same problem with him that they have with gay people; he’s “different” from them, in ways that in no way justify their negativity toward him.

    ask your average obama-hater why they hate him and you get Tony Perkins-style nonsense and rhetoric. ask what policies of his they object to and you get a blank stare.

    it’s rather apt.

  5. red says

    pretty horrific photoshopping going on here

    the stupid halo is eve off-center ffs

  6. TJ says

    Yep, stupid. Because Clinton is pinky-white. Calling him black because of “tropes” makes it doubly absurd. With Obama, given that his sexuality has been questioned (albeit not as persistently as has his citizenship), this will play to the low information voter as confirmation. Why, Newsweek?

  7. Matt26 says

    I ordered Newsweek for years, but canceled it last year. It wasn’t the same paper any longer.

  8. says

    ………..did y’all read the piece or are you only responding to the cover image and text? save the knee-jerk responses for the conservatives. that’s all they have.

  9. BABH says

    “I’m pretty sure Obama’s never ‘displayed’ any gay ‘tropes,’ if such things exist at all.”

    Didn’t he marry a drag queen?

  10. gr8guyca says

    @ BABH

    I was going to say that the Newsweek cover seems pretty dumb.
    But then I decided that your comment warranted that description even more.

  11. Caliban says

    It’s no more ridiculous than calling Bill Clinton “The First Black President,” but then that WAS rather silly. It’s tempting to think of it as a “slur” but then that would be saying that saying a person is gay is a slur, which most up us have hopefully grown past.

    However, chances are the usual Right Wing suspects will exploit this as they can, referring to Obama as gay and then when called on it insisting they were only quoting Newsweek.

    It seems pretty ham-handed so I hope Andrew Sullivan didn’t come up with the title.

    There’s an article on Yahoo! about this with a several paragraph long excerpt from the article and I agree with what Sullivan has written in that short bit. I’ll post a link to that article but be warned that reading the comments there is often like sticking your head in a toilet bowl. Yahoos, indeed.

  12. Hugh says

    @Babh – To spend time out of your life and ignore the filters in your head to write this pathetic excuse of a dis (even as a troll comment it’s just pathetic). Such a sad life you must lead.

    @LITTLEKIWI – I think the knee-jerk response is what Newsweek is counting on. A lot more people are going to see this cover than read the article; I’d even argue a lot of those people wouldn’t read the article b/c of the cover. They’re not going to get the Toni Morrison reference, and they’re just going to assume the article is just as hyperbolic as the picture.

  13. says

    truth, Hugh.

    but at the same time, are news outlets intended for plebes or the intellectually discerning? facebook is already awash in complete FREAKOUTS over this cover and text, rather than anything resembling a thoughtful criticism of content, or comparison.

  14. says

    This outrageous cover is an example of how the American media f*g-baits people and gets away with it. Reprehensible! In my opinion, it’s a form of bullying directed at Straight allies. I’m not a Barack Obama supporter by any means, but this kind of crass sensationalism (there are obviously Republican partisans on Newsweek’s staff) fits my definition of dirty politics.

  15. says

    you don’t support Obama, you hate those of us who are empowered by self-identifying as Queer, and you think only Christians go to heaven.

    yeah. you’re sane 😀

  16. Oliver says

    I hope next week’s cover is a photo of Mitt Romney with the caption “Is Romney a sociopath?”

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  18. Michael Bedwell says

    I have proven how appreciative I am, how huge I think Obama’s affirmation was, by praising it all over the Net and making a contribution to his reelection I can ill afford. But the “Newsweek” cover is, in its own way, as ridiculous as “Time’s” photo of a woman breast feeding her three-year old standing on a chair. Regardless of who conceived it, the “Messiah for the Gays” is now “Saint Barack”? Messiahs and saints are only supposed to do good for we mere mortal. And there’s no reason to believe that the cover article will be much different from what he wrote on “The Daily Beast”—“[it] reaffirms for me the integrity of this man.” Seen against the reality of Mr. Obama playing the insufferable, indefensible “states rights ” card with his right hand even as his left one finally threw in the “God is in the mix” card, along with his FULL record on LGBT equality, it’s obvious that “Raw Muscle Glutes,” who once trolled the net for bareback sex even as he demonized other gay men for THEIR “irresponsible” behavior and “libidinal pathology,” once decried federal hate crime laws expansion and gay job protection legislation as needless “special rights,” declared that “AIDS is over” [at least for white males of privilege with great medical insurance like him], and was a cheerleader for Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq—not to mention promoted racist junk science of “The Bell Curve,” still hasn’t the vaguest idea what “integrity” is.

    As noted, Sullivan’s previous cover story was captioned, “Why are Obama’s critics so dumb?” Ask that of the some 800 gay troops he needlessly shitcanned. Ask that of the tens of thousands of gay troops who can now serve openly but not without the same protections against harassment and discrimination as nongay blacks, women, et al., because caved to Pentagon bigots who don’t want to give the fags TOO much. Ask that of the gay military couples and their children who are banned from military family housing not because of DOMA but because of arbritary Pentagon policy Obama refuses to order it stopped. Ask that of the hundreds of thousands of LGBTs working for federal contractors who COULD have employment protection had Obama not reversed himself on that, too. Ask that of the binational couples who keep having to fight one partner’s deportation because Obama refuses to use the green card system to protect them. Etc. Again, what he did this past week was GREAT! HISTORY-CHANGING! But it wasn’t Jesus rising from the dead, and at the same time we’re grateful we should be issuing our community Reality Checks not writing him a blank check. What next—superimposing his face on the rainbow flag?

  19. TJ says

    But OLIVER, Romney IS a sociopath!

    And KIWI, I get your point, but I don’t see many others seeing it this way. Not the birthers, not the mooslum-haters, not the uppity-haters. I don’t know why he couldn’t have been portrayed in a way that honors the potential good intent and civil-rights progress potential rather than “All your fears have been confirmed” as a way to garner attention.

  20. Rajendar kumar khatik says

    President Obama is cool….
    As a Gay President too he can re-enter into white house.

  21. says

    This is more damaging that a thousand negative campaign ads. I love it. Thank you Gays, for the gift to Romney. Pushy asses!

  22. says

    TJ, i hear you, but that’s trying to get blood from a stone.

    The Obama haters are going to keep on hating, because hating him is all they have left. Just like hating the gays.

    all the “remember 9/11!!!” white folks? they don’t seem to be even slightly impressed that Bin Laden was caught and killed on Obama’s watch.

    blood. from. a. stone.

    all the facts, logic, and citations of all that Obama has done for the USA mean nothing to the plebes of this country who can’t get over the fact that a black man is running their “white country”

    sad but true.

  23. Tallulah says

    I’ll never forget where I was and what I was doing when Obama freed the gays.

  24. Edward says

    I read that when Obama endorsed marriage Andrew Sullivan got tears in his eyes for all the young gays. Looks like he’s got tears on his brains because any political hack could see that this is very bad PR for Obama. Wasn’t Sullivan always a conservative? Looks like now he;s the “enemy within” Many people are trying to control the gay agenda. I liked it better when no one did or could.

  25. Yuki says

    Not really a fan of this cover, especially after that blurb about Clinton being the “first Black president”. It’s rife with stereotypes and damaging, if it tries to draw the same kinds of parallels.

  26. MarkUs says

    As I said in another thread, Tina Brown would put her dead mother’s corpse on a cover to sell a magazine. Looking forward to her on Moaning Joe tomorrow morning smirking and grinning while Eugene Robinson and Mark Heilemann scream at her. They always licked the bottom of her heels before; that ends.

  27. mike128 says

    Obama is not gay and he’s not a saint. I appreciate his recent statement, but I also look forward to celebrating the day when an actual gay person is elected to the presidency.

  28. mary says

    Kiwi raises a good point about people criticizing this without reading the article. But sometimes an image is damaging regardless of what good article accompanies it. This is bad PR for Obama. But then publicly endorsing gay marriage was a risky move and he knew it. Ironically, Obama’s open endorsement of marriage equality may do less damage than the media and gay rights activists exhuberatne response to it and the overconfidence it may inspire in them. A lot of the support for marriage equality is soft support. And we still have no way of knowing how much of it is the Bradley effect and how much is real.

    Does Tina Brown care whether Obama wins or not? I think this was terribly selfish of her. The people at NOM must be celebrating with a huge cake that says “The Left Does Itself In Again!” ……And as we can see, the last thing anyone at NOM needs is more cake. (just a little humor here to lighten things up a bit. I actually felt sorry for Obama when I saw this cover.)

  29. Michael says

    Can people learn some f’n history please? America has already had a gay president via James Buchanan. His Vice President was his lover and they lived in the White House together. It’s unreal gay men aren’t clued into our history and its obnoxious Sullivan would write this headline when he out of anyone should know better.

  30. Just_a_guy says

    It sure seems to me that the anti-gay self-loather trolls are most bothered by this cover. E.g. Mary [Gallagher], claimed ally who is no real ally; or stuffed animal, whose self-loathing absurd blog speaks for itself.

    Any real ally doesnt get all worked over some insinuation that he or she might be misread as gay by someone with an anti-gay axe to grind. Obama won’t get all worked up either.

    This election is now partly about whether hate for gay people still controls the ballot box in a national election. Are most voting Americans still gay-haters and gay-hating above all else, like they were in 2004? I guess we’ll see.

    This silly harmless cover changes nothing. It does for some reason make me less inclined to read Andrew Sullivan’s article even though I usually jump at the chance to read his stuff.

  31. says

    I’m sick of all these people who think life revolves around how much you “hate gay people.” But now all this frantic gay marriage, and calling people bigots, and forcing what they “deserve!” I remember in the ’60’s you didn’t hear a peep out of homosexuals. Cause they knew what they were doing was strange. I say vote them back to the stone age!

  32. says

    You were apparently asleep in your coffin, Edward. The 60’s was exceptionally gay — climaxing with Stonewall. We took names, kicked ass, and ahven’t taken any prisoners since.

  33. Us vs. Them says

    This is going to backfire.

    Black voting in North Carolina killed the gay union the day before Obama had a change of heart. It isn’t racist but blacks are more Christian and are against gay marriage as are Hispanics who were raised Catholic.

    He needs to focus on jobs and his plan to employ more Americans and instead he gets stuck with a gay label.

  34. Angela Channing says

    Hear that rumbling? Once again Katharine Graham is spinning in her grave.

  35. Souheil Bayoud says

    The president of USA has the biggest moral responsibility toward God and his people.I prefer to pray not to comment.May God have mercy on America and the president.

  36. says

    the US has never had a “gay President”.

    If you want to say that America had, like 200 years ago, a “Closeted Homosexual President”, then say that, but to sit here and pretend that Buchanan was “gay” is just freakin’ stupid.

    If you’re not Out, you’re not Gay. You’re merely a homosexual. Wise up.

  37. jamal49 says

    Well, if this doesn’t queer (pardon the expression) our president’s chances for reelection, then I don’t know what will. This cover will do more damage than the infamous “fist-bump” cover of The NewYorker back in 2008. What a shame. Thanks, Newsweek. You just gave the right-wing its “here’s how we win the election” poster. @ssholes.

  38. anon says

    That’s a very strange cover. What were they thinking??

    The Clintons themselves referred to Bill as the first black president largely because they felt he had lots of “street cred” and was being singled out by the great right-wing conspiracy juggernaut that was trying to do in his presidency. There’s been almost no right-wing scandal-mongering over Obama, only a lot of very partisan policy differences and ad hominem attacks. There’s hardly any parallels here.


    “CARL” (13 MAY; 2:34:21 PM),