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Obama in Crosshairs — Wildly Offensive or Makes a Point?

A Georgia paper has hit the bullseye of controversy. This photo is the cover of the Roswell Beacon, teasing a piece about the rising activity level of white supremacist groups surrounding the possible nomination of Barack Obama. The story itself is a little tangly — it's hard to determine whether the criticisms that the story doesn't warrant such an inflammatory image are justified.

The editor says of the cover choice, "we knew we were on the provocative edge. But it's a very fair piece, a smart piece." The article was written by a freelance journalist who was curious how law enforcement agencies were handling the increased number of threats lodged against Obama by white supremacist groups, some of whom were local. Some of the details in the piece are surprising, like this from one of the interviews:

Some idiot out there’s going to put a bullet in that silver-tongued devil, and then there’ll be a race war. There are some in our movement who are preparing for war, [even] praying for it.

The paper might have had good intentions behind the cover. The editor is pleased that the controversy has "projected the story. We're hoping federal law enforcement takes notice." He calls it a valuable public service. It might be? Georgia has 42 active white power cells, ranking fourth in the country behind California, Texas, and South Carolina.

Did the story justify the cover? Is the image offensive regardless of the potential good intentions behind it? Would an Obama nomination incite white supremacists to violence?

Join The Conversation
brainstewerz brainstewerz 9 years
People are more concerned with political correctness than with facts. We may not like it but the fact is that there are racists out there who want to do harm. Instead of being concerned over a politically incorrect image, we should be concerned about educating people about tolerance. The truth is that there are still white supremacists in the United States, a country where everyone is supposed to have equal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Instead of bashing the people who made the offending article, put your energy to educating the children of white supremacists on tolerance and equality so that we can eradicate hatred and promote peace.
flutterpie flutterpie 9 years
you know whats really funny about that, is that i have actually heard that the white supremacy groups are a little more supportive of obama because of his lack of vocal support of isareal. im not sure if its true, these are the same groups that kept ron pauls campaign afloat for so long...
kastarte2 kastarte2 9 years
My dad and I had a conversation about this in January after Iowa. It's a fact that he has a higher risk of being assasinated than the other canidates, but I admire him too much as a canidate not to vote for him. I saw an interview with Michelle and Barack months ago where they were asked if they had considered this risk before they started the campaign. They said that they had but if they chose not to run out of fear for his safety, than the racists would have already won. No matter who is the first black president or when, it will always be an issue. Most white surpremists are also very patriotic and wouldn't want to see the land they love being led by a race they hate so irrationally. At least the groups I see profiled on the History Channel wouldn't stand for it. The image is obviously for shock value but it is an issue that deserves discussion.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I think it may have went a little too far. But the little town where I grew up people are more freaked out about Obama being 'Muslim' rather than him being black. You wouldn't believe how many people I have explained to that he isn't Muslim... and so what if he was? Being Muslim isn't a bad thing. But where I am from it is. Much more so than being black. :oy: ... some people!
idawson idawson 9 years
from what i can gather, the content of the story, the article headline and the image don't match. if shock value is what they were looking for i guess they accomplished it by peaking the public's interest. as for the image putting any ideas is folks' heads - i doubt it - those thoughts were more than likely there from jump.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Given that the article is about local white supremacist groups targeting Obama for violence and the need for stepped up law enforcement, I think the image makes sense. I don't find it offensive. But, I do think it's overly provocative.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
they have newspapers in the south?
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
Hm. Maybe you're right. Time in the military tends to make it pretty difficult to offend me, though.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
What a surprise. It's from Georgia.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
Monday, I'm starting to think I don't get offended enough. I guess I just tend to ignore inconsequential things that I don't like.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
Imagine if the Hillary sexism supporters saw a rifle pointed at her for wearing those pant suits......they would have a fit!
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
I agree Bella this surely wouldn't go over well if it were Hillary with a rifle pointed at her or McCain would it? This is the magazine I was talking about yesterday when we were having that silly argument about racism vs sexism.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
I feel so much better now that I'm not the only one who felt that way, MM!
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
I don't find it very offensive; I think it's a visual summation of things that many people are speculating on. Unfortunately, there is still quite a bit of racism in this country and the illogical hatred of racism is different and more vitriolic than the hatred that many people feel towards Bush. I find the headline more offensive than the picture.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
I think it's irresponsible, disrespectful, and in very poor taste. (I'd feel the same way if it were featuring ANY political candidate. Even Bush.) And as Jillness says, this image legitimizes hateful sentiments. C'mon, you know there are readers laughing and loving this cover.
rivrchild rivrchild 9 years
I am instantly reminded of the little "joke" Huckabee made in front of the NRA last week. However, I found that much more offensive than this.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
Jill, I love the way you calmly disagree with people. It seems like you were away for a while! :hug:
zeze zeze 9 years
damn - that smiley is hysterical, not hilarious - now i know why it didn't work!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Sweet! I guessed right.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I wasn't offended by it. I'm so dumb I didn't even realize the post was about us being offended until I got to the poll choices. Oops! Is there an oops smily or whatever you call those things? :oops:
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
:rotfl: Z!
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
"I feel like it legitimizes their sentiments. Just my opinion, though." I agree Jill!
zeze zeze 9 years
The people who hate Bush are anti-guns - what are they going to do, run him over in their new hybrid? :hilarious: I see your point, though :)
Jillness Jillness 9 years
" feel like it's really not that different than one of them drawing the bullseye on with a permanant marker." I feel like it legitimizes their sentiments. Just my opinion, though.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I could be wrong, it has happened before. I do hope in this case I am correct in my assumptions.
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