Magazine Editors' Group Creates Award Category for Obama Covers

The Magazine Publishers of America's American Society of Magazine Editors has added a category to its annual magazine cover awards: Obama. This new category is the only ASME category focused on a single person, and highlights the reverential attitude for the President widely held in the magazine publishing community.

ASME represents about 850 magazine editors nationwide. According to its website, the organization "works to preserve editorial independence." How they manage to maintain this air of objectivity while devoting an entire awards section to such a polarizing figure is a mystery.

This year's best Obama magazine cover, and recipient of ASME's Cover of the Year award, was published by Rolling Stone. Fawning coverage of president and candidate Barack Obama from the music (and wannabe left-wing politics) magazine appeared on the cover on numerous occasions. The winning cover is at right.

The other categories are Delicious; Entertainment & Celebrity; House & Home; Lifestyle; News & Business; Sexiest; Science, Technology & Nature; and Sports & Fitness.

The organization's descriptions of the five runners-up for the new Obama category could not contain their magnanimous admiration for the President. "A singularly powerful and iconic image of Obama," AMSE said of an Economist cover.

A New York Times Magazine cover displays Obama with a "deeply thoughtful and real expression."

The New Yorker (with an accentuated ‘O' on the cover) used a picture of the Lincoln Memorial to honor the inauguration with "a contemplative and hope-filled image." The cover's designer said the opportunity to create it was "not only flattering, it's beyond humbling."

Perhaps most ironically, another New Yorker cover "shows Obama and his advisers Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod interviewing candidates for First Dog in the Oval Office, much as they had interviewed potential Cabinet members in the previous weeks." Yes, and we all know how effective the administration's vetting process has been (see Daschle, Tom; Jones, Van; Jennings, Kevin).

The blurb describing the winning Rolling Stone cover is worshipful in its praise.

The smile says it all. Photographer Peter Yang caught up with Barack Obama in Raleigh, North Carolina, just a few days after he had finally nailed down the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Obama was exhausted, excited, relaxed, gracious, open--yet still somehow elusive. Hundreds of photographers have shot Obama over the past couple of years, but no one has quite caught his quiet charisma as Peter Yang did last June.

The new Obama category may have been added out of reverence for the President, or due to the unprecedented volume of magazine covers devoted to him. Either case would demonstrate the undeniable veneration for Obama in the glossy pages of the nation's periodicals.

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