3:24 pm Jan. 23, 20122
The latest issue of New York magazine just arrived in the mail, and the cover is a provocative one.
It depicts Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, photoshopped to look bloody and beaten (with a similarly injured but much smaller Newt Gingrich headshot sandwiched between them in the background), to illustrate Joe Hagan's feature about "The Dark Art of the Political Smear." (The headline inside the magazine and on the web calls it "The Coming Tsunami of Slime.")
Also circulating online today was a recent Bloomberg Businessweek cover that never made it to the printer. "funny seeing @NYMag cover this week...2 weeks ago we killed this cover," Businessweek creative director Richard Turley tweeted this afternoon, along with a photo of his spiked Romney art.
This image likewise depicts a swollen and bloody-faced Romney, looking as if he just got jumped by a pack of angry Gingrich supporters. It was posted to the Businessweek design department's Flickr account with the caption "Killed Romney Cover."
"Each week we design a few cover possibilities for the upcoming issue," Businessweek editor-in-chief Josh Tyrangiel told us through a spokesperson via email.
"We see where the news is going and make a final decision about the image on Wednesday afternoon," he said. "Two weeks ago (January 16 issue, on stands January 13) we had two great pieces in the magazine: Ashlee Vance's profile of Steve Ballmer and his efforts to reboot Microsoft, and Peter Coy's Opening Remarks about how the GOP had turned on Mitt Romney and Private Equity. In the end, we went with Ballmer since the Romney story seemed to have already hit its peak. A lot of times these decisions are about all of us putting our finger in the air and trying to figure out which way the zeitgeist is blowing. It's what makes the job so fun and so challenging."
Of course the Romney cover certainly would have seemed appropriate this week given Gingrich's sudden surge following his win Saturday in the South Carolina primary, and the development that Romney, who was the victor in New Hampshire, had actually finished behind Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses earlier this month. (Businessweek gets delivered on Thursdays, so they were out the door before either of those revelations.)
Meanwhile, "We had not seen the Businessweek cover," a New York spokesperson told us, "and ran the cover that we thought was most appropriate for the piece."