Shutdown Coverage

Posted 23 OctoberIdeas, Trends

Like many Americans, I’ve had politics on the brain for the past few weeks. When something dramatic happens, like a government shutdown or a brush with the debt ceiling, it brings out the best in the creative efforts of the country’s few remaining daily and weekly news publications. This particular imbroglio has produced some especially rich visual commentary that has tended to go beyond the typical images of broken Capitol domes and gridlock.

Here are some of the best publication covers from the shutdown:


Parody that actually surpasses the artistry of its source. 


A classic for the “Less Is More” file. Note the absence of subheads, context and color, apart from the reliable mix of scarlet and black. This takes a clichéd image and makes it feel completely fresh.


I included this more as a curiosity. It’s a delightful illustration, but I had a couple questions: if the rampaging elephant represents the GOP, why is it attacking John Boehner, Ted Cruz and, it would appear, Michele Bachmann in equal measure? Wouldn’t Ted Cruz et al be responsible for inciting the rampage? Or is the concept that the rampage exceeded its instigators’ ability to control? Still. Love the clown outfit.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Economist (UK) takes the least partisan approach I’ve seen to the shutdown crisis. Why hasn’t this been done before? 


Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant photo montage. Just the right level of crudeness in execution, plus an expert Photoshop job on Ted Cruz’s face. Check out Businessweek’s thought process on this one, too.


The New Yorker’s political covers tend to be hit or miss. Score this one a “miss” in my book. This illustrates why clichés are so hard to overcome. Note the inclusion of the faceless blobs in between Boehner and Cruz, just to make sure you understand that those pale, spectral shapes are meant to represent ghosts. Got that? All that’s missing is a Jack-o’-lantern with Ted Yoho’s face (though that would be pretty awesome).

What did I miss? Share your favorite covers with us.

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