Said Obama spokesman Bill Burton: “The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”
One would think he would welcome “a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create.” Does Bill Burton think that this is how The New Yorker, of all publications, actually views Obama? That seems beyond the realm of possibility. So the only thing I can think of that explains his dudgeon here over what is nothing more than a funny satirical cartoon is that he is concerned that a good number of Americans actually view Obama this way.
If so, it is a perception the candidate himself has helped create, by — among other things — appearing in a photo-op in Muslim garb (which does not make him a secret Muslim, as I explained here). In any case, I wonder if Muslim groups will seize on this “tasteless and offensive” remark and use it to continue their campaign to get Obama to stop behaving as if being accused of being a Muslim is a “smear” — a campaign which, of course, is part of a larger agenda of consigning to the realms of “bigotry” and “hatred” any realistic examination of the Islamic jihad imperative.
Finally, to see a political cartoon being denounced these days makes me uneasy. There are indeed plenty of political cartoons that are truly tasteless and offensive, but in a world in which Islamic organizations are making concerted efforts to compel Western countries to limit free speech because of a few political cartoons, it would have been much wiser for the Obama camp to have laughed this one off.
“New Yorker mag’s ‘satire’ cover draws Team Obama’s ire,” by Stephanie Gaskell for the New York Daily News, July 13 (thanks to JCB):
Barack Obama’s campaign lashed out Sunday at the editors of The New Yorker magazine for a cartoon cover that depicts the Democratic candidate and his wife as fist-bumping terrorists….
The Illinois senator is depicted in traditional Muslim garb in the Barry Blitt illustration set in the Oval Office.
His wife, Michelle, is in fatigues, sporting an Angela Davis-style sky-high Afro, an AK-47 slung over her shoulder.
A portrait of terror kingpin Osama Bin Laden hangs above the fireplace, in which an American flag is set ablaze.
“The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree,” Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said.
New Yorker editor David Remnick seemed shocked by the backlash.
“Our cover … combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are,” he said in a statement.
“The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall – all of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to the absurd. And that’s the spirit of this cover,” Remnick said….
The McCain campaign joined in piling on The New Yorker. “We completely agree with the Obama campaign that it’s tasteless and offensive,” said campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds.
“Tasteless and offensive! Braaaak! Polly want a cracker!” Remember the good old days of “A choice, not an echo”?