Obama took a question (from NBC’s Athena Jones) on the cover of the New Yorker:
“The upcoming issue of the New Yorker, the July 21st issue, has a picture of you, depicting you and your wife on the cover. Have you seen it? If not, I can show it to you on my computer. It shows your wife Michelle with an Afro and an AK 47 and the two of you doing the fist bump with you in a sort of turban-type thing on top. I wondered if you’ve seen it or if you want to see it or if you have a response to it?”
Obama (shrugs incredulously): “I have no response to that.”
The magazine explains at the start of its news release previewing the issue: “On the cover of the July 21, 2008, issue of the The New Yorker, in ‘The Politics of Fear,’ artist Barry Blitt satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.”
Responds Obama campaign 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 Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”
I’m a little on the fence here. It’s obviously satire, made clearer by the fact that the New Yorker is a deeply friendly publication to Obama and the Democrats these days. So is the outrage — encouraged here by the campaign — an appropriate reaction? Or the new, pro-Obama PC? (If the latter, alls fair on the campaign trail in any case… but it could prove a worryingly powerful tool used from the White House.)
UPDATE: The cartoonist’s defense:
I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous. It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is.