Magazine's cover stirs controversy

July 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
It was meant to be satire, but the Obama campaign isn't laughing about the latest cover of the New Yorker magazine. The Obama campaign is calling it totally inappropriate and offensive.

The drawing on the cover of the latest New Yorker Magazine takes some of the worst false rumors and fears about Senator Barack Obama (D) Ill. and his wife and portrays them in a cartoon. The magazine says it did it to expose the lies and distortions that have been spread about the Obamas. The Obama campaign and many of his supporters feel the magazine's satire went too far.

The cover of the latest New Yorker is a literal depiction of some of the worst lies that have been spread about the presumptive democratic nominee. Barack Obama is dressed in Muslim garb and his wife, Michelle, is depicted with an Afro hairstyle carrying an assault rifle. An American flag is burning in the fireplace and a picture of Osama bin Laden is above the mantle in the oval office.

"It plays to religious and racial bigotries. Michelle with an afro wig," said Reverend Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist.

Rev. Sharpton says the cover plays on all of the ridiculous notions about the Obamas. University of San Francisco political scientist, James Taylor Ph.D., believes it pours gasoline on the embers of racial prejudice.

"It actually fueled and expanded the very ignorance that it sought to expose," said Taylor.

Barack Obama himself had no comment on the cartoon.

"I've no response to that," said Obama.

His campaign is calling it tasteless and offensive. Senator John McCain (R) AZ. told reporters the magazine cover was totally inappropriate. Republican ad man, Robert Gardner from The Advocacy Group, wonders what the New Yorker was thinking.

"The New Yorker is a pretty smart magazine and this is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen," said Gardner.

New Yorker editor David Remnick says he understands why some are upset, but the cover is obviously satire.

"The intention of this cover in no uncertain terms is to talk about the politics of fear and the lies that have been told about Barack Obama and Michelle Obama as well," said Remnick.

ABC 7 Political Analyst Bruce Cain says the trouble with this satire for the Obama campaign is the timing. It comes just as Obama is trying to move toward the political middle of the road.

"He's been wearing the flag pin constantly, he's meeting with groups of individuals that are very nervous about him, and so they want to stick to a very consistent image of Barack Obama as a non threatening person," said Cain.

Again, Obama had no comment on the magazine cover and on Monday his most prominent San Francisco surrogates were also unavailable.


Load Comments