Monday, July 14, 2008

The New Yorker and Obama

Sunday's edition of The New Yorker magazine ran a cover featuring Barack and Michelle Obama which has been marked “offensive and tasteless” by both the Obama and McCain camps. While staff members from the magazine intended the depiction to be satirical, portraying the two as enemies of the United States, the Obamas found the cover in poor taste. The presumptive Democratic nominee is clad in Middle Eastern attire and a turban, while his wife wears an Afro hairstyle and has a machine gun slung over her back. An American flag burns in the fireplace behind them and a picture of Osama Bin Laden hangs on the wall. Barack Obama spokesman Bill Burton released a statement noting that, "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."

Although Mr. Burton’s comments were seconded by McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds, media pundits view Obama’s reaction as over the top; Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page cited that the newspaper “is just lampooning all the crazy ignorance out there." Conservative talk-show host Joe Pagliarulo agreed. He stated that, "I think this could be a very positive thing for the Obama campaign. I think they've got to embrace this and say 'Look, there are rumors out there.' I talk to people every day, like Laura does. People really do believe ... that he's a Muslim. They believe he was sworn in on the Quran. They believe that his wife is unpatriotic and so is he."

What do you think? Has The New Yorker gone too far, or is it revealing ignorant political rhetoric?