New Yorker Cover Offensive to Muslims, Obama and McCain Say

the New YorkerMagazine’s cartoon, intended to make fun of misconceptions, fuels outrage

By Matthew B. Zeidman for Hollywood Today

NEW YORK (RUSHPRNEWS) 7/17/08 – Call it a case of sarcasm misinterpreted. This week’s cover of the New Yorker, which was meant to make fun of misconceptions about Barak Obama and his wife, has been taken seriously by both Obama and his Republican presidential foe, John McCain, leading to accusations of anti-Muslim sentiment.

“I’ve seen and heard worse,” Obama told CNN’s Larry King in reference to the controversial cartoon cover, “[but] in attempting to satirize something, they probably fueled some misconceptions about me instead.”

The image, which the Democratic presidential contender called “an insult against Muslim Americans,” pictured Obama and his wife in the White House’s Oval Office, wearing a turban and carrying an assault rifle, respectively. As the couple bumped fists, a picture of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden hung on the wall beside them, while an American flag burned in the fireplace below.

“I think it’s totally inappropriate, and frankly, I understand if Senator Obama and his supporters would find it offensive,” McCain agreed at a recent press conference.

An editor for the magazine, David Remnick, has defended the cover as making light of accusations made against Obama by conservative opponents, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer he would run it again even knowing what an uproar it would cause. Among the rumors and misinformation addressed in the drawing is that Obama is Muslim (he is actually Christian), that he is a terrorist sympathizer and that he is unpatriotic.

With the presidential election less than four months away, Obama has a 6-percent lead over McCain, according to a telephone poll conducted by the New York Times and CBS News from July 7-14. The poll also found African-American voters overwhelmingly supported Obama (89 percent), while McCain had a 9-percent lead among white voters. Though surprising from the New Yorker, there is precedent in political campaign seasons. When (Catholic) John F. Kennedy ran for the White House, he was depicted by opponents as having a tunnel to the Vatican.