Barack Obama's New Yorker cover branded 'offensive'
A satirical cartoon portraying Barack Obama in traditional muslim dress and his wife Michelle in army fatigues, brandishing an AK-47 rifle has been branded ‘tasteless and offensive.
The New Yorker magazine commissioned the cartoon for its cover, despite openly supporting Obama’s presidential campaign. According to the magazine, the cover is entitled ‘The Politics of Fear’ and is a send-up of all the unsubstantiated smears made against the Democratic candidate.
The cartoon shows the Obamas standing in the Oval office where an American flag burns in the fireplace and Osama bin Laden’s portrait hangs over the mantelpiece. Whilst Barack Obama is wearing sandals, an Arabic robe and a turban, his wife Michelle is dressed in army gear, sporting an Afro hairstyle, AK47 and a string of ammunition.
The accompanying in-depth article written by Ryan Lizza, one of the first journalists to encourage Obama to run for president, unveils some the politician’s statements in reaction to world events.
According to Lizza, Obama’s reaction to the 9/11 attacks stated: ‘The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers – an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others.’
He continued: ‘Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity.’
A spokesman for Obama commented on the cartoon saying: ‘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.’
The New Yorker editor, David Remnick defended his decision to publish the cartoon saying: ‘Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hatred and the absurd and that’s the spirit of this cover’.