Despite huge criticism for depicting Barack Obama and his wife, satirically, in a radically unpatriotic light, The New Yorker magazine refuses to apologise, saying that "satire is part of what we do". Obama's campaign team doesn't find it so funny though.

The illustration shows the Democratic candidate dressed in traditional Islamic clothing along with his Kalashnikov-armed wife in what looks like the oval office. Below a painting of what seems to be Osama bin Laden, the American flag burns in the fireplace. Obama's campaign team yesterday condemned the satirical depiction, calling it "tasteless and offensive". The New Yorker's editor defended it however, saying that the cover was "meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd". He also pointed out that the copy of the New Yorker, which is a publication known for its liberal leanings, also contains two in-depth articles about the Illinois senator.

Obama has faced continuous allegations about his religious beliefs and the Islamic faith, and 12% of Americans actually believe that he is a Muslim, while he insists that he is Christian. In an attempt to counteract this rumour, and others, he launched the site called Fight The Smears.


The illustration was drawn by cartoonist Barry Blitt, who said that the picture was inspired by the "preposterous" idea that "the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic (let alone as terrorists)".

"It hurts to look at it"

Cynthia Samuels is a New Yorker fan from Washington D.C. She runs the blog Don't Gel Too Soon and works writing internet content for various websites.

I can tell you one thing. It hurts to look at it, even though I guess I understand what the artist, Barry Blitt, says he was trying to do.

The free speech and marketplace of ideas concepts that I've treasured all my life clash with my reaction to all of this; I know that. (...) But for a responsible and respected publication like The New Yorker to abuse that freedom by offering such blatant stereotypes to make its point (...) seems to me abusive and dangerous. In an effort to make a point about the hate that's being distributed concerning these two, they're feeding it. (...)

I guess what I'm saying is that this effort to force Americans to confront political trash talk by offering up a visual representation of it all is, to me, a terrible mistake. An image that casts a shadow over the remarkable symbolic gift of this landmark candidacy - an image that lingers like a scar."

Bloggers create their own versions

Originally posted by Napsterization 14 July 08.

I remixed this week's New Yorker Cover based upon Barry Blitt's Illustration. It is much funnier with the thought bubble and McCain. I think it will be easy for people in the current climate to misunderstand the original. But the remix makes it easier to get that it's supposed to be funny."


Originally posted on College OTR 14 July 08.