Monday, July 14th, 2008

New Yorker Goes Imus On Obamas

The New Yorker is having an Imus moment.

Today, it was slammed by the Obama campaign, Muslim Americans and African Americans for its July 21st cover of Barack and Michelle Obama dressed as Islamic terrorists doing a fist bump. See it here.

Bill Burton, spokesman for the Obama campaign, stated today, “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.”

(McCain’s staff was like, “Ditto.”)

A coalition of organizations, including hip-hop media justice organization Industry Ears, Muslim American media watch group Project Islamic Hope and the Los Angeles chapter of Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, are calling for newsstands and stores to pull their magazines from its sales racks, and for advertisers to pull their ads immediately.

Paul Porter of Industry Ears, said to, “Afro’s and AK 47’s are no way to portray Michelle Obama. Add the Arab garb to Barack Obama and you achieve a racist satire.”

He added, “We are just tired of the same old media bias game. It’s always ‘satire’ with people of color when you’re reaffirming fears and stereotypes. The New Yorker is just reinforcing and profiting from divisive media.”

What were they thinking? Editor David Remnick told the Huffington Post this morning:

I respect people’s reactions — I’m just trying to as calmly and as clearly as possible talk about what this image means and what it was intended to mean and what I think most people will see — when they think it through — that it means. The fact is, it’s not a satire about Obama – it’s a satire about the distortions and misconceptions and prejudices about Obama.

Writing in today’s Huffington Post, author and satirist Leonce Gaiter calls the image “red meat for Red States” and says,

There seem to be two possibilities. The first: they truly find the idea depicted in the image so ridiculous that they couldn’t conceive of anyone taking it seriously. However, if that were the case, there’d be no need for the satire in the first place. Attempting to satirize it acknowledges the idea’s prevalence.

The other possibility is that somewhere, deep in the recesses of their upper east and west side white minds, lurks a restive “fear of black.” To provide such an image without context is to accept its message to some degree. No similar cartoon would have ever appeared about a white candidate.

As I’ve noted in earlier blogs, polls show that up to 15% of the country believes Barack Obama is Muslim, roughly the same percentage that also tells pollsters they wouldn’t vote for him because he is Black.

posted by @ 9:39 am | 1 Comment

One Response to “New Yorker Goes Imus On Obamas”

  1. Sugarbread says:

    I don’t want to defend the New Yorker, because I thought that was a racist ass image, too. And I was shocked when I got it in the mail.

    But you have to acknowledge what the article inside was saying: Obama is a genius at winning over the right wing and playing to conservative values when he wants to navigate political machinery. There’s no way somebody with half a brain would read that and think that it would in anyway bolster the “Islamic revolutionary” image of Obama.

    Asalam Alaikum,

    Serena Kim

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