'Satirical' Obama Cover Stirs Controversy
The illustration on the issue that hits newsstands Monday, titled "The Politics of Fear" and drawn by Barry Blitt, depicts Barack Obama wearing traditional Muslim garb — sandals, robe and turban — and his wife, Michelle — dressed in camouflage, combat boots and an assault rifle strapped over her shoulder — standing in the Oval Office.
New Yorker / AP
Cover: July 21, 2008, New Yorker
Controversy: A satirical illustration of Michelle and Barack Obama brought harsh criticism from both the Obama and McCain campaigns. Obama's campaign called it "tasteless and offensive." The magazine said it illustrates prejudicial issues the Obamas face.
"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," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. "But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."
In a statement Monday, the magazine said the cover "combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are."
"The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall? All of them echo one attack or another. 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 hateful, and the absurd. And that's the spirit of this cover," the New Yorker statement said.
The statement also pointed to the two articles on Obama contained inside the magazine, calling them "very serious."
Republican John McCain's campaign spokesman, Tucker Bonds, agreed that the cover was "tasteless and offensive."