Frankly, this by-now notorious New Yorker cover is a bit baffling. One wonders what, if anything, David Remnick was thinking when he commissioned it other than: “this will stick it to him and raise a hornet’s nest of controversy.” One thing’s for sure–it was meant to make mischief more than a satiric point.
The problem is that the subject has been done to death. If, on the other hand, it had come out six months ago, then it would’ve had that frisson of shock and recognition that the best political cartooning has. But it’s moment passed. And all we can say is that the New Yorker has jumped the shark on this issue. If this were football, the referee would’ve thrown a white flag and called a 15 yard roughing the passer penalty against editor, David Remnick.
What new insight does this image bring to the issue of Michelle Obama’s alleged black nationalist/hate whitey bias and Barack Obama’s alleged Muslim heritage? Even more importantly where’s the humor or wit? Historically, the New Yorker has had more than its share of brilliant political cover art. But not this time. This one is a cheap shot. It’s sad that the New Yorker is getting notoriety and media buzz it doesn’t deserve. It piggy-backs onto an issue that has been sucked dry. It brings nothing new to the subject. A lost opportunity.
This statement by Remnick is entirely disingenuous:
Obviously I wouldn’t have run a cover just to get attention…
Of course he ran it just to get attention. Besides being what editors are supposed to do, he clearly knew when he ran it what the outcome would be in the political marketplace. If he didn’t, then he’s a dummy. And from what I’ve seen of him, he’s no dummy.
I can understand why the Obama campaign is incensed by it. It reminds the American electorate yet again of a fake issue raised by the Obamaphobic right. In effect, Remnick and Blitt are doing the Islamophobic right’s dirty work for them. The cover image is probably already featured in thousands of Republican blogs and websites. Those people are chortling with glee that the bastion of liberal media has made their point for them.
The worst thing is that John McCain gets to condemn this foolishness and look presidential by standing above the fray. Meanwhile, his staff is delighted with the ruckus the New Yorker has stirred up since it’s allowed them to score points and put Obama’s campaign back on the defensive.