Monday, July 14, 2008

Outrageous NEW YORKER Cover Could Have Devastating Impact On Obama Campaign

Some cartoonist at the NEW YORKER magazine thought that it would be both satirical and funny to make up a cover based on some of the absurd far right caricatures, outright lies, loose right wing radio talk and unchecked spam Email attacks on presidential candidate Barack Obama, portraying Obama and his wife as Muslim terrorists. As absurd as this cover actually is, it could well have a devastating impact on the Obama campaign that it may never recover from. While most educated voters certainly understand what the satire that the NEW YORKER is attempting to convey here, somehow the lasting false image of someone not interested in the best interests of the nation unfortunately lingers on. This might be unfortunately cement a negative image just the opposite of what was the real intent of the NEW YORKER. The Obama campaign is absolutely right to be outraged.

There is no good rational reason to question the patriotism of Senator Obama or for some detractors to believe that he will be anything less than tough in defending the nation if elected president. Yet the NEW YORKER cover unfairly and unfortunately only leaves a terrible lasting image in the subconscious of voters that may be almost impossible for the Obama campaign to ever recover from in minds of enough voters to swing the November election. If the image of Obama in full Muslim dress with a portrait of Osama Bin Laden in the background wasn't nearly offensive enough, then the even worst caricature of Obama's wife is disgustingly portrayed armed with an assault rifle like some terrorist. This is absolutely the worst false image of Obama that could ever be portrayed, and certainly can result in some lasting harm. It conjures up the worst possible mental image of any candidate running for president ever. It's the worst.

I'm a major defender of a free press and freedom of speech. I'm one of the strongest 1st Amendment champions there is. But the NEW YORKER just didn't think this one through. You just don't portray a major candidate for president in such a tasteless manner as this. Freedom of speech may allow presidential candidates to be portrayed in any comic manner possible in this nation, unlike in some closed systems where you cannot even be critical of the government. The NEW YORKER may have intended to parody the hate speech from some irresponsible sources aimed at Senator Obama, however you can't really parody something so far out as hate speech without some unintended consequences. Some speech is so irresponsible and awful that it just can't be glorified even with damnation. The NEW YORKER cover really crossed the line this time. The normally classy publication with fine journalism may have done some serious damage to the Obama campaign even while supposedly attempting to ridicule the wave of false attacks aimed at him.

Will this awful cover be nothing more than a footnote to the election, Hopefully so. About the only positive is that the NEW YORKER's circulation and distribution is low enough that this awful cover will not be seen by many voters. But certainly it will hang around in medical and dental waiting rooms and many other places for months to come, and the damage could repeat itself over and over again. No candidate for president should ever be treated this way.


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