A Reader Responds To New Yorker Cover Posts

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Via email, Eugene McCain (no relation) has this to say in response to posts by Alan and mw

I understand your position that this was satire and that Obama should have acknowledged that. In hindsight maybe that would have been best for his campaign.


1. The Truth is that a large number (10%, 20%, 30%…. pick a number) of people that see the cover…… will, in fact, believe that it is making a statement about Obama, an opinion, not a satire. So, effectively, that cover has hurt his campaign by (unintentionally) further instilling mistruths about him.

2. The Cover satirizes Untruths that have been promulgated… over the past year by republicans, conservatives and the racially “insensitive”. The Editors defend it, as do you, by saying that it is “joking” about these untruths….essentially trying to help readers, thru the satire, see thru these untruths. But…. as stated above….for many Americans who see that cover…. it is convincing them of these untruths by giving a visualization of the untruths.

3. Perhaps unfair for Maddow (Countdown) to refer to Americans as being “stupid”….. wrong word….. but calling them “uninformed” is fair. And for the many, many uninformed Americans who merely see that cover on the news stand…. particularly those predisposed to fear of muslims….or fear of “black power” , the cover was fodder for their “uniformed cannons” and was very damaging for Obama.

4. result…… If the cover was not meant to harm, but to satirically inform….. it failed.


Realistically….. If you wanted to inform, thru satire…. if you wanted to produce a cover to support a better informed electorate…. wouldn’t the cover have two pictures… that juxtaposed the ridiculous false images on one picture…. with the accurate images in another…..side by side. To not do this guaranteed that many would misunderstand it and allow it to become the very opposite of its intent…. a radically false and inflammatory derogation of Obama based on falsehoods regularly (not satirically) promoted thru the media and the anti obama camp.

The fact that there was no underlying indicator that this was meant as sarcasm/satire….. undoubtedly allowed many to see it as further reinforcement of falsehoods and slander.

One note about my own feelings on this since I haven’t posted about it…I do think the cover is clearly satire to the New Yorker’s traditional audience (of which I count myself a part of), but they should have realized that such a cartoon would have a much broader audience than some of their normal covers. So while I don’t find it personally offensive, I can see how others would.

Additionally, I do think it could serve to reinforce opinions with those voters who are uninformed and pay more attention to anonymous emails accusing Obama of being a secret Muslim than what the cover’s actual intent was.

What do you think?