Cartoon image inspires more controversy than laughter

Tuesday, July 15th 2008, 12:18 am
By: News 9

By Stacey Cameron, NEWS 9

Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama and his wife are portrayed as terrorists burning an American flag in New Yorker magazine's newest cover. The magazine isn't only offending the politicians, but also Oklahomans.

New Yorker magazine is selling out on newsstands across the country, even in Oklahoma.

The magazine is triggering conversation, but not from the man depicted on the cover.

Obama said, "I have no response to that."

The magazine's title is "Politics of Fear", and on the cartoon cover, the New Yorker lampoons several negative images about the presumptive democratic nominee.

Barack Obama is dressed as a Muslim. His wife Michelle is dressed like an angry black radical from the 1960s. An American flag is burning in a fireplace, and the couple is celebrating with a "fist bump" in the Oval Office.

"I think it's totally inappropriate," John McCain said.

Known for its political satire - the New Yorker said the cover mocks right wing fear mongering about the Democratic presidential candidate. Obama's Republican challenger, however, doesn't get the joke.

"Frankly I understand if Senator Obama and his supporters find it offensive," McCain said.

A local Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City member agrees.

"I think such things can be hurtful more than humorous," Saad Mohammad said.

Mohammad is the director of Islamic information at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City.
While he understands the article inside the magazine is trying to make an intelligent point, that Obama isn't a Muslim - and the Islamic faith is a religion of peace, Mohammad fears the New Yorker won't help educate.

"It's our duty to educate people," Mohammad said.

Mohammad thinks that instead, most people will simply see the cover - never read the magazine - and the negative stereotypes will grow.

"The opponents of Obama will feed off such a thing," Mohammad said. "They will use that against him and his campaign."

The New Yorker is standing by its cover. It said the image is meant to hold a mirror up to prejudicial, hateful and absurd things said about Barack Obama throughout the presidential campaign.