In their wisdom, the New Yorker thought it was a great idea to “satirize the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.” How did they do this? By putting an illustration of Barack and Michelle Obama on the cover, portraying them in the oval office. Michelle has a big afro and is carrying a machine gun. Oh, and Barack is dressed as in white robes and sandals with a turban on his head. Oh, and also, there’s a portrait of Osama bin Laden mounted on the wall behind them. How clever those sophisticates are, down there in the Conde Nast tower on 42nd Street!
How tone deaf can you be? Maybe editor David Remnick, the same genius who penned the NYer’s editorial in favor of invading Iraq in 2003, convinced himself that the New Yorker readership is so sophisticated that they would get the joke, and that no one else would notice. Is that what happens when you spend most of your time shuttling between the NYer’s offices in Times Square and your apartment on the Upper West Side?
I guess Remnick and his colleagues thought that there might be a few undecided voters who hadn’t yet heard rumors about Michelle Obama being a militant radical and Barack Obama being an Islamic radical, so they decided to ensure that those rumors would get more play as we enter the summer campaign season. Circulation must be down lately — I don’t know how else to explain this stunt, which is guaranteed to get the New Yorker a lot of attention on the cable news channels. But if that was the logic, they were too clever by half, because it probably guarantees the New Yorker a lot of cancelled subscriptions too.