The cartoon depicts Obama in Muslim garb with a turban and his wife, Michelle with an afro and an AK-47 and an American flag burning in the fireplace.
The New Yorker Magazine has a satirical cartoon on their cover which both the Obama and McCain campaigns are calling "offensive and tasteless".
Barack Obama was first asked about the satirical cartoon, created by The New Yorker's artist Barry Blitt, claiming it is a satire of how scare tactics will be used to derail Obama's campaign, to which he replied: “I have no response to that.”
He was asked by Maria Gavrilovic of CBS News, in San Diego, California, "The upcoming issue of The New Yorker, the July 21 issue, has a picture of you, depicting you and your wife on the cover.
“Have you seen it? If not, I can show it to you on my computer. It shows your wife Michelle with an Afro and an AK-47 and the two of you doing the fist bump with you in a sort of turban-type thing on top. I wondered if you’ve seen it or if you want to see it or if you have a response to it?”
The news release that the New Yorker sent out can be found here and it states:
On the cover of the July 21, 2008, issue of the The New Yorker, in “The Politics of Fear,” artist Barry Blitt satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.
Both the candidate's campaigns have since released statements.
Bill Burton, who is Obama's spokesman said, “The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."
Following that the McCain campaign, via an email to The Politico from Tucker Bounds, agreed by stating, "We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive.”
According to Jack Tapper over at the ABC News' Political Punch blog, he states that he believes, knowing the liberal slant of The New Yorker, that the satire is meant "as a parody of the caricature some conservatives (and some supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.) are painting of the Obamas" and he agrees with Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post in calling it incendiary.
Tapper goes on to wonder what the reaction would be if this was a conservative publication that did this, such as the Weekly Standard or the National Review.
Not to say that The New Yorker is getting off scott free from other liberals, because one high profile Obama supporter told ABC's Political Punch, "This is as offensive a caricature as any magazine could publish, and I suspect that other Obama supporters like me are also thinking about not subscribing to or buying a magazine that trafficks in such trash."
The fallout has just begun over this highly controversial satirical piece from The New Yorker and many, conservative and progressive sites, as well as the newly formed Michelle Obama Watch, alike are already ripping into The New Yorker for this.
The harshest criticism I have seen about this as of yet, does come from a conservative blog called Hot Air, where Ed Morrisey writes, "Just as obviously, the editors of the New Yorker showed very poor judgment in approving this cover." He then goes on to point out, "Obama warned that the Republicans would obsess over his ethnicity, but so far only the mainstream Left has made it an issue."
The editors of The New Yorker are surely going to be receiving some irate phone calls and emails as this news spreads and some think that if they are smart, they will rethink putting the cartoon, satire or not, on the front cover of their magazine on July 21, 2008.
[Update] The artist that created this satire responds to an email that Huffington Post sends him asking him to respond to those who feel that his work was offensive, and to explain his own personal feelings about the Obamas:
I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous. It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is.
When he was asked "given the outcry, is he glad he made the art?" His response was, "Retrospect? Outcry?" The magazine just came out ten minutes ago, at least give me a few days to decide whether to regret it or not..."