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Black Leaders Call for Boycott of New Yorker Magazine. Offensive ‘satire’ outrages community
Eighth District Council-member Bernard Parks held a press conference Tuesday, calling for a boycott of New Yorker magazine for front covers depicting Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama in an offensive light, he said. The councilman also appeared on the CNN news network, asking the country’s citizens to “rise up and take action against this horrible and insensitive caricature.” Parks said he had been trying to contact the magazine’s main office but was not successful by press time.
“The New Yorker’s attempt to label this ill conceived drawing as ‘satire’ is almost as embarrassing and inappropriate as the illustration itself,” Parks said.
The drawing in question includes Obama in clothing similar to Islamic terrorist Osama bin Laden with gun toting Michelle in militant clothing. In the background is bin Laden burning an American Flag in a fireplace.
Members of Obama’s camp called the drawings “tasteless and offensive.” However, the candidate himself pointed to the cartoonist’s right to freedom of speech.
“It’s a cartoon. I’ve seen and heard worse,” said Obama during a Larry King interview Tuesday.
“But that’s why we’ve got the First Amendment. In attempting to satirize something they probably fueled some misconceptions about me instead. But, you know, that was their editorial judgment.”
But, said Parks, “The First Amendment is significantly less important if those advertisers stop paying their bills,” Parks said.
Meanwhile, the NAACP board passed a resolution this week condemning the drawings as “tasteless and ‘Islamaphobic.’”
“We’re asking everybody who believes that to contact the New Yorker and complain either by mail or email,” said NAACP Chariman Julian Bond.
The New Yorker’s editor in chief, David Remnick defended the cover, saying it was actually satirizing “the vicious and racist attacks and rumors and misconceptions about the Obamas that have been floating around in the blogosphere and are reflected in public opinion polls.”
“What we set out to do was to throw all these images together, which are all over the top and to shine a kind of harsh light on them, to satirize them. That’s part of what we do,” he told reporters at ABC News.