Obama more or less downplayed the New Yorker cover in his interview with Larry King Live last night.
OBAMA: Well, I know it was the “New Yorker’s” attempt at satire. I don’t think they were entirely successful with it. But you know what, it’s a cartoon, Larry, and that’s why we’ve got the First Amendment. And I think the American people are probably spending a little more time worrying about what’s happening with the banking system and the housing market, and what’s happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, than a cartoon. So I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it.
KING: But didn’t it personally sting you?
OBAMA: No. You know, we’ve — one of the things, when you’re running for president for almost two years, is you get a pretty thick skin. And, you know, I’ve seen and heard worse.
I do think that, you know, in attempting to satirize something, they probably fueled some misconceptions about me instead. But, you know, that was their editorial judgment. And, as I said, ultimately, it’s a cartoon, it’s not where the American people are spending a lot of their time thinking about.
I’m left wondering… did the cover really “fuel some misconceptions” about Obama? Can, or has, anyone encountered a single individual who thinks that Obama is a Muslim, or a terrorist, or supports Osama bin Laden, or burns the flag, because of that cover? Has anyone encountered someone who has cited the New Yorker cover as supporting evidence to back those claims?
The operating assumption here is that some not insignificant chunk of the voting population gets their perception of the world from New Yorker covers and cartoons. Based on that, people might think that you can see China, Japan, and Russia from 9th Avenue in New York City, Orthodox Jews often passionately kiss African-American women, and canines frequently surf the web because, “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”