A picture of Usama bin Laden hangs above the mantel of the fireplace, which has an American flag burning in it. The July 21/08 cover, titled “The Politics of Fear,” is intended to be a parody, an attempt to show how “scare tactics and misinformation” are being used to try to derail Barack Obama’s campaign, says cover artist Barry Blitt. “I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous,” Blitt wrote in an e-mail to the Huffington Post. “It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is.”
The Obama campaign has had to fight an intensive e-mail spam campaign that claims Obama is secretly a Muslim, and his wife is a black radical. Campaign spokesman Bill Burton called the New Yorker cover over the top. “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,” Burton said.