Satirical Images in the 2008 Election

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The Power of Images


Pictures Speak a Thousand Words - What Does This Say?






               - July 21st, 2008                                                            -September 25th, 2008


"The New Yorker cover only reinforces the silly Obama rumors". -Newsweek

The cover 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. 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.” 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." However, both presidential candidates stated the cover was "offensive". Next to the image of the New Yorker cover, there is an image of Entertainment Weekly which is a parody of the New Yorker Cover. Stewart and Colbert are mocking the very rumors and stereotypes the New Yorker may have been trying to bring to the forfront. The purpose of the project was to iluminate the outrageous accusations against both Obama and his wife, so people's minds could be challenged and they could move beyond the anti-american perspectives of the Obamas.
                                   -Khalid Tellis, 10/21/08

                                                        ~Khalid T. 


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Here is a video posted on October 27, 2008 on Youtube by the youtube user Asathecomic. The video is a spoof of Sarah Palin and her political propaganda on the campaign trail. The youtube user employs the MIA song Paper Planes in order to convey his message about Palin's faulty political practices.

                                                                                                                                                         ~Khalid Tellis 


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(July 15,2008)

"While I understand why many object to this cartoon--and to images which they believe reinforce stereotypes (and there are many at The Nation who found the New Yorker cartoon offensive), I believe satire--even if it flops or offends --has a place in our culture and politics."

- Katrina VanDen Heuvel, writing in The Nation 


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Comments (4)

Erica Chenard said

at 8:18 pm on Oct 19, 2008

I was interested in what Mrs. Frank had to say about the political cartoonist at the Hartford Courant when she was asked if she thought he had ever gone too far. When she said that she has had objections to things he has published, other political cartoons came to mind, especially ones that are heavily satirical. These images can really factor into what the public thinks, just like the quotation from Newsweek points out (that the rumors surrounding Obama are only furthered by the cover of the New Yorker). This kind of skewing of reality reaches into other realms of media as well, such as SNL and other comedic shows that use politics as material. Although it is the responsibility of the voter to stay informed and realize what is true and what is not, many people do not put enough time and effort into discovering the truth about the candidates and where they stand on issues.

Jacob Zachs said

at 11:17 pm on Nov 10, 2008

As the saying goes, "seventy percent of all statistics are wrong..." In the article "The Election in Black and White" (written prior to November 4th) there are various "statistics" discussing how some white voters feel about the Obama candidacy. All views presented are racist (and therefore negative) and range from blacks being lazy and violent, to the fear that an Obama victory would mean he stole a job from a white person. Needless to say, these statistics and quotes are not backed up by an true data and no names accompany the quotes. Is the article written tongue-in-cheek? Is it written to open the publics' eyes to how ugly and ignorant these beliefs are? All I know is that the "statistics" in the article were wrong. If the numbers quoted translated into actual votes, Obama very possibly would not have won by the margin he did, or not have won at all. Do articles such as this one actual influence people? If so, it is scary that they are believed and taken into account when choosing a candidate to vote for. I hope that articles such as this one cause people to laugh at it stupidity and caution people to vote with the thinking part of their brain and not the frightening part or their brain, no matter who they chose to vote for.

Taegan Williams said

at 10:40 pm on Nov 12, 2008

Well in response to MIA paper planes- the original version is much better, haha. But this video just goes to show- how brutal the media is and how crazy bored some American are to make a video like that. This video is one of the many that have really thrown this election in a different direction than all others. Now you can insult your opponent through inappropriate blogs, wild videos and spoofs of songs- whether or not Barack or McCain wanted this to happen the media pounced on everything they could this year and Sarah Palin was a huge target. I wonder if McCain regrets his choice of running mate? What if he had picked Hilary Clinton, that would have sparked huge upsets in both parties, but then I think he would have represented his bipartisan ship. Like I was saying before- this transition period that the country is going through will lead to some issues with the internet, because how far is too far? What if someone doesn't like Barack Obama because he is black- are they allowed to blog about it or is that too far? This whole election is going to put the internet in a whole different light because it has spat out so much garbage in the few months that the image of the internet has been slightly tarnished. Do you believe that what is posted on the internet should be filtered or is it part of our freedom of speech to post whatever we want, whenever we want?
I think that is a main issue that will be addressed in the next four years with Barack really starting the whole internet movement and bringing this country into the digital age completely whether we are ready or not.

Khalid Tellis said

at 2:54 am on Nov 16, 2008

What sparked me to create this page was the first day of my Satire class with Mr. Scanlon...I had to think about what exact denotation of satire and when is a person/company crossing that boundary. I first came to the image of the New Yorker where Obama and his wife were depicted respectively as a Black Panther caricature and a terrorist. I believe in this election the role of the Media was redefined. Now the candidates will soon have to be gaining the media’s support as well. Luckily for Obama most of the media was drawn to him, while most of the media ran from John McCain. However, I found it interesting that Sarah Palin received her 15 minutes of fame and much more. Was it because she was “a mess”? Or rather because Tina Fey was able to mock her so wondrously? I have no idea. I do know this is not the end of Sarah Palin and her cartoonish ways, we will definitely be hearing her name again in 2012.

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