Sunday, July 13, 2008

Open letter to The New Yorker

Dear Editor:

Congratulations. The caricatures of Michelle and Barack Obama on the cover of your magazine have certainly drawn plenty of attention. Of the tens of millions of Obama supporters across the country, many are well educated, socially conscious citizens -- exactly the type of people who may well be inclined to subscribe to The New Yorker. I can personally guarantee that having seen this cover, I will never subscribe. If I had been a subscriber, I would have cancelled before even reading the headline. This is the kind of messaging we've come to expect from Fox News, and I would never have imagined that The New Yorker would lower itself to compete on that plane. The sad irony here is that most of the people who will be impacted by an image of the candidate and his wife burning an American flag in the Oval Office will never get past the front cover. Many of them don't even know the meaning of the word 'satire'. And you know as well as I do that they won't need to get anywhere near a copy of this publication. This abominable denigration of two of the most important public figures in our lifetime will be cheerfully paraded about by every second-rate media outlet around the world. You've led the pack.

Both campaigns have indicated that they view this as tasteless and offensive. I agree, and I'm sure the vast majority of Obama supporters do as well. Maybe you were hoping to deliver a damaging blow to the Obama campaign. Maybe you simply hoped to increase your circulation. In either case, I suspect you'll be unpleasantly surprised. Need I remind you that Barack Obama has inspired the most potently activated Democratic base the party has seen in over 40 years?


Dorian Cheah

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