How Should the Lies About Obama Be Addressed?

By Alan Stewart Carl | Related entries in Barack, News

As recently as April, one in ten Americans believed Barack Obama is a Muslim. While this doesn’t tell us how many believe he’s a dangerous Muslim, the level of ignorance is disturbing and is likely why so many were so concerned with The New Yorker cover released Sunday.

While I think the cover was an obvious satire, I also think Obama supporters are very right to be concerned about perceptions of Obama’s patriotism. The New Yorker was actually making fun of those who believe the slanders against Obama, but is parodying the idiots a proper response to these lies? Or should all portrayals of Obama as a dangerous Muslim be condemned, even if those portrayals are satirical?

I think The New Yorker’s approach was not as horrible as many think (although it was hardly the best of satire). The best way to address such lies is to put them out there and showcase how absurd they actually are. Shadow campaigns fail when bright light is shown upon them. Sure, The New Yorker cover is shocking and seems, at first glance, to propagate a nasty slander. But, when this is all over, I imagine that cover will have done more to defeat the “Obama is a dangerous Muslim” lie than will have any number of polite news articles pointing out the ignorance of the rumors.

I’m not suggesting satire be used in abundance to fight these lies. Just that, as always, satire has its place. And, as always, some people will be offended by the surface message and completely miss the underlying intent. That’s o.k. Their offense is part of the mechanism that makes satire work. Without the offense, there is no discussion. Satire isn’t humor. It’s creative commentary.

Going forward, Obama supporters should be more open to how the despicable lies against Obama are handled. Calm, quiet reminders of the truth have their place. But stridency in the face of such dishonesty is not a bad method either.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 and is filed under Barack, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “How Should the Lies About Obama Be Addressed?”

  1. Pacze Moj Says:

    I’m actually quite disheartened by the fact that if that cartoon had been satirizing, say, Obama being “soft on terrorism”, then most people who now defend it would then be attacking it.

  2. Divided We Stand United We Fall Says:

    Its up to you New Yorker! New Yorker!…

    But what do I know. Perhaps the Obama campaign is right. Perhaps it is important for every President and political candidate to immediately respond with righteous indignation on every political magazine cover. Perhaps Hillary Clinton and George W Bush …

  3. wj Says:

    On the other hand, I saw a different poll recently where another several percent believe that he is a Jew. Go figure!

    I anxiously await the first cartoon satirizing that. Should be no problem, especially after the speach he gave about Israel (which was after the poll, by the way).

  4. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Maddow & Alter: “The New Yorker cover is irresponsible because they should know that Americans are too supid to understand it.” Says:

    [...] I have no problem with Alter’s thesis (reinforced in Alan’s post here) – that the “Obama is a Muslim” lie must be challenged, confronted and corrected in the [...]

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