WASHINGTON — Smartypants magazine editor to CNN: If Comedy Central can do it, why can’t we?
That was a good part of New Yorker editor David Remnick’s argument to Wolf Blitzer about the controversy the current issue of the magazine has whipped up by portraying Barack Obama and his wife as a couple of gun-slinging, bin Laden-loving terrorists on its cover.
Remnick likened what the magazine has done to what “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” do every weeknight on television. He said the point of the cover was to satirize the many right-wing rumors and innuendoes that have spread virally about the Democratic candidate.
But critics are claiming the New Yorker overstepped the line from satire and fell knee-deep into tasteless journalism.
On Monday afternoon’s edition of “The Situation Room,” Blitzer said that had he not known the cartoon had appeared on the cover of the New Yorker — a legendary weekly famed for its witty sophistication and dandified high brow — he would have guessed it was a “neo-Nazi or Ku Klux Klan” publication.
“Oh, come on, Wolf,” Remnick riposted. “It’s on the New Yorker, and context means a lot.”
Remnick said that people “know the New Yorker,” that it’s a liberal publication that often uses provocative humor to make its points.
“If it weren’t possible to have satire,” Remnick continued, “if you always have to look for the joke that everyone will get, then you don’t have Jon Stewart, you don’t have Stephen Colbert. Colbert goes on TV and mocks right-wing commentary by pretending to be a right-wing commentator. In a way, this is Colbert in print.”