Equal Coverage in Cartoonland

I never covered the New Yorker’s “Politics of Fear” cover when the story broke for a couple of reasons – first, I was in the middle of my veepstakes series, and didn’t want to break that up, and second I just didn’t see it as a crucial issue in the campaign. The New Yorker was doing satire, albeit satire that didn’t go over all that well, and the cover should be viewed just as that. Personally, when I first saw “Politics of Fear” I understood it and got the joke, but I thought it could have been funnier (and much less controversial) if it showed the cartoon more clearly as a satire of the right. One NPR speaker said it could have been improved by showing the terrorist-fist-jabbing Obamas on a conservative poster ad, or on cable news networks, and I agree.

Thankfully, though, the story that really shouldn’t have been a story seems to have passed. And now, in a satire of the New Yorker, their frenemies at Vanity Fair have created this joke internet cover showing a decrepit John McCain. McCain is drawn leaning on a walker, his wife Cindy cradling an armful of pill bottles, a portrait of President Bush hanging above a burning Bill of Rights. This, I think, is a joke that will be better-received because it’s a parody of a parody: they’re not so much spoofing the left’s image of McCain as much as poking fun at the New Yorker and the uproar over “Politics of Fear.” There’s going to be a lot less cable news time spent on this cover (it’s not even the actual print cover for Vanity Fair, since it will only be used online), but I think Vanity Fair has done the better parody.


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