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Political Cartoons
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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How much do people pay attention to political cartoons?


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51:59 minutes (24.96 MB)
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Peter Gottschalk, Professor of Religion at Wesleyan and author of Islamop[hobia: Making Muslims the Enemy: Photo by George GoodrichPeter Gottschalk, Professor of Religion at Wesleyan and author of Islamop[hobia: Making Muslims the Enemy: Photo by George GoodrichPolitical cartoons have been called a "yardstick to measure tolerance in a society." So what does the latest cartoon controversy tell us about ourselves?

Last week, it was all over the news - everyone was talking about a front-page caricature in the New Yorker of Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama and his wife. It portrayed Obama as a flag-burning, fist bumping Muslim, and his wife Michelle as a gun-toting radical.

It was viewed as both tasteless and satirical, and called into question the role of cartoons and political correctness in our society.

The controversial cover of The New YorkerThe controversial cover of The New Yorker
Today where we live - we'll talk with the author of a book called Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy, that looks at how media caricatures Islam, post 9/11.

And, we'll talk with Rob Rogers and Bob Englehart, two leading political cartoonists - about where they draw the line.

See more pircures of Where We Live's in-studio guests at WNPR's Flickr Page

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While I do not see the cartoon as meeting the definition of satire, I do think the New Yorker cover has another possible outcome. If this is the worst possible image of Barak Obama, and the cover becomes part of the ongoing campaign, any opposition that wants to insinuate Obama as complicit with terrorists or as a Muslim extremist will be associated with this "cartoon" image. The liberal New Yorker has defused this argument by embracing such a possibility as comical. The tactic of taking the opposition's point-of-view and making that position your own is a time tested political strategy...one used successfully by the conservatives in the past two campaigns.
Colette M Bennett
Bridgewater, CT

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I would just point out that the depiction on the cover on the New Yorker
magazine is how some people see Obama. I had a disturbing conversation
with some one in CT who basically voiced a view that was depicted in the
cartoon. I think that people who support Obama need to speak up and
expose the stereo types as invalid. The cartoon hopefully woke up the
Obama support base to the coming struggle to bring the truth (whatever
it might be) to light. Silence on the issue may cost him the election.
Certainly, not understanding why a liberal magazine in NY would want to
deal with this is a bit short sighted. There are a lot of people who
have a very closed minded view of Obama and the cartoon should have help
dispel the misinformation.

Ben Rosenthal

he very dilemma of the

he very dilemma of the displaced American worker:

he/she seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place.