Seeing the truth

Our view: A satirical cartoon exposes the lie

July 16, 2008

Americans who value the truth know that Sen. Barack Obama is a Christian, not a radical Muslim. Yet that lie had so penetrated the public's consciousness that when surveyed by the Pew Research Center this spring, 8 in 10 said they had heard rumors that he was a Muslim. Now, a satiric New Yorker magazine cover cartoon depicting Mr. Obama and his wife as terrorists in the Oval Office has caused a significant stir among supporters, already worried about a flood of Internet messages and Web postings filled with lies about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's beliefs and history.

The supporters fear the cartoon will be used by Mr. Obama's political enemies to buttress their libels, and in some venues, it has. Mocking the ugly slander may be safe for sophisticated readers of The New Yorker to chuckle over, but could be too much for ordinary voters to understand, they seem to say. We strongly disagree. There is no better antidote to this poison than exposure on a national magazine cover in the clear light of day.

Concerned citizens who fear that their friends and relatives have not yet discerned the truth about Senator Obama might be surprised at how "with it" they prove to be when shown the cartoon.

Will everyone be convinced that the senator isn't a Manchurian Candidate being aimed at the White House by al-Qaida operatives? Probably not. That is a consequence of a rigorous, free press and free political speech. Still, politicians have long successfully navigated past such trash, and we expect Mr. Obama will do the same.

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