“Sophisticated Humor”? Or Deadly Propaganda?

If the late Harold Ross still owned the New Yorker, and if by some stretch of the imagination, the magazine were to run its current cartoon cover of Barack and Michelle Obama, I might be inclined to pass it off as a bad joke. Everybody, even Harold Ross, is capable of dropping a brick once in a while.obama-cartoon.jpg

But Harold Ross is long dead and the magazine belongs to one of the richest and most secretive families in the world. And that fact raises suspicions in my mind.

The cover (at right) shows Barack Obama in Muslim garb giving a fist bump to his wife, who carries an AK-47 on her shoulder. I know… The New Yorker is a satirical magazine and – in Ross’s words – was never designed for “the little old lady from Dubuque” (people like you and me, in other words). Even so, this attempt at sophisticated humor is way over the top. First it’s just not funny. Second, it’s not well drawn. Third, it will reinforce the vicious lies being spread about Obama by malignant right-wing groups.

These groups include various special interests, people with an enormous stake in the outcome of the next U.S. Presidential election. One group with a lot to lose is the Zionist Movement. OK, so call me anti-Semitic if you must, but you should remember that many Jews are not Zionists. The movement is political, not religious: Its aim is the preservation of the state of Israel at all costs.

I suspect that Sen. Joe Lieberman is a Zionist. You see, I can’t get it out of my head that the Israeli secret service might have fed George Bush that story about Saddam Hussein having “weapons of mass destruction.” And I can’t rid myself of the notion that people like Lieberman (and his buddy John McCain) want American kids to continue to shed their blood in Iraq to protect Israel. In Iran, too, if need be.

So why would the New Yorker run a scurrilous cartoon defaming the Obamas? Just possibly (I know this is a pretty wild theory) to ensure the election of McCain. There will be a lot of people circulating that cartoon as a factual message. It’s like starting a rumor by saying, “That new neighbor couldn’t possibly be a sex offender, could he? I mean that would be preposterous, wouldn’t it?”

And what ax would The New Yorker have to grind? It’s impossible to prove – and I have absolutely no evidence of this – but what if its owner were a Zionist? I mean, why else would the magazine run that recent piece about the U.S. already operating covertly in Iran? Does that stoke the fire, or what?

So who is the magazine’s owner? Start with a private company named Conde Nast, which is owned by another private company, Advance Publications. That’s the outfit responsible for such eminent purveyors of wisdom as Vanity Fair, Allure, Vogue, Glamour and GQ, as well as dozens of other magazines and daily newspapers across the United States. Advance also operates such web sites as Epicurious and Concierge. Now, who owns Advance Publications? Two super-rich brothers, Donald and Si Newhouse, about whom I can find almost no information on the web.

(I did find their religion listed as Jewish, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything: As I said, a lot of Jews are not Zionists.)

Here’s how the Columbia Journalism Review puts it: “Advance Publications is an anomaly when compared to its well known competitors. The newspaper and magazine publishing giant shuns corporate fanfare as it remains under the private control of the Newhouse family. While other media conglomerates must answer to shareholders and Wall Street analysts, Advance keeps a relatively covert corporate identity. The roots of the company date back over 90 years when the late Samuel Newhouse landed his first newspaper job in Bayonne, New Jersey. Even though the company controls such noteworthy properties as Conde Nast and The Newark Star-Ledger, Advance’s top two executives Si Jr. and his brother Donald still manage to uphold the same low profile as their father once did.”

And what can I find out about Samuel Newhouse? Not much, except that he was born Solomon Neuhaus in New York City in 1895, changed his name to Samuel Irving (Si) Newhouse, and became a media mogul.

What does that signify? Who knows?

But then who knows anything for sure about anything these days?