Rolla, Mo.: Doesn’t the New Yorker cover show how much they actually don’t understand the very people they are trying to lampoon, given that this picture will be used over and over during the rest of this campaign by those very people?
Howard Kurtz: When I talked to Editor David Remnick about this — see my column today — he was convinced it was an obvious satire and wasn’t worried that people would take it the wrong way. But I knew it would be like throwing nitroglycerin on the campaign trail. Portraying Obama and his wife as Muslim terrorists may be a provocative way to get people buzzing about your magazine, but it also has the efffect of putting all the ugly smears about the candidate out there in one arresting visual.
Chagrin Falls, Ohio: Mr. Kurtz, you were upset when bloggers said cruel things about Ted Kennedy’s cancer — rightly so. What do you have to say about those doing the same thing with Tony Snow?
Howard Kurtz: I would say it’s outrageous, but I haven’t personally seen any examples. I’m not saying that Snow’s life and career should be above criticism because of his death. We don’t need to sanitize the lives of those who pass away. But crude and hateful comments about someone who’s just died should be shunned.
Montpelier, Vt.: I have sympathy for his family, but has anyone pointed out that Tony Snow was a liar and an apologist for the war crimes and torture practiced by the Bush administration? Honestly, not too many people would take that job and say what he said because too many people are honest and don’t want to be defenders of the undefendable.
Howard Kurtz: I am not familiar with any instance in which he personally lied. (I am, however, familiar with instances in which he went too far in offering his opinion and had to apologize or pull back.) If you want to hold him responsible for what you see as the crimes of the Bush administration, be my guest.