CNN poses what they seem to think is a really tricky question: “Is it racist to depict Obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose?”
The witch doctor imagery is blatantly racist, critics contend.
Others remind that presidents get made fun off all the time, and the election of a black president has only made racially charged political satire more sensitive.
And they seem to take seriously the following defense: “Posters portraying President Obama as a witch doctor may be racist, organizers of Tea Party protests say, but they reflect anger about where he is leading the country.”
Now, there are of course interesting issues about whether racism is a property of an image, an image-maker, one who uses the image. Perhaps one could even imagine a far-fetched case in another possible world where the witch doctor image would not be a racist one. But in this world, no. And the question CNN is asking is not a sophisticated philosophical one. Instead, it’s one that shows that journalists have gone to far in trying to treat both sides of every issue with equal respect. (As if we didn’t know that already.)