...the image is satirical only because it appears on the cover of the New Yorker, which, we all know, is a right-thinking magazine read by right-thinking people who couldn't possibly be among the 10 percent of Americans who believe Obama's a Muslim. The New Yorker assumes everyone knows it's being ironic with its cover, sort of the way the white hipster in a gentrifying neighborhood assumes everyone knows he's being ironic when he wears a "Stop Snitching" t-shirt. But put that image on the cover of National Review, or that t-shirt on a black person in a crime-infested neighborhood, and the message takes on a very different meaning.
...this is a cartoon.
The very medium mocks and dismisses the content of the picture. Anyone who didn't get the joke would be left looking at a caricatured illustration, not a believable image of Obama gripping bin-Laden's portrait. What's actually happening, I think, is that the New Yorker is a physical institution that can be criticized, while the e-mail forwards and talk radio whispers actually fueling these rumors -- in their believable, not their cartoon, forms -- won't stand still long enough to be subject to public opprobrium.
It's July, isn't it?