Ruben has an excellent article talking about satire and the importance of satirical intent. In his view, the satirical intent of The New Yorker cover is unclear, because you need too much context to understand what is the target of the satire. If the exact same cartoon was drawn by a conservative cartoonist and published in (say) the New York Post, it would be tasteless and offensive. “A cartoon shouldn’t rely on the context of its creator and publisher in order to successfully make its point.”
UPDATE: Added bonus cartoon:
© Tom Toles
I can tell the difference, but I’m worried that most people aren’t sophisticated enough to understand.