Every kind of indirect communication, which is what satire is, presupposes some kind of in-group. It could be a preestablished in-group, as with an “inside joke,” or it could be an in-group by anticipation (which is what seems to be going on in Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, for instance).
Satire that uses racist tropes — like a certain publication’s cartoons about Muslims and refugees — presupposes an in-group that knows that of course that publication isn’t really racist, etc. And though I do wonder how far total indifference to being perceived as a racist can be separated from “direct” racism, let’s grant their non-racism for the sake of argument. My question is whether a faithful Muslim or refugee is ever presupposed as the audience, as part of the in-group. And the answer seems to be pretty clearly no. Even if the object of the satire isn’t the Muslims or refugees themselves, but instead the “politically correct” liberal discourse about them, Muslims and refugees are not envisioned as potential dialogue partners.
From this perspective, then, Muslims and refugees are the object of the satire in a different sense, insofar as they are completely objectified and instrumentalized when they are “thrown under the bus” in the service of the presumably more important goal of skewering “P.C.” liberals. So even if this kind of satire isn’t “directly” racist, it’s ultimately dehumanizing.
But then I’m probably just exposing myself as another one of those humorless “P.C.” liberals who can’t allow myself a good belly laugh at the thought that a drowned toddler would have turned out to be a sexual harrasser.