UPDATE: NAACP Responds to Murdock’s Apology
We welcome Rupert Murdoch’s statement that the New York Post will endeavor to be more sensitive to the communities it serves, but unfortunately his apology fails to answer how the Post will do so. Mr. Murdoch could resolve this unfortunate situation in 15 minutes by meeting to develop substantive measures to ensure that this type of incendiary incident does not happen again.
Mr. Murdoch’s apology comes only after almost a week of tens of thousands of expressions of outrage and disgust from people across the country. The offenders are still on staff and there are no measures being taken to increase diversity in its newsroom. The apology from Mr. Murdoch is sadly too little, too late and we call on Mr. Murdoch to take the steps needed to assure that the New York Post can practice more responsible journalism and truly be sensitive to its community, in the future.
The New York Post and Fox News have a history of racially insensitive reporting. With the support of the editor in chief, the cartoonist Sean Delonas has published numerous vile cartoons tinged with racism. Fox News was widely criticized during the elections for calling Michelle Obama “Obama’s baby mama” and terming the affectionate and common fist bump between then-candidate Obama and his wife, a “terrorist fist jab” at a time when death threats against the candidate were at an all time high for any presidential candidate.
The New York Post stands alone from most daily newspapers in refusing to report its diversity numbers to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. One has to wonder how many Hispanic or African American reporters and editors are working at the New York Post? Clearly, with more diversity in its newsrooms, it’s likely the paper would have been able to understand the deeply offensive nature of the cartoon. Our guess is that the numbers are abysmally low for a newspaper serving a city with a population as diverse as New York.
It is hard not to interpret the cartoon, which was juxtaposed to a photo of President Obama, as an encouraging sign to those who would assassinate our 44th president because of the color of his skin. The depiction of two police officers shooting down the primate is deeply troubling to communities who struggle daily with suspicious police killings. The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) has also condemned the cartoon calling it “despicable, insensitive and easily interpreted as racist.” Good police officers all around the country should be dismayed by this slur on their character. African Americans have historically been compared to primates as a way to dehumanize the entire group. We were called monkeys while we were being brutally lynched and denied equal civil and human rights. In fact, a 2008 study published by the American Psychological Association found that an association between primates and African Americans still exists among many white Americans.
UPDATE: Rupert Murdoch Apologizes for Post Cartoon 2/24/09
Here is Rupert Murdoch’s statement on the Post Cartoon
As the Chairman of the New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.
Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.
Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you – without a doubt – that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.
We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.
UPDATE: NEW YORK – The head of the NAACP on Saturday urged readers to boycott the New York Post, calling a cartoon that the newspaper published an invitation to assassinate President Barack Obama.
Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, called on the tabloid to remove editor-in-chief Col Allan, as well as longtime cartoonist Sean Delonas.
Earlier this week, the newspaper apologized to anyone who might have been offended by the image printed Wednesday, which some say likens Obama to a violent chimpanzee gunned down by police in Connecticut.
Jealous said the cartoon was “an invitation to assassination.”
On Thursday, after protests by notable figures including director Spike Lee, the paper posted an editorial on its Web site saying the cartoon was meant to mock the federal economic stimulus bill, but “to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.”
A spokeswoman for the newspaper referred The Associated Press to the paper’s editorial when asked Saturday about the proposed NAACP boycott.
Jealous called the editorial “a half of an apology, without elaboration.”
The drawing, he said, “picks off the scabs of all the racial wounds.”
He spoke as the NAACP gathered for its annual meeting in New York, where it was founded a century ago.
NAACP officials said that if the Post does not take “serious disciplinary action,” they would reach out to organizations across the country to join them in their efforts against the tabloid.
NAACP Chairman Julian Bond called the publication of the cartoon “thoughtlessness taken to the extreme. … Anyone who is not offended by it does not have any sensitivity.”
UPDATE: NY Post Apologizes, Sort Of, Feb 20, 2009
After two days of protests, the New York Post apologized Thursday for a cartoon that some have interpreted as comparing President Barack Obama to a violent chimpanzee gunned down by police. But the newspaper also said its longtime antagonists exploited the image for revenge.
The qualified apology didn’t mollify at least some of the cartoon’s critics, who said they might continue protesting Friday.
The newspaper posted an editorial on its Web site Thursday evening saying the cartoon was meant to mock the federal, but “to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.”
The piece was posted hours after 200 picketers chanting “Boycott the Post! Shut it down!” marched in front of the paper’s office, saying the cartoon echoed racist stereotypes of blacks as monkeys.
The editorial said that “most certainly was not its intent,” adding that some media and public figures who have long-standing differences with the paper saw the cartoon “as an opportunity for payback.”
Calling them “opportunists,” the editorial said: “To them, no apology is due.”
The, who helped lead the outcry over the cartoon, criticized what he called the paper’s “conditional statement” of regret.
“Though we think it is the right thing for them to apologize to those they offended, they seem to want to blame the offense on those (who) raised the issue, rather than take responsibility for what they did,” he said in a statement.
The tabloid, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., is known for its feisty attitude, provocative headlines and conservative outlook — a mix that has garnered hundreds of thousands of readers, but also criticism over the years.
The newspaper had stood by the cartoon, which its editor called “a clear parody” about the death of Travis, the chimp that Connecticut police killed Monday after it mauled a friend of its owner. Editor-in-chief Col Allan had said the intent was to ridicule Washington’s efforts to revive the economy.
The drawing by longtime Post cartoonist Sean Delonas, published Wednesday, shows a dead chimp and two police officers, one with a smoking gun. The caption reads, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”
The Post was picketed and deluged with angry calls, with some of Thursday’s marchers carrying signs that said “Jail Billionaire N.Y. Post Owner.”
“We make them and we break them with our money, and we should shut it down,” said protester Angela Brown, who carried a glossy photo of Obama.
Some protesters said the cartoon not only underscored racist tropes but even suggested that Obama should be shot.
“Since when can you call for the killing of the president of the United States?” demanded City Councilman Charles Barron.
NEWSONE VIDEO OF THE FEBRUARY 19 RALLY:
Sharpton Rallies Against Cartoon At News Corp. Headquarters
12:30 PM EST
Rev Al. Sharpton is speaking before a rally at News Corporation’s midtown-Manhattan headquarters, protesting the publication of a racist cartoon by News Corp’s newspaper, the New York Post.
Other Black public officials are attending in support of the protest. The diverse crowd of protesters, between 300-400 people, are holding signs that read, “Boycott Racist New York Post and Fox News” and “Racist Attacks are Crimes and Must Be Punished.”
A middle-aged white, male passer-by commented to a NewsOne correspondent, “They’ll march for anything.”
When pressed to describe who “they” were, the man explained: “All these Al Sharptons and racial arsonists.”
More to follow….
NEWS ONE CALL TO ACTION:
Reverend Al Sharpton and filmmaker Spike Lee have organized a protest against the New York Post newspaper for the paper’s “vile and shameful disrespect of President Barack Obama and the African-American community.”
Let us raise our voices on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20TH, 5pm in front of the NY Post (1211 Avenue of the Americas, btw 46th & 47th streets) and be heard!
Here is the New York Post’s Response to Al Sharpton
In a statement, Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan said: “The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington’s efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist.”
New York, NY (February 18, 2009) –The cartoon in today’s New York Post is troubling at best, given the racist attacks throughout history that have made African-Americans synonymous with monkeys. One has to question whether the cartoonist is making a less than casual inference to this form of racism when, in the cartoon, the police say after shooting a chimpanzee, “now they will have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill.”
Being that the stimulus bill has been the first legislative victory of President Barack Obama (the first African American president) and has become synonymous with him it is not a reach to wonder whether the Post cartoonist was inferring that a monkey wrote it? Given that the New York Post cartoonist has come under heavy fire in the past for racially tinged cartoons including the infamous cartoons depicting 2001 mayoral candidate Freddy Ferrer and me in very unflattering ways (that ultimately was used as a campaign tactic to inflame racial prejudices), one cannot ignore that history when looking at this morning’s cartoon.
The Post should at least clarify what point they were trying to make in this cartoon, and reprimand their cartoonist for making inferences that are offensive and divisive at a time the nation struggles to come together to stabilize the economy if, in fact, this was yet another racially charged cartoon.
From The Huffington Post:
A cartoon likening the author of the stimulus bill, perhaps President Barack Obama, with a rabid chimpanzee graced the pages of the New York Post on Wednesday.
The drawing, from famed cartoonist Sean Delonas, seems rife with racial and political sensitivities. In it, two befuddled-looking police officers holding guns look over the dead and bleeding chimpanzee that attacked a woman in Stamford, Connecticut.