Sunday, February 22, 2009

New York Post's Racist Cartoon Continues to Spark Outrage and Protests

The New York Post continues to make headlines around the world, although not for their coverage of the war or the struggling economy - but for depicting the President as a dead chimp.

It's a new low even by the questionable standards of the New York Post as the editorial staff is apparently reduced to resurrecting the most base racist imagery in order to sell newspapers.

In the wake of the growing firestorm of controversy surrounding the disturbing cartoon (pictured above) depicting two white police officers standing over the blood-spattered corpse of a dead chimpanzee representing the President of the United States, the owners and editorial staff of the Post have further degraded themselves by issuing a half-ass apology that defended the decision to run the cartoon as a protest against the economic stimulus bill; suggesting they have absolutely no clue of just how offensive this cartoon is for many Americans.

But if the global media reaction is any indication, the Post is about to get a lesson.

On Saturday the nation's oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP called for a boycott of the paper, demanded a detailed apology and insisted that the editor-in-chief Col Allan and the cartoonist Sean Delonas both be fired.

Local television news stations here in New York City over the weekend featured updates on the story and interviews with New Yorkers in the street - who, regardless of race seem overwhelmingly aghast at the cartoon.

The question on many minds is why?

The editorial pages of the Post are typically populated by more Republican-leaning views that span the gamut from conservative thinkers like Robert Novack or Ralph Peters, all the way to bizarre fact-bending purveyors of angry, hate-filled right-wing rhetoric like Michelle Malkin or Bill O'Reilly - but this cartoon goes beyond that.

Aside from it's sports or entertainment coverage, one can always depend on the Post's articles and writers to present a perspective that will come down on the right. That's one of the reasons I read it, as a way to gauge conservative viewpoints that differ from my own. I've had two of my letters published.

But I've noticed that whenever an unarmed black suspect is beaten or shot by members of the NYPD, the Post inevitably spins the coverage as pro-police regardless of the facts of the case. Like clockwork, an article by cranky conservative crumudgeon Steve Dunleavy will appear extholing the virtues of police and blasting anyone who has the audacity to question police brutality.

But by now it's clear to millions of people of all races that the Post has stepped off the proverbial reservation and violated the boundaries of reasonable editorial commentary.

It's not a lampoon, a political cartoon or even a jest.

It is a violent and racist statement that dredges up the tired time-honored stereotypes that depict African-Americans as apes, gorillas or monkeys in place of well-reasoned intellectual discourse.

In response the Post printed a lame excuse for an apology and used the opportunity to label Al Sharpton as an instigator. Sharpton is what he is, but he didn't draw the cartoon.

It's flat out wrong of the Post to suggest the murder of the President (at the hand of two white police officers) because they disagree with the economic stimulus package.

What's next? Inspiring lynch mobs to storm the White House and lynch Presdent Obama because he passes legislation the Post doesn't like?

The editor-in-chief needs to resign immediately along with the cartoonist and an apology must be made by Rupert Murdoch. Period.

As an American I'm not really comfortable with an arrogant power-obsessed Australian media-tycoon condoning the murder of a US president because he doesn't like his legislation or his skin color - not when he owns other newspapers and two television stations here in the city as well.

Haven't we got enough problems to deal with without racists like Murdoch fanning the flames of hatred and ignorance to sell more copies of a newspaper?

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