Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Shame on You, Mr. Murdoch!!
It wasn’t enough that Chip Saltsman, a candidate to chair the defeated Republican Party, sent as a Christmas present (!!!) to fellow Party officials a CD featuring a parody song entitled “Barack the Magic Negro.” That same CD, compiled by a so-called “conservative satirist” named Paul Shanklin, contained 41 songs, among them “The Stay-Spanglish Banner,” “Mister Tan Marine Man,” “Wright Place, Wrong Pastor,” and “Bank of Amigo.”
Today, the New York Post elected to top that disgrace, hands down, by printing the following editorial cartoon by Sean Delonas.
The cartoon draws from the recent police shooting in Stamford, Connecticut of Travis, an out-of-control chimpanzee, with the two befuddled (and apparently Conservative Republican) cops lamenting that the country will have to find someone else to write the next economic stimulus bill now that the monkey is dead. The overtones are appalling, not just racist in the most disgusting and retrograde of ways but also not-so-subtly promoting violence directed at America’s first black President. This from an editorial board that routinely and slavishly supports its corporate soulmate, Mayor Bloomberg, particularly when it comes to the Mayor’s dictatorial control over the City’s public schools.
This cartoon, sad as it is, needs to be subject matter in every NYC high school history and government classroom when school resumes next Monday. Anyone who believes that racism, whether personal or institutional, is no longer tolerated, or is something whose vestiges remain only in the Deep South, needs only look at this pathetic attempt at political “humor” to disabuse themselves of this notion. Our children in the city’s public schools need to see that it’s still right here in their back yard, in one of their local daily (I shudder to dignify Murdoch's fish wrap with the word) newspapers.
An apology will not be enough. Nothing less than two firings will do - one for Mr. Delonas, the other for the editor who let this go to print. Boycott, anyone?
FOLLOW-UP ON FEBRUARY 19:
The Post issued an apology this evening for Wednesday's "dead chimpanzee" editorial cartoon. The apology, to be printed in tomorrow's edition, reads in part as follows:
It [the cartoon] was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill. Period. But it has been taken as something else - as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism. This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.
However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past - and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback. To them, no apology is due. Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon - even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.
This statement makes Alex Rodriguez's recent steroid non-confessional look like the hair-tearing, breast-beating, crying jag mother of all apologies. Sorry, Col [Editor Col Allen]. Sorry, Rup [Rupert Murdoch]. Not nearly good enough. If it weren't for the truth-telling likes of Al Sharpton and Keith Olberman, you would never even have gone this far.