Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Murdoch apologizes for NY Post cartoon

Less than a week after the New York Post published a cartoon that appeared to compare President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee that severely mauled a Connecticut woman before police shot it to death, News Corporation chair Rupert Murdoch apologized in a statement printed in today's edition.

"Last week, we made a mistake," he said. "We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted."

The Post is certainly no stranger to controversy, and Sean Delonas' cartoon is only a latest in a series of caricatures that have sparked outrage among people of color, activists within the movement for LGBT rights and others.

Murdoch said he is "ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages." He further concluded "the buck stops with him." This mea cupla is almost certainly a welcome development to those who continue to protest outside the tabloid's Midtown offices and call for a boycott and even a review into the Federal Communications Commission's policy regarding Murdoch's New York market share. The fact remains, however, a number of concerns remain at the table.

The Post's editors ultimately decided to publish Delonas' cartoon that used racially insensitive imagery and language to opine against Obama's stimulus package. They almost certainly made this extremely unfortunate and cynical decision in order to garner attention for the tabloid. And the Post's numerous detractors almost immediately responded with protests and a threatened boycott, but this latest incident provides activists and others with an opportunity to think outside the proverbial box to send a clear and decisive message these cartoons will no longer be tolerated.

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