"The New York Post" Just Doesn't Get It

On Wednesday, The New York Post printed this cartoon on page 6:


This morning, The Post printed this half-assed apology and offered an explanation of what they think they meant to say:

Wednesday's Page Six cartoon - caricaturing Monday's police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut - has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp's body: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.


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.

But lest there is any ambiguity about what they did, let us be absolutely clear:

1.  Two white policemen, suggesting powerful people who are WHITE people,

2.  Shooting (assassination is something I think all of us who love Obama deeply fear)

3.  a chimpanzee (an historically dehumanizing racial epithet)

4.  while suggesting in the caption that the monkey is the President

5.  and implicitly suggesting that killing the monkey is some kind of solution to an ambiguously defined problem.

This is the sort of calumny that existed in Jim Crow days.  The reversion to overt expression of this kind of psychological imagery at the beginning of the 21st century is incredibly disturbing.  

Tags: Barack Obama, The New York Post (all tags)



In this case it was a chimp.

I hate to feel like an apologist for The Post.  But...

The cartoon was a poor piece of satire but Obama doesn't seem to be the (direct) subject.

Here's the source for the chimp & police imagery:

Published: February 16, 2009

A 200-pound pet chimpanzee in Stamford, Conn., Monday viciously mauled a woman he had known for years, leaving her critically injured with much of her face torn away, the authorities said. The animal was shot dead by the police after he assaulted an officer in his car.

- snip -

One team of officers combed the woods for Travis, while another formed a protective cordon around the paramedics ministering to Ms. Nash, who Captain Ackley said also suffered multiple broken bones.

After a while, Captain Conklin said, Travis returned and "went after the officers." He knocked a mirror off the passenger's side of a police cruiser with one swing of his arm, then ran around to the driver's side, opened the door and attacked the officer in the driver's seat.

"He's trapped in his car," Captain Conklin said. "He has nowhere to go. So he pulls his sidearm and shoots the chimp several times in close proximity."

Points 1,2,3,5 come directly from this bizarre real-life, recent event.  Point #4 is open to interpretation but I find the cartoon only makes sense following the Post's interpretation.  It's not particularly funny, but neither is it offensive.  

Absent the shooting of the rampaging chimp story this week it would have certainly seemed to be nearing Klan territory.

I think that in this case, the chimpanzee is just a chimpanzee.

by January 20 2009-02-20 03:23AM | 0 recs
Re: In this case

 That statement would make you an idiot, at best.

by QTG 2009-02-20 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: "The New York Post"

Here's the problem as I see it. When I first saw the cartoon the Obama connection didn't jump out at me. I knew about the chimp shooting so that was the first connection I made. My next thought was, not funny and moved on.

Many others saw it completely differently and did make  connection to Obama and their perception of the cartoon is just as valid as mine. No  matter what the intent of the cartoon it is how it is perceived that matters.

The apology by the Post was needed, the last two lines though just weakened the apology to the point of making it sound like they don't mean it.

by jsfox 2009-02-20 04:00AM | 0 recs
Re: "The New York Post"

When I first saw this story I immediately thought of the chimp in CT and not of Obama.  That story was still hot in the news as of yesterday.

I figured the cartoonist was saying the stimulus bill was so bad that a chimp must have wrote it.

It doesn't even make logical sense to tie the cartoon chimp to Obama because the stimulus bill was largely written in Congress and not by Obama.

This is PC run wild ... again.   And the typical losers like Sharpton trying to rabble rouse and score points.

by RichardFlatts 2009-02-20 04:21AM | 0 recs
that is your interpretation

you may be wrong.  Frankly the whole thing is poorly done and they need a better cartoonist.

ps..sometimes a chimp really is just a chimp

by Teacher1956 2009-02-20 07:56AM | 0 recs

i cannot believe that a newspaper printed this.  honestly - this is beyond reproach.  now i wouldn't say that i agree with every point you made (assassination, etc) - but this cartoon is unbelievably racist and well - idiotic - haha - let's make a joke about killing an animal (wink, wink).

as a wise person pointed out elsewhere this cartoonist is a sicko with a long history of being a douche.

but this stinks to high heaven.  since its a well-known fact that the newspaper industry is slowly dying, is this the post trying to be inflammatory to drive circulation numbers?

fail, fail, fail.

by canadian gal 2009-02-20 06:14PM | 0 recs

this cartoon was despicable.  i had not heard of the whole chimp bullshit ( i don't have a TV which, thankfully, keeps me from hearing about a lot of this "news"), but it was still completely irresponsible.  

the nypost is not a high school paper.  there is not one person doodling in the corner.  this cartoon was decided on by a group of people with power within the structure at nypost.  are you honestly doing to tell me that NOT ONE person in that room when this editorial decision was being made thought that this might be taken the wrong way?  not ONE PERSON who is deeply trained to pick up the slightest mistake or misreadable copy in an article??  GIVE ME  A BREAK!  They knew.  It was a conscious decision.  end of fucking story.

the rightwing media in this country has a deplorable history of sending dogwhistle messages OKing violence to their mentally unstable fringe.  words are important.  we have to protest with full volume when things like this come out against obama.  we can't afford to have some crazy-ass racist messiah thinking that society is sending him on a mission.  

by bluedavid 2009-02-20 06:51PM | 0 recs

I think someone forgot that we recently acquired a new president.  The monkey man is no longer in office...

by selfevident 2009-02-21 11:49AM | 0 recs


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