The New York Post, holding true to its well deserved reputation as a right-wing leaning, racist rag, ran a cartoon in its February 17 edition that depicted the shooting of a monkey and by not so subtle suggestion, inferred the animal was the President of the United States. The context of the cartoon is the recent real life mauling of a woman by a pet monkey owned by a friend. Only in the Post’s cartoon, the shooting of the monkey elicits a question as to who will write the next economic stimulus bill.
That the New York Post, owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, would run such an offensive cartoon is no surprise. The Post has made a reputation for itself for its juvenile, frequently ignorant, and often racist perspective in its news reporting and editorial positions. What surprises me in this instance is that the geniuses at the Post would not weigh the consequences of running a cartoon that denigrates the nation’s first Black President and equates him to an animal, while expressing a sense of relief that the animal in the cartoon has been killed. Those of us with little social standing have come to expect the [nigger] treatment from the Post. It is something quite different when they disrespect the President of the United States in that manner.
Yes, Post editors; Barack Hussein Obama is the President of the United States. It did not take long for your bitterness over Mr. Obama’s occupation of the Oval Office to take hold. The resentment over President Obama has been building since his decisive rout of Senator John McCain last fall. It has been evident in the tone of conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh toward the President and the pettiness of ex-Bush staff members such as Andrew Card, who criticized Mr. Obama over his choice of attire in the Oval Office. Then there was the Grim Reaper himself, Dick Cheney, criticizing the Obama administration’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay; already longing for the days of torture and mayhem even though he just hobbled out of office.
The real question is how to respond? Many people are angry over this cartoon and rightly so. It is vile at its core. Of course, it would send a message to the paper and advertisers who regularly support the Post, if Blacks simply stopped buying the Post or the products and services of advertisers who support it. Why stop there? Perhaps it is time to stop frequenting all of Murdoch’s properties, including the FX cable channel, the Fox News Channel, the Fox Business Channel, The Wall Street Journal, My Space, locally owned Fox broadcast television stations, movies produced and financed by Twentieth Century Fox , and Fox Sports. Simply, don’t buy it, don’t read it, don’t view it and don’t click it.
This incident should also be another wake-up call to our community about the importance of media ownership. We were asleep in 1996 when Congress passed the massive Telecommunications Act. That legislation threw caution to the wind and provided people like Murdoch the opportunity to collect media properties like a kid devouring candy on Halloween. Where there was once a clear demarcation in the control of properties across platforms, the Telecom Act gave the Murdochs of the world the opportunity to build an empire, that for him, now includes two broadcast television stations and a newspaper, in the largest media market in the nation. For whatever its worth, we need to stop the thief before he enters the bank vault, not after he’s cleaned it out.
One thing we must recall from our history and our ancestors is the fortitude and resolve that allowed us to maintain focus in the face of enslavement, lynching, torture, Jim Crow and a host of insensitivities. In the face of a very real threat to our very existence, we not only survived but also excelled in every facet of American life to which we fought to gain access. We must summon that inner strength when faced with insults in the manner of the Post’s cartoon.
Despite the obvious racist undertone of the cartoon, we should not allow it to distract us from more important matters at hand. We have too much to do. We are facing 12.6 percent unemployment overall in our community and 36.5 percent among Black teenagers age 16 to 24. While overall crime rates have subsided in many places, gun violence has been particularly commonplace in the Black community. HIV/AIDS continues to rip through our community and obesity is overwhelming our children. Get the point? The hell with the New York Post. We have more important matters to address.