Friday, February 20, 2009

NYPost Apologizes... Sort of

The New York Post has apologized for the cartoon... sort of. Here is what the paper had 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.

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.

22 comments:

dan said...

HAnd this is the money quote from the apology:

"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."

PS: I still think you over-reacted, Deborah, as you often do when it comes to cartoons. That's the second time you've over-reacted. Chill. They are just cartoons.

Why don't you go after Jay Leno for his anti-French jokes?

hockey hound said...

This is the journalism taught in Western universities for how many decades. Of course NYP refuses to apologize. Even worse, these journalists believe that those who have found fault with their disgusting lack of moral aptitude are "the enemies of freedom".

Whoever authored this cartoon should be fired.

President Obama just finished visiting our country (Canada) yesterday, and it was such a happy event. NYP had to go and publish this malevolent cartoon and so attempt to ruin everything good about it. How totally disgusting.

These people have no sense of shame.

JafaBrit's Art said...

I guess they are still not getting it if they think it boils down to people just being offended or have a gripe with the paper.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Dan:
Jay Leno is a comedian. Newspaper cartoonists are called "editorial cartoonists" for a reason.

dan said...

Deborah,
What you said is true: re

"Jay Leno is a comedian. Newspaper cartoonists are called "editorial cartoonists" for a reason."

But "editorial cartoonist" just means their job title, which means that their cartoons appear on the editorial page real estate of the newspaper, NOT that they are speaking for the editorial board of the newspaper. That is a very different thing than a written "editorial" by the editorial writers of a newspaper. I think you are confusing these newspaper terms. Many non-newspaper people do this: many people do not know HOW to "read" a newspaper. If you were a daily journalist working in a newsroom, I think you would understand the context of this cartoon better. Really. There are editorial cartoonists on most major papers, Oliphant is one who comes to mind and he often gets into hot water with the Jewish community for his depictions of things in Israel, and I met him once and he is an acerbic, bitter, angry man, but a brilliant artist and cartoonist. I am sure he is not antisemitic, but some of his cartoons border on being you know what. But he does not speak for the papers he does his cartoons for. He is a mere hired hand, a cartoonist. The cartoon by Sean in the Post was not an "editorial" per se, but rather a cartoon that appeared on the editorial page. Many things appear on that page, letters, colummns, opeds, cartoons and yes, the real corporate "editorials" in written form. The cartoons are just entertainment for that page. Some entertainment this was!

dan said...

Deborah:

FYI

Wikipedia defines an editorial cartoon like this:

"An editorial cartoon, also known as a political cartoon, is an illustration or comic strip containing a political or social message, that usually relates to current events or personalities."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editorial_cartoons

dan said...

"We're surprised it took so long. The Reverend Al Sharpton, displaying an uncharacteristic reservedness, waited literally hours yesterday before releasing his statement of shock and outrage in regard to Sean Delonas and the New York Post's "racist" dead monkey cartoon. It's common knowledge we think Al Sharpton is usually wrong, and today it's no different.

It's not that we can't at all understand Sharpton's anger (hell, even WE were upset yesterday), we just think the political climate right now has people feeling a bit overly sensitive and irrational. Yeah, cops standing over a dead monkey while talking about Obama's stimulus package looks insane at first glance, but think deeper for a second.

For starters, one day before Obama signed the stimulus bill into law, police shot and killed a rampaging chimpanzee that had attacked a woman. It was an insane story that got lots of national press coverage due to its inherent sensationalism. Twenty-four hours later, the stimulus package, which CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS, not Barack Obama, wrote, was passed, despite being considered by conservatives to be a wildly overreaching and expensive piece of legislation, something an insane person (or wild animal) might draft. From there, you're just a piece of paper and some ink away from yesterday's fiasco.

Was the Post cartoon poorly executed? Sure. It probably should have said "Congress" somewhere on the monkey carcass, and maybe it shouldn't have been published at all due to the hair-trigger response people have when it comes to ape imagery and blacks (see the LeBron James Vogue cover). But really all it was doing was combining two big news stories into one dumb editorial cartoon. Save your outrage for the many, many times the Post and Delonas will actually screw up.
"

Jossip writer David Hauslib, a Jewish guy

dan said...

Sean Delonas is an award winning painter and illustrator whose work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, television and Broadway. He is best known for his cartoons that appear daily on PageSix of the New York Post. He also painted the Altar Painting for the Church of St. Agnes in New York.

dan said...

Via Romenesko, cartoonist Ted Rall is a bit more sympathetic:

Rall, who is familiar with Delonas' work, said he doesn't believe the cartoonist was saying anything about Obama. "It's about his economic advisers who wrote the stimulus bill, and they're a bunch of white guys."

Yet he also criticized the cartoon because it doesn't have a message. Delonas, he said, was employing a common editorial cartoonist technique of tying together two unrelated stories "and forcing these square pegs into round holes."

Such cartoons are "rarely clever" and "don't mean anything," he said, adding that many of his colleagues admit as much when such work is featured in major publications. "The reason cartoonists do them is because editors always print them, and when you do serious, hard-hitting stuff, it doesn't run."

fromwembley said...

There was and is no apology due. The New York Post should aggressively protects its first amendment rights and vehemently deny anything to those black extremists who want to hijack the media.

It should be no crime to offend. Some people - especially coloreds - find offense in anything.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

"The New York Post should...protect its first amendment rights"

Who the heck is talking about abridging their rights. You are raising a false issue and then coming to the defense of the Constitution.

The NYPOst has its rights and readers and critics have theirs.

No phoney issues here.

Hume's Ghost said...

If you listen to AM radio very much it's quite clear that the stimulus bill is identified as Obama's bill. Even if it wasn't, the violent implicity involved suggests that the author of the bill - whoever it is - deserves to be shot and killed.

Given the recent hate-crime against a Unitarian Universalist church by Jim Adkisson - whose letter of explanation railed against the "liberal movement" in almost exactly the terms that can be heard on AM radio on a daily basis - which he hoped would spur others to go out and kill "liberals" for ruining America's economy and the country in general, it was a terrible lapse of judgement to print this cartoon.

hockey hound said...

"Some people - especially coloreds"

Excuse me? I'm white and easily offended, that must make me one of those "coloreds".

hockey hound said...

"Even if it wasn't, the violent implicity involved suggests that the author of the bill - whoever it is - deserves to be shot and killed."

Exactly, Humes Ghost, and this "suggestion" is precisely what has offended so many people. We're talking about an American president here. The NYP was not very prudent in allowing this cartoon to go into print. This cartoon should have been critically examined beforehand for the possibility of its being perceived as racist and offensive to African Americans. NYP didn't give a damn about that, nor about the safety or the feelings of the new presidential family. Imagine President Obama's children seeing this cartoon. How disgusting.

hockey hound said...

I just heard on the news tonight that NYP was on the hotseat before for publishing an insensitive cartoon about JFK junior's death which showed him in "hell" with Joseph Kennedy. Apparently the head of this news group is notorious for ignoring public pressure, of not bowing to complaints. He did it then and he's doing it now.

dan said...

The cartoonist, Sean Delonas, told CNN, "It's absolutely friggin ridiculous. Do you really think I'm saying Obama should be shot? I didn't see that in the cartoon. The chimpanzee was a major story in the Post. Every paper in New York, except The New York Times, covered the chimpanzee story. It's just ridiculous. It's about the economic stimulus bill. If you're going to make that about anybody, it would be [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, which it's not."

Rebecca said...

The first thing I thought of when I heard about the cartoon was not that it might be racist, but that it was referring to the assassination of the president of the United States. We've had too many assassinations in this country to have people make stupid jokes about them. I don't think threatening to shoot the president or depicting him as having been killed should be protected by the First Amendment. And I think it is a logical inference to think that the one responsible for the stimulus package is the president, not some anonymous Congressional staffers - the president was pushing for it, was speaking about it and urging its passage. There was only one dead monkey in the cartoon, not several (who might represent Congress). Come on people, do we really want another president assassinated? There are already enough violent threats against President Obama from right-wing thugs - do cartoonists need to be implying that this is okay? Criticize the stimulus package all you want, but don't depict our president dead by violence. And no, I don't have a sense of humor about this.

hockey hound said...

"There was only one dead monkey in the cartoon, not several (who might represent Congress). Come on people, do we really want another president assassinated? There are already enough violent threats against President Obama from right-wing thugs - do cartoonists need to be implying that this is okay? Criticize the stimulus package all you want, but don't depict our president dead by violence. And no, I don't have a sense of humor about this."

Well said, Rebecca. His cartoon is totally imprudent (never mind how it must have offended President Obama's wife and children!) in that it seemingly (literally) advocates the shooting of the President of the United States! If this cartoon were found on some right-wing white supremacist website, there would be hell to pay. But being that it is the production of a major New York newspaper and the creation of a cartoonist in their employ, that's ok. I remember Jakie Mason's career was ruined because he didn't intermit his comedy routine (a totally innocuous faux pas) when Ed Sullivan motioned for him to stop because the President was making a national announcement, and this cartoonist gets away with this tasteless and dangerous cartoon??

dan said...

Tim Benson makes the point that having a black president means that all cartoonists will have to "tread more carefully".

"Issues of race as are as tricky as those of anti-Semitism," he says.

"It's almost impossible to draw an anti-Israeli cartoon without being accused of anti-Semitism."

hockey hound said...

"It's almost impossible to draw an anti-Israeli cartoon without being accused of anti-Semitism."

Well, dahhh. Has this guy taken a look at the associations and backgrounds of those drawing those anti-Israel cartoons?

'"Issues of race as are as tricky as those of anti-Semitism," he says.'

Well, dahh again. It's called being sensitive to others. The only people complaining about the necessity of being sensitive to others are those whose religion or ideology commands that they refuse to respect and/or hate others. If anyone here is too lazy to acknowledge this requirement for being an honest human being, then they have missed the point of this blog, in my opinion. I really have a problem with those who disregard the necessity of honesty while simultaneously they boast of being intellectual and noetic, even "liberated".

FAIIRPLAY said...

By coincidence we have just had a 15 year old chimp weighing 200 lb shot by the Police in the UK, it's handler could not control it, so she sent for a friend who could control it, the friend was seriously hurt by it, the ambulancemen who arrived would not enter the garden it was kept in fearing attack themselves from this ape, so an armed response team was sent for, one officer with a gun arrived, the chimp attacked the police car, it banged on the car windows, but thinking he was safe the Policeman sat inside the car studying it and trying to decide what to do, but to his surprise this tame chimp ran to the passenger side of this vehicle opened the door, climbed inside this vehicle and attacked the officer, who promptly shot it dead. I have a lot of respect for NYP dept, and this 'wild chimp' call out' is one I wished they had handled. The 2ND female handler lost her fingers, and suffered severe facial injuries. So lets be understanding at times about a Policemans lot.

hayden said...

hockey hound:

I don't see how a request for reason and transparency in a debate is disrespectul. I think it's important to define what is meant by racism because many people have very different ideas about it.

This is a forum in which comment is invited and therefore comments should be able to stand up to scrutiny and reason without challenges being labelled as "disrespectful" merely because they probe reason and observation.