For Release: February 25, 2009
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or
Protest of New York Post's Chimp Cartoon is an Attack on Rupert Murdoch, Black Activist Says
Washington, D.C. - Three apologies were offered by New York Post editors and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, for an editorial cartoon said to compare President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee. None of these apologies were accepted. Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie says it is time to recognize the protests for what they are: revenge and an attempt to silence conservatives.
"When Al Shaprton was investigated for tax evasion, it was the New York Post that broke the story. Now Sharpton seems to be blowing this cartoon out of proportion to get even. I also think others are using ambiguous allegations in a larger attempt to punish Rupert Murdoch and his media empire for not toeing the liberal line," said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie. "There is a tenuous link, at best, between this cartoon and Obama."
In a February 18 editorial cartoon in the New York Post, drawn by Sean Delonas, two policemen have shot a chimpanzee. One cop says to the other: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." Al Sharpton calls the cartoon proof of the paper's "racism" and has led two protests at the Post's headquarters. He is now asking the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider a waiver awarded to Rupert Murdoch - who as also owns the Fox News Channel - to own more than one newspaper and television station in a city.
A petition circulated by the NAACP claims: "Your publication sadly reminded me of the reality that even in 2009, when an African-American man holds the highest post in the nation, racism is alive and well in the United States." The NAACP petition also implies that the cartoon itself could encourage an attempt on Obama's life.
Murdoch offered an apology to those who were offended, but noted that "[t]he only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation."
The cartoon specifically recalls a recent chimpanzee attack in Stamford, Connecticut. The depiction of the chimpanzee bears no physical resemblance to Obama. Furthermore, Obama is not the author of the economic "stimulus" legislation referred to in the cartoon. In his address to Congress on February 24, Obama noted: "I asked Congress to send me a recovery plan... I am grateful that this Congress delivered."
Project 21's Massie noted: "If these critics had tried to tie the cartoon to black congressmen such as James Clyburn or Charlie Rangel, they might have had a leg to stand on. They aimed bigger, and this misfire exposes them. Sharpton is now asking the FCC to investigate the validity of Murdoch's media holdings. It's just another step along the path to their true goal of silencing conservative speech. This is just a battle in a larger war to reinstate the so-called 'Fairness Doctrine' so liberals can impose their political agenda on a free-market-driven talk radio."
"The criticism of cartoonists and parodies is also selective," added Massie. "Why aren't Sharpton and the NAACP complaining about much more blatant Bushorchimp.com? Where was the outrage when syndicated cartoonist Ted Rall called Condoleezza Rice 'Aunt Jemima' and depicted her calling herself a 'house nigga'? How about when Jeff Danziger portrayed Rice as Prissy from 'Gone With the Wind'? Their failure to condemn those blatantly racist acts exposes the petty political motivations of their current attack on Murdoch and the Post."
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.
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