NAACP Protests NY Post Cartoon Nationalwide

Eric Mayes | 3/1/2009, 11:44 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (NNPA) - The NAACP is calling for News Corp., which owns the New York Post and recently published a political cartoon €" artwork many said was racist €" to hire more minorities to ensure such an incident never happens again.

€We hope that Mr. Murdoch will make good on his apology and agree to make the needed changes in the newsroom and its policies,€ said Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp., has apologized for the cartoon.

Nevertheless, protests were planned at Fox News television stations in dozens of U.S. cities on Thursday because of the cartoon that critics said likened a violent chimpanzee to President Barack Obama. The cartoon featured Travis, a real-life chimpanzee shot recently by police in Connecticut, near New York, after it had attacked a woman. In the drawing, two policemen stand over the chimp€s body €" one says: €They€ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.€
J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the state and Philadelphia NAACP chapter, along with his members, were seen marching at the corner of Third and Market streets at the local Fox station on Thursday, with signs protesting the New York Post€s controversial cartoon. The national civil rights organization said demonstrations were scheduled in more than 50 cities €" including New York, Boston and Baltimore €" to protest the Feb. 18 cartoon. The group also decried what it called €racial insensitivity€ and lack of diversity at the paper and the Fox News station. Jealous said Murdoch had not gone far enough.

€We welcome Rupert Murdoch€s statement that the New York Post will endeavor to be more sensitive to the communities it serves, but unfortunately his apology fails to answer how the Post will do so,€ Jealous said in a statement. €Mr. Murdoch could resolve this unfortunate situation in 15 minutes by meeting to develop substantive measures to ensure that this type of incendiary incident does not happen again.€

Representatives for the Post and Fox News did not immediately respond to phone calls from the Associated Press. A spokesman for the Fox Networks Group, which runs the local TV affiliates, declined to comment. According to Jealous, the NAACP received more than 20,000 e-mails demanding that Murdoch apologize.

On Tuesday he did so.

€Last week, we made a mistake,€ Murdoch said. €We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize.€
The intent, he said, was to poke fun at the economic stimulus plan pushed by President Barack Obama, America€s first Black president.
It €was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately it was interpreted by many as such,€ Murdoch said.

€The apology from Mr. Murdoch is sadly too little, too late,€ Jealous said. €And we call on Mr. Murdoch to take the steps needed to assure that the New

York Post can practice more responsible journalism and truly be sensitive to its community in the future.€ Jealous continued by saying that the Post and Fox News have a history of racial insensitivity.

€With the support of the editor in chief, the cartoonist Sean Delonas has published numerous vile cartoons tinged with racism. Fox News was widely criticized during the elections for calling Michelle Obama €Obama€s baby mama€ and terming the affectionate and common fist bump between then-candidate Obama and his wife, a €terrorist fist jab€ at a time when death threats against the candidate were at an all time high for any presidential candidate,€ said Jealous. The problems, according to Jealous, run deeper than editorial content.

€The New York Post stands alone from most daily newspapers in refusing to report its diversity numbers to the American Society of Newspaper Editors,€ he said. €Clearly, with more diversity in its newsrooms, it€s likely the paper would have been able to understand the deeply offensive nature of the cartoon.€ The NAACP was not the only group to criticize the cartoon.

The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) has also condemned the cartoon calling it €despicable, insensitive and easily interpreted as racist.€ Both the New York and Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists condemned the material as well.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.