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NAACP actions planned in over 70 cities at Fox affiliates Thursday, February 26
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.
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.
Mr. Murdoch's apology comes only after almost a week of tens of thousands of expressions of outrage and disgust from people across the country. The offenders are still on staff and there are no measures being taken to increase diversity in its newsroom. The apology from Mr. Murdoch is sadly too little, too late 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.
The New York Post and Fox News have a history of racially insensitive reporting. 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 a t an all time high for any presidential candidate.
The New York Post stands alone from most daily newspapers in refusing to report its diversity numbers to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. One has to wonder how many Hispanic or African American reporters and editors are working at the New York Post? 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. Our guess is that the numbers are abysmally low for a newspaper serving a city with a population as diverse as New York.
It is hard not to interpret the cartoon, which was juxtaposed to a photo of President Obama, as an encouraging sign to those who would assassinate our 44th president because of the color of his skin. The depi ction of two police officers shooting down the primate is deeply troubling to communities who struggle daily with suspicious police killings. The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) has also condemned the cartoon calling it "despicable, insensitive and easily interpreted as racist." Good police officers all around the country should be dismayed by this slur on their character. African Americans have historically been compared to primates as a way to dehumanize the entire group. We were called monkeys while we were being brutally lynched and denied equal civil and human rights. In fact, a 2008 study published by the American Psychological Association found that an association between primates and African Americans still exists among many white Americans.
We hope that Mr. Murdoch will make good on his apology and agree to make the needed changes in the newsroom and its policies.