Barack Obama, Media, politics, Trifling Person of the Week

TPN‘s Trifling Publication of the Week


The New York Post

Publishing a cartoon that implies that the President of the United States is a chimp would have made sense if George W. Bush were still in office. There’s photographic evidence that illustrates those similarities. But,  given the country’s history of racial prejudice that has included likening African Americans to chimps, monkeys and other non-human primates, using an image that implies that analogy to the country’s first African-American President is just tasteless. Offering an apology a full day and a half later that fails to acknowledge this issue and is only directed toward “those who were offended by the image” and not “some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past” is equally disrespectful…and trifling.

–Shawna Collier

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24 thoughts on “TPN‘s Trifling Publication of the Week

  1. The publisher should be censored, the cartoon was bad enough, but the decision to print it was in the worst taste. It was offensive on so many levels.

    Posted by Elizabeth McSweeney | February 20, 2009, 9:30 am
  2. Shawna Collier’s post shows her ignorance and over-sensitivity! If Al Sharpton had not mentioned racism no one would have complained. When I first saw the photo I saw it as it was intended: The ‘stimulus’ was written by a monkey, be it Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, or whomever. Plus the shooting of the chimp at about the same time. In other words, it was a ridiculous bill that was voted on which no one read (except the monkey). I suppose Shawna wouldn’t have noticed if a black chimp was depicted as being white, then she would be considered as intelligent as myself, realize it was Pelosi full of bullet holes. She gave her self away when she compared the monkey to Bush. Grow up.

    Posted by Jim McCall | February 20, 2009, 9:49 am
  3. I’d like to think the Post was trying to say that a chimp could have written the package rather than likening the President to a chimp (i.e., criticism of the package vs overt racism). However, given our history, it is too easy to think they intended the latter and I can’t believe no one considered that that’s how it would be taken. I am absolutely amazed that that cartoon was allowed to make it to publication. And their apology? Just shameful.

    Posted by Anne | February 20, 2009, 9:52 am
  4. Seems to me the cartoonist was hinting at the “monkeys and the typewriters and all the books in the British Museum” analogy. Might have been referring to the fact that a monkey was smarter than to write a stimulus bill to stimulate the economy three years from now. If you remember, three years ago house prices were doubling ever three years. Or it could be some local issue I’m not aware of. Was George Bush caught being a squeegee man?

    What, exactly, is the writer’s point?

    Posted by Nolanimrod | February 20, 2009, 10:22 am
  5. From the comments I learned that the Post made an apology for this cartoon. OK, Post!!! Pretty smart getting assholes like Sharpton to increase your circulation during a difficult period.

    Posted by Nolanimrod | February 20, 2009, 10:27 am
  6. Unlike the New Yorker ‘fist bump’ cover (which I loved), even if one had heard a news blip that some 200-pound ape had been shot and killed by police, the satire here is weak. An ape that attacks and almost kills a woman = the new administration that’s trying to prevent further financial chaos left behind by a disgraceful former administration? What?

    Posted by Daved | February 20, 2009, 10:41 am
  7. I have unsubscribed from this site. What used to be a funny website has turned into another way to air “poor us” grievances. If I wanted to read about this type of thing, I would look up Al Sharpton or “Reverend” Jesse Jackson, both of whom we should all be ashamed represents the African American community.

    Shawna Collier responds: “African American” takes a hyphen when used as an adjective, Kevin.

    Bill Matthews responds: Ignore Shawna, Kevin. She’s just upset you don’t think she’s funny.

    Shawna replies: Bill, he doesn’t think you’re funny either–he said the site wasn’t funny anymore, not just me.

    Bill says: Dammit! If only the government would stop holding us back. Then we could be funny again. Poor us.

    Posted by kevin | February 20, 2009, 11:40 am
  8. Your poll needs a more subtle option:

    The cartoonist did not intend to invoke imagery that would be perceived as racist, but the imagery itself is profoundly racist, and its publication reflects an appalling degree of ignorance or indifference to the way it would be perceived by the general public. By unintentionally publishing such an explicitly racist cartoon, the Post has revealed how implicit racism is deeply embedded in the words and images we all use to describe our world, and their own failure to reflect on those images before putting them in print.

    Posted by brad | February 20, 2009, 12:00 pm
  9. I guess it comes down to your point of reference. When I saw the cartoon, President Obama did not come to my mind. I am wondering if the cartoonist meant for the officer to pull his tazer…

    Posted by Renee | February 20, 2009, 12:42 pm
  10. I agree: The poll is too simplistic. I could not choose any of the three options.

    Posted by Daved | February 20, 2009, 1:31 pm
  11. Even if the cartoon wasn’t intended as racist satire, it’s pretty unlikely that no one on the paper’s staff ever clued in to the fact that it could easily be interpreted as such. So it seems impolitic, at best, to have run it. Although, there’s the argument that PC has run amok and you can’t worry about every possible way of insulting people. Personally, I think it was in the poorest of possible taste, but then I don’t waste my time/money on that rag anyway.

    Posted by Stephan | February 20, 2009, 2:40 pm
  12. People need to get a grip. Racism will never go away until EVERYONE, be they black, white or freaking purple stops trying to read more than is there. If the exact same cartoon had been printed when Bush introduced the first stimulus package, there would not have been this much controversy even though it said the same thing. The monkey in the cartoon was meant to represent congress as a whole, or did you not pay attention to who truly authored the current stimulus package.

    Posted by Rhia | February 20, 2009, 3:34 pm
  13. Wow, that really offends me. My first reaction was that they’re implying that President Obama is going to be shot…very racist if you ask me.

    Keep up the good news, guys.

    Posted by Chris | February 20, 2009, 5:05 pm
  14. Too many people spend WAY too much time looking to make things racist; as long as people want to see racism in EVERYTHING there will continue to be racism…

    Posted by Michael | February 20, 2009, 6:03 pm
  15. Just when America thought we “transcended” race..haha..I guess this what life in the post-Obama era will be like : ) (sarcasm)

    I can see the point of the satire but seriously when the average persons thinks of who wrote the stimulus plan its automatically President Obama…a

    Posted by lilybug | February 21, 2009, 4:32 am
  16. I thought it was Nancy Pelosi who actually wrote that stimulus package.

    When racism is put into every issue, it diminishes actual racism.

    If it was actually racist, wouldn’t there be other racist symbols in the picture, such as fried chicken, watermelon, or kool-aid? Aren’t these “symbols” of racism as well?

    Give me a break! Go back to doing actual satire guys, not this kind of foolish stuff.

    By the way, are we certain the artist of the cartoon is white? Would it not be racism if the artist was black? Isn’t that how it works in America? Only white people can be racist?

    The Peoples News responds: Yes, Kelli, we are certain that Sean Delonas is white. But who cares? His skin color had nothing to do with this editorial cartoon being trifling.

    We at TPN can’t help but notice that you only write annoyed/angry posts when we label white people trifling. Is that how it works in America? Only black people can be trifling?

    Posted by Kelli | February 21, 2009, 1:35 pm
  17. “Trifling” to say the least. This does the American public a disservice. The New York Post should be truly apologetic, not childish.

    Posted by Daymon The Basketeere | February 22, 2009, 12:40 pm
  18. Well, we finally seem to be having that “national conversation about race” that they keep asking for.

    Posted by KenK | February 23, 2009, 2:44 pm
  19. As an ordinary white person – and a fan of the Peoples News – I can say with certainty that white people CAN be trifling. Yes, yes, yes, a million times yes.

    Posted by CandyKay | February 23, 2009, 3:32 pm
  20. My comment was not that white people can’t be “trifling”. If you want to look at it that way, where is the outrage on your site at the Jeremiah Wright comments? “Trifling” white people? How ’bout Harry Reid who didn’t want the only African-American senator seated in the US Senate? What about Joe Biden saying that Barack Obama was the only clean black person he knew? Oh, and Joe Biden’s comments about every Dunkin Donuts being full of Indian people? Yeah, that is “trifling”.
    With regards to the race of the artist of the cartoon, it is linked to the usage of the “N-word” in conversation as a term of endearment. A young white male living in Detroit could not refer to his African-American friend in such terms. That word is racist only when white people use it…

    The Peoples News responds: Jeremiah Wright’s comments became public before we started this website–though we did address them eventually.

    As far as the N-word: We’re sorry that not being able to use that word as freely as your forebears bothers you so much. Hopefully this linguistic oppression hasn’t stopped you from living an otherwise full life.

    Posted by Kelli | February 24, 2009, 4:52 pm

    The Peoples News responds: You told us 10 days ago that you were Appalachian-American, Kelli, so that’s what we assume you are. Regardless, we’re not saying you’re racist. We just noticed from your previous post that you seemed to have some anguish over not being able to use the N-word, and we were concerned.

    And you know, when you use all caps, it seems like you’re shouting.

    Posted by Kelli | February 25, 2009, 1:08 pm
  22. Wait a minute, I just re-read a post by Kelli on 2/21: when did Koolaid become a racist symbol? Did I miss a memo here?

    Posted by KenK | February 27, 2009, 4:10 pm
  23. Unless I’m mistaken, didn’t political cartoons refer to Bush as a monkey all the time?

    Why is a political cartoon calling the mostly-white congress a bunch of chimps suddenly a racist attack?

    Posted by Ragtatter | February 27, 2009, 10:10 pm
  24. lets now focus our energies on all the positive changes Barack in making…

    Posted by august | March 2, 2009, 12:02 am

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