Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

New York Post’s degrading, violent, racist cartoon against President Obama earns it the Media Putz

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Originally published on on February 19, 2009

New York Post

Political cartoons are meant to be expressions that aren’t for the tame. A political cartoon that is too nice probably isn’t doing its job.

But there are certain lines where political cartoons should not go, and the New York Post crossed that line on Wednesday.

The cartoon is of two policemen standing over a chimp lying on the ground shot to death. The cop who isn’t holding the gun says to the cop holding the gun, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

We’re told that the theme is related to an incident in Stamford, Connecticut this week where a woman was attacked by a popular pet chimpanzee. Ultimately, a cop shot and killed the chimp.

Even if you were aware of the chimp story (and that’s a stretch), you still have to ask “and this relates to the stimulus package how?”

The disturbing part of the Sean Delonas cartoon is that it can be seen as degrading on multiple levels. The cartoon could be racist, comparing the first African-American president of the United States to an ape, long a favorite image among racists. Or it could be political — that an ape wrote the legislation. Or writing a stimulus package correlates to a likelihood to attack someone.

The cartoon isn’t funny or poignant and doesn’t even has a clear message. It’s offensive on multiple levels, depending on one’s vantage point — without redeeming value.

In response, New York Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan said: “The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington’s efforts to revive the economy.”

To summarize Allan, the effort to revive an extremely sick economy is comparable to a chimpanzee on the loose who attacks a woman and the policeman, using life-extinguishing brutal force, represents the GOP leaders in the House. Or is it the right-wing media to the rescue with a gun?

This isn’t the first time Delonas has come under controversy. This blog entry notes that Delonas ripped off his own work, and was even lazy in doing so.

And then there’s this lovely collection of his tasteless, gay-bashing (among other groups), degrading political cartoons.

There is also a question about talent: Delonas, being obsessed with gay-bashing, draws former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey as if he looks like Barack Obama. McGreevey and Obama look nothing alike.

It’s not like the New York Post is known for taste or decorum anywhere in its ink-stained, tabloid, “I need a shower after I read it” pages. And there is a certain expectation that cartoons will occasionally be tacky. But a violent, degrading cartoon without a funny or relevant analogy is going far too far, and so we name the New York Post the Media Putz of the week.


Written by democracysoup

February 19, 2009 at 6:00 am

Posted in media criticism, MSM

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