New York Feb.19 (ANI): The New York Post yesterday called President Obama a chimpanzee.
That is sure how many people saw it. The stunningly offensive carton springs from the chimp rampage in Connecticut that ended with police shooting the crazed creature dead.
The artist, Sean Delonas, depicts two cops standing over the chimp's bullet-riddled body, one with a smoking pistol.
"They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill," the other cop says.
As human knows, Obama championed the stimulus package. A photo of the President signing the stimulus bill appeared in yesterday's Post, one page before the cartoon.
Readers who turned the page went right from the Obama photo to the chimp drawing. It drew outrage Wednesday from civil rights leaders and elected officials who said it echoed racist stereotypes of blacks as monkeys.
The cartoon's conscious intent may have been to say the stimulus bill as written by Congress is such a mess it could have been penned by a monkey.
But say "stimulus" to readers and they rightly think "Obama."
He is as much a personification of the package as FDR was of the New Deal. The Post's story even noted that no congressional leaders attended the bill signing. It was all Obama.
Some critics called the cartoon racist and said it trivialized a tragedy in which a woman was disfigured and a chimpanzee killed. Others said the cartoon suggests that Obama should be assassinated. Many urged a boycott of the Post and the companies that advertise in it.
"How could the Post let this cartoon pass as satire?" said Barbara Ciara, president of the National Association of Black Journalists.
"To compare the nation's first African-American commander in chief to a dead chimpanzee is nothing short of racist drivel," she added.
State Senator Eric Adams called it a "throwback to the days" when black men were lynched.
The Rev. Al Sharpton called the cartoon "troubling at best given the historic racist attacks of African-Americans as being synonymous with monkeys."
The cartoon set off a furious response against the Post. Its phones rang all day with angry callers. Protesters picketed the tabloid's Manhattan offices, demanding an apology and a boycott and chanting "shut the Post down."
Col Allan, editor-in-chief of the Post, defended the work.
"The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimpanzee in Connecticut," Allan said in a statement.
"It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist," he added.
The cartoon drew hundreds of comments on the Internet including at the liberal Huffington Post, where columnist Sam Stein wrote: "At its most benign, the cartoon suggests that the stimulus bill was so bad, monkeys may as well have written it. Most provocatively, it compares the president to a rabid chimp."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs declined comment.
"I have not seen the cartoon," he told reporters aboard Air Force One as Obama returned to Washington from Arizona, where he announced his plan to deal with the foreclosure crisis. "But I don't think it's altogether newsworthy reading the New York Post."
It is not the first time that Delonas, the longtime cartoonist for the Post's Page Six, has raised eyebrows with a heavy-handed caricature.
Delonas, and whatever editor or editors saw the cartoon before it went in the paper, cannot be completely unaware of the long and repulsive history of white racists calling African-Americans "apes" and "monkeys" and, yes, "chimpanzees."
Any association between the chimp figure and Obama is made all the more offensive by the bullet holes. The big unspoken fear many of us share is that Obama's triumph over racism will end in violence.
What the Post needs to do is apologize. (ANI)