Today, I received a Facebook invitation to the group “1 Million People Who Will NEVER Buy A(nother) NY Post Newspaper!!!” from two of my friends who are very intelligent and well-informed people. . .but I immediately declined the invitation.
The group suggests boycotting the New York Post for running a political cartoon that subtly hinted that the dead chimp (a reference to the pet chimp that was shot after going on a rampage in Connecticut) on the cartoon was President Obama. Reverend Al Sharpton has been leading the protest, declaring that the cartoon was racist. I don’t see how years of depicting former President Bush as a monkey went by without controversy, yet the first instance of showing President Obama in the same fashion sparks so much commotion. As you all know, I am a huge supporter of Obama, and of course I think that the cartoon was insulting and lacked direction of its message. However, someone, the artist behind that cartoon, thought differently. In their view, this visual metaphor was a clever play on recent events, both common American news stories and major events related to the economy. If the New York Post (or any newspaper) didn’t show these things – radical news stories, opinions stories from all perspectives, or political cartoons that offered new points of view – they would probably be called biased. It is the duty of news sources to provide its audience with a diverse range of views on subjects that interest and include them.
So, while I don’t agree with the message or idea of the cartoon that has caused so much trouble, I still believe it is the right and responsibility of news and media sources to present multiple viewpoints to their audience, even those viewpoints that might upset and enrage some. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right in the United States and I support it no matter who might be attacked by stories and cartoons like this one. And I honestly think that the racial aspect of this issue was non-existent until the African-American community brought it up. If the main problem that you have with the cartoon is the racism it supposedly suggests, I would like to hear your argument, because I honestly cannot see that issue as a part of the cartoon.
“I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write it.” -Voltaire