The Cartoon Controversy

Was the cartoon meant as an insult to the President?

By Gabe Pressman
|  Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009  |  Updated 8:00 PM EDT
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The Cartoon Controversy

AP

Was the Post cartoon a slam at Obama? (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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The cartoon in the New York Post suggests that the writer of the Obama economic stimulus bill is an ape.

        The cartoon was apparently inspired by the tragic incident involving a  pet chimp that went wild and mauled a woman. The animal was shot dead by police officers.
        
One of the cops standing over the chimp with a smoking gun is quoted in the cartoon's caption as saying: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
         
Was the cartoon meant as an insult to the President? Was it intended to insult African-Americans? Some black leaders and others think so. Whatever the motive, the cartoon didn't seem funny.
 
The stimulus bill is intended to revive America's economy to benefit all citizens. Editorial writers and cartoonists certainly have a right to criticize the bill and its supporters. That's guaranteed by the First Amendment. 
 
The Post's editor-in-chief, Col Allan, insists 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.''
 
Yet this attempt at humor or satire or whatever else it was intended to be fell far short of the mark. It wasn't funny. Some critics thought it was racist. It was hurtful to many citizens of New York.      

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