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Posted at 11:45 PM ET, 02/20/2009

The Post-Chimp Poll: Was the NY Post's Apology Pretty Sorry?

By Michael Cavna

As we move into the "mea culpa" phase of the New York Post controversy, its political cartoonist Sean Delonas might want to ring up Don Imus's attorney for a little advice. Then again, throwing himself on the mercy of the court of public opinion -- with Al Sharpton as witness -- didn't exactly aid Imus's cause or career.

Imus's attempts at public apologia after using a racist slur in 2007 were delivered so ineptly that they only seemed to add high-octane fuel to the fire. Now the New York Post has issued a "partial apology" to those who were "offended by the image." The Post, though, qualified its statements, offering no apology to those "in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past."

Ultimately, will this approach to public apology, whether warranted or no, prove inept, if not ineffective? Already, in response, the NAACP -- saying it is "half of an apology, without elaboration" -- has called for the firings of Delonas and his editor. And New York City Councilman John Liu wants the Secret Service to investigate the cartoon as a possible threat.

Here's an AP video that describes the Post's "partial apology" and the protest outside the N.Y. Post's building:

The NAACP, among others, has spoken this weekend. Now, it's your turn to grab a bullhorn and step on the soapbox. The Burning Question of the Day for followers of this cartoon kerfuffle is this:


Elsewhere, "Comic Riffs" was quoted for THIS new Associated Press story about how political cartoonists wrestle with satirizing President Obama -- and whether they're treading lightly. This, of course, has been an ongoing discussion (at least since last summer) among those in cartooning circles. In the wake of the Delonas cartoon, though, these ideas are being aired anew -- and circulated widely -- to an audience whose interest is now piqued.

And lastly, lest we fail to realize: The ultimate irony in all of this is that the point behind Delonas's editorial ire was that he believed a public work put to paper had been poorly written. Talk about your profound twists of fate.

As the ol' saying goes: Take care not to become the very thing you attack.

By Michael Cavna  | February 20, 2009; 11:45 PM ET
Categories:  The Political Cartoon  
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Next: The Vote: Who Deserves Cartooning's Oscar?


Frankly, anything involving Al "Will be outraged for $" Sharpton smacks of self aggrandizing hypocracy. This racial accelerant would rather be outraged over a bad Political Cartoon (of which Sharpton fails to understand why that genre is not supposed to be "funny", unlike the Saturday Morning style he is used to)than over Chris Brown using his gal pal Rihanna as a punching bag. When men use women as their outlet for outrage, the good Rev Al is as silent as Harlem on Sunday morning. The NYPost's apology is sufficient, they do not need to include Sharpton. We here in Dutchess County, NY know Sharpton has never apologized to former DA Steve Pagones, for ruining his career over the Tarana Brawley case. Until Sharpton does, he deserves nothing but silence.

Posted by: prettyfunnylady | February 21, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Does this count as one of those idiotic comics polls that has no real significance?

Posted by: MikePeterson1 | February 22, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

>> MikePeterson1:

Well played. And only if the NYPost apology suddenly sees a massive write-in vote that insists the Delonas toon deserves a Pulitzer, haha. Or it loses to Ziggy,


Posted by: cavnam | February 22, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

There was some element of bad taste when I first saw the cartoon, but after realizing
it's connection to recent events I came to
understand it. It was somewhat insensitive to historical rascist attacks, but the intensity of the protest of the NAACP is going too far and they are creating a rascist issue where none was intended. It's time to fight against the injection of racism into places where it wasn't intended. Eric Holder was right, we should courageously engage the rascism issues that are still lurking in our country until race sensitivity no longer even comes to mind. Don't be coward, take 'em on, don't fire the cartoonist; stick to your guns. Rather, I'd donate $50 to the company to see a cartoon lampooning the NAACP in your paper.

Posted by: solmail | February 22, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Michael, I saw the AP article and the first thing I thought was that "Comic Riffs" was way ahead of the curve when it came to this whole subject. Are you prescient? From reading this blog for quite a while it's clear that you know your subject well.

Posted by: elyrest | February 22, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe the people in this country can't find anything else to complain about. IT'S A CARTOON.. Have we ever apologized to any other president for cartoons that have insulted them. I DON'T THINK SO... WHY SHOULD WE START NOW.. FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Wasn't this supposed to be a generalized analysis about the entire group being a joke! Will we ever stop paying for "slavery" - we are all slaves the way I look at it - we take what the govt gives us with no choice! I live in MA and will have no choice to pay for something many ignorant individuals created in a part of the state I don't live and isn't it ironic from a black governor nonetheless. Cup of coffee a day is all the gas tax will add to the normal individuals - Some of us aren't fortunate to live that close to our jobs and will pay more like a meal at one of the most expensive restaurants around. What about our Gov Patrick's trips to China and California at our expense - haven't heard him being made accountable!!! How about you check into that and write something on black govt corruption. Have you read "Don't Matter who said it!!" - Google it sure fits. United Negro College Fund, Black Entertainment Television, Miss Black America - can a white person join these groups - discriminatory?????? How about Caucasian College Fund, Miss White America (Miss America allows every race and color so why do they need Miss Black America). This administration will tear apart our country not bring it together because they are now at the head of the chain and intend to make us pay for sins of the past whom by the way a white man saved them from. If you fire this cartoonist you have given in and every time a white man speaks out they'll demand his job and life as well. THINK ABOUT IT!

Posted by: mrove | February 22, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

>> elyrest:

first, glad you find this blog -- and our community -- worthy of making a regular stop. (it's a crowded e-world of options out there.)

as for anticipating the curve:
1. i try to base part of this blog on straight-up reporting. almost exactly a year ago--after "SNL" satirically charged the media with going soft on Obama--I began talking up dozens of fellow cartoonists and political satirists (including folks with SNL, Bill Maher, Chris Rock and late-night Comedy Central) and it soon became obvious: many commentators were finding Obama more difficult to skewer, for at least a half-dozen reasons. (Some of these commentators -- pre-Tina Fey as Sarah Palin -- were also prescient about the role of campaign satire in '08. The piece, "Comedians of Clout," ran in The Post in June.) The take-home here: It pays to have the privilege of spending hundreds of hours listening to satire's top pros.

2. That, and I've spent decades fascinated with satire and social change -- which is why I never stop returning to my Mark Twain, Walt Kelly or Richard Pryor.


Posted by: cavnam | February 22, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"I never stop returning to my Mark Twain, Walt Kelly or Richard Pryor."

With a threesome like that you can't lose. (Throw in a little Robert Benchley, George Carlin and classic Charles Schultz for good measure.)

Posted by: elyrest | February 23, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

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