Monday, February 23, 2009

Hope. Change. Intimidation.

The New York Post did exactly what an American newspaper is supposed to do – expressed an editorial opinion on a government action. Had this been any previous administration, that would be all in a day's work.

But this is the age of Hope and Change, and if you don't believe it, there's a mob of brownshirts outside waiting to take set you straight.

The NAACP is calling for a boycott of the paper until the editor and cartoonist are fired. That's their prerogative in a free country. Peurile and petty, but hardly un-American. But now the Reverend Crybaby is crossing the line and demanding government retribution against the paper.
he Rev. Al Sharpton yesterday ramped up his protest against the New York Post's decision to print a cartoon that has been criticized as depicting President Barack Obama as a monkey. His comments came a day after the leader of the NAACP called for the firing of both the paper's cartoonist and editor.

Sharpton, with City Council member Letitia James (D-Brooklyn), spoke to reporters in front of radio station KISS-FM headquarters in lower Manhattan, where they called for the City Council to review the Post's employment records because they questioned whether the newsroom staff represents the city's diversity.

But they shied away from NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous' call for the ouster of cartoonist Sean Delonas and editor-in-chief Col Allan. "Yes, the cartoonist ought to be dealt with, and the editor," said Sharpton. But he said "just firing them and not dealing with the overall problems of who's in the newsroom" doesn't address what he termed the "unfair setup" of staffing.

Sharpton also said he was starting an online petition drive to collect signatures in an effort to force the Federal Communications Commission to remove the waiver that allows the Post's parent company, News Corp., to run more than one media outlet in the area. "This is not the first time they have denigrated people of color," said James. "Now is the time to do it."

Jealous, speaking at the NAACP's annual meeting Saturday, said the cartoon was "an invitation of assassination" because the monkey - depicted as shot dead by police with the words "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill" - could be construed as being Obama.

Forget for a moment that the cartoon had nothing to do with Obama. Forget that we've been regaled ad nauseum with actual chimp/president juxtapositions for the past eight years. Forget the actual calls for assassination that the NAACP and Reverend Loudmouth were perfectly copacetic with. Let's suppose the chimp really was meant to represent Obama.

Is this going to be the fate of any media outlet that takes a less-than-adoring stance on The One's policies? Their licenses to print (or broadcast, or blog) will be contingent on their unquestioning approval of the current administration? This is (or was) America, where reinforced-recessive mouth-breathers like the Ku Klux Klan and the Southern Poverty Law Center are free to speak their puny little minds. At least for now. Whether that will still extend to both sides of the aisle in a few years is apparently up in the air.

The president Himself, I notice, hasn't actually said anything about the cartoon. (At least not that I've heard.) But that's irrelevant. His followers, the same ones that intimidated white voters and vandalized houses with McCain signs, are rising up to silence any dissenters on his behalf. As much as I respect Godwin's Law, I can't escape the resemblance, especially in light of the attempts to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine and Obama's comments about Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Combining government retaliation with brownshirt tactics has an ominous ring to it.

Oh, and perhaps it's time for Letitia James to step down, in light of her use of a racially offensive term above. Bigot.

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