Addressing the Roots of Media Racism

In his online column (2/26/09) for the Maynard Institute, Journal-isms, Richard Prince reports on those who see the New York Post‘s recent cartoon of a chimpanzee shot-dead–so that now “they’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill”–as “an opportunity to examine the factors that led to the cartoon’s appearance in the paper.” Specifically, “the NAACP plans to focus on diversity in newspaper newsrooms,” calling the incident “a reminder that when we get through with Fox and the New York Post, we need to focus on the newsrooms in the country”:

In December, an NAACP report pointed to “an ongoing trend where African-Americans and other minorities continue to be under-represented in nearly every aspect of television and film businesses, while largely being denied access to significant positions of power in Hollywood.”

The NAACP has been issuing such reports at least since 1999.

Diversity efforts in newsrooms have stalled and many have given the issue lower priority as economic and survival issues consume the time of editors and publishers.

Citing a poll showing “a majority of voters… believed the Post‘s cartoon had racist undertones,” “was directed toward Obama” and that the Post “should be responsible for dealing with the repercussions,” Prince also notes that there has “not been an African-American editor on the local news desk since 2001, when the late Lisa G. Baird, who had cancer at the time, was fired.”

Read about the Post‘s regrettably still relevant history of racism in the FAIR magazine Extra!: “New York Post: Militant White Daily” (1-2/93).