Stop the Presses: A Murdoch Apology
"Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted," writes Murdoch.
Since coming to New York more than 30 years ago, the press baron and his Aussie troops have delighted in throwing gasoline on every racial fire they could spot. They even managed to set a few of the blazes themselves. But this is the first time in anyone's memory that Citizen Murdoch has ever personally picked up his pen to tell the public he's sorry -- about anything.
Murdoch says he's convinced that his news room boys had no racist intent in picturing a bullet-punctured monkey as the author of the economic stimulus plan (even though a photo of Obama signing the bill ran just a page away in the same paper). And cynics will note the apologia ran a week late, and just before Al Sharpton is expected to demand that the City Council cancel any ads in the paper.
But a more likely explanation is that the editors and cartoonist Sean Delonas, who doesn't draw a line without considering its possibilities for provoking racial snickers, didn't get the message that Sir Rupert is bent on changing his image. The media king now sees his New York future more in his new broadsheet, The Wall Street Journal, and less in the bad old tabloid that he's long used to punish enemies, reward friends, and toss racial brickbats.
While he's on the apology jag, maybe we can get Rupe to say he's sorry about that big made-up photo he ran a couple years ago on the front page of black transit union leader Roger Toussaint behind prison bars. Just for starters, that is.
Correction: Ever-vigilant Runnin' Scared colleague Roy Edroso corrects me that Rupert Murdoch has indeed apologized in the past -- to Chinese dictators whose good graces he needed to keep his Sky TV beaming Murdochian news to the teeming masses.