What was the accusation?
In February 2009, The New York Post ran a cartoon depicting two police officers standing over the body of a dead chimpanzee, apparently fatally shot by one of the officers. The cartoon’s caption read, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.” The cartoon, clearly referencing the U.S. Congress’s passage of a $787 billion economic stimulus bill and the shooting of an escaped chimpanzee in Connecticut (two high-profile stories at the time), incited swift public criticism, with many interpreting the pictured chimpanzee to be a racist representation of U.S. President Barack Obama. One week later, New York Post chairman Rupert Murdoch issued a rare personal apology for the offense taken by Post readers, clarifying the original intent behind the cartoon and promising to be more sensitive moving forward.
Key Apologia Strategies:
Mortification, Good Intentions, Bolstering, Corrective Action
“As the chairman of The New York Post, I am ultimately responsible for what is printed in its pages. The buck stops with me.
“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.
“Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you without a doubt that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.
“We all hold the readers of The New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.”
Otterman, S. (2009, February 24). Murdoch apologizes for chimp cartoon. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/24/murdoch-apologizes-for-chimp-cartoon/
Perez-Pena, R. (2009, February 24). Murdoch apologizes in Post for cartoon of chimpanzee. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/nyregion/25cartoon.html
Rupert Murdoch apologizes for chimp cartoon. (2009, February 24). CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/24/cartoon.murdoch/index.html