Denmark: US Now Has Own Cartoon Controversy

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

monkeyYou’ve heard by now of the kerfluffle over the cartoon published earlier this week by the New York Post (reproduced here for your convenience)? Although clearly inspired by the news story of a day before about how police in Connecticut had to shoot down a rampant chimpanzee, some prominent American public figures interpreted it as a reference to President Obama. Al Sharpton (of course) stepped up to call the drawing “troubling at best” and later, at a protest-rally, termed the Post “a racist rag sheet”; famed director Spike Lee announced his own boycott of the paper and called for others to join him.

The Danish press picked up the story as well, or actually their common press agency Ritzau did, since an identically-worded piece ran in Berlingske Tidende and in the religious paper Kristeligt Dagblad. Their take? That the US now has its own cartoon crisis to deal with! That is even in the Berlingske Tidende headline: “USA gets its own cartoon-affair,” and the very first sentences (after the lede) in the common news-piece is “It is not directed against Muslims in this case, but against African-Americans. That is what angry black representatives say about a caricature-drawing that was carried yesterday in the tabloid-paper New York Post.” The article then just goes on first to describe the circumstances of the cartoon’s publication and then to list complaints against it along with an (abbreviated) response from Post editor-in-chief Col Allen. Of course, it’s actually doubtful that those “angry black representatives” really included in their statements any caveat about the cartoon not having anything to do with Muslims.

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