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Murdoch sorry for NY Post cartoon seen as racist

world Updated: Feb 25, 2009 11:17 IST

AP
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New York Post Chairman Rupert Murdoch apologized on Tuesday for a cartoon that critics said likened a violent chimpanzee shot dead by police to President Barack Obama.

In a statement published in the newspaper, Murdoch said he wanted to "personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted." He said the Post will work to be more sensitive. Murdoch said the cartoon was intended only to "mock a badly written piece of legislation."

The president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which called for a boycott of the Post on Saturday, said the pledge to be more sensitive was welcome but did not go far enough.

"Mr. Murdoch's apology comes only after almost a week of tens of thousands of expressions of outrage and disgust from people across the country," NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement. "The offenders are still on staff and there are no measures being taken to increase diversity in its newsroom." The cartoon, published Wednesday, depicted the body of the bullet-riddled chimp Travis _ killed last week after mauling a woman _ and two police officers. The caption said: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

Critics said the cartoon, which appeared the day after Obama signed the stimulus bill, invoked racist stereotypes of blacks as monkeys.

But Murdoch said the cartoon was intended only to "mock a badly written piece of legislation."

A spokesman for the Post said the paper declined to comment on the NAACP statement or questions about whether anyone would be disciplined.

The Post last week issued a qualified apology, saying the cartoon "was meant to mock" the stimulus bill. But it added that some media and public figures who have long-standing differences with the paper saw the cartoon "as an opportunity for payback." Calling them "opportunists," the statement said: "To them, no apology is due."

The Rev Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist, is urging the Federal Communications Commission to review policies allowing Post owner News Corp. to control multiple media outlets in the same market.