Rupert Murdoch, the man behind The New York Post and Fox News Channel, hates to acknowledge public pressure. He never apologizes personally, no matter what his divisive news outlets do.1 But he just did.2
It took almost a week after The Post published its sickening "chimp" cartoon, but after nearly 110,000 ColorOfChange.org members demanded a real public apology and the firing of the editor who approved the cartoon, Murdoch actually apologized. It's unprecedented. And it would not have happened without your voice. According to Murdoch's biographer, Murdoch will very likely fire Col Allan, The Post's editor in chief, once things have quieted down -- as he should.3
Let's be real about what we're up against. Murdoch has done nothing to address the root of this problem. There's a longstanding pattern of vicious attacks on Black America by Murdoch's media outlets4,5. There's a lot more work to be done to stop the poison that constantly comes from Murdoch's media empire.
But this is an important victory. Forcing Murdoch into the public conversation around this cartoon has helped expose the connection between race-baiting at The Post and Fox News, and Murdoch's News Corp., which owns them both. The clearer it is who is ultimately behind this, the easier it is to put pressure where it counts -- on News Corp's profits. It sets the stage for stepped up activism and systemic change.
While we've got several strategies and tactics lined up, including creating overwhelming pressure on advertisers, we believe the timing isn't right. Murdoch's apology makes it much too easy for advertisers to justify supporting the paper -- at this point.
Still, every time we take collective action to confront Murdoch's media empire, we're building an army of people who are prepared to put real, long-term pressure on News Corp and its advertisers.
We will continue to let you know when we see moments where we can effectively challenge race-baiting at outlets like The Post and Fox News, diminish their influence, and create a healthier conversation about race in our media.
Thank you again for joining us in this fight, and stay tuned.
-- James, Gabriel, Clarissa, William, Dani and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
February 26th, 2009
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1. "Murdoch apologizes for cartoon," Michael Wolff on Hardball with Chris Matthews, 2-24-2009
2. "Rupert Murdoch apologizes for cartoon: 'The buck stops with me,'" Huffington Post, 2-24-2009
3. "Chimp writes NY Post editor's obit," Off the Grid, 2-23-2009
4. "Fox Attacks: Black America" (video), Brave New Films, 3-13-2007
5. "Fox News and its problem with African-Americans," ColorOfChange.org, 3-14-2007