Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Murdoch Apology: What a difference a few days/decades make

Today Rupert Murdoch of Newscorp, Fox News, Fox Sports, Fox Entertainment, and a whole lot more, one of the richest men in the world, said this:

"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."

According to the BBC, Mr Murdoch said he had spoken to a number of people since the publication and that he could now "better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused". So maybe Mr. Murdoch is one of the more than 300 people who have watched the clip from Dare Not Walk Alone that I posted on YouTube and this blog a few days ago. The point of that clip was to educate. It seems Mr. Murdoch needed some education.

The clip shows two black women who, as young girls, accompanied a white woman to First United Methodist Church in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964 describing their experience: The white deacon barred the door and said to the white woman "You're welcome to come in but your little monkeys can't."
That reference to monkeys was clearly racial and intended to hurt and demean. White bystanders shouted other racial slurs at the young girls. Several black adults who attempted to enter the same church were arrested and taken away by police. An apology for that incident came 40 years later when the church held a special service to personally apologize to those who were turned away. It took Mr. Murdoch about 4 days. There has indeed been much progress, but personally I think we still have a long way to go.

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