Independent Investigative Journalism Since 1995

donate.jpg (7556 bytes)
Make a secure online contribution
Go to to post comments

Get email updates:

RSS Feed
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to Google

contactContact Us

Order Now


Age of Obama
Barack Obama's presidency

Bush End Game
George W. Bush's presidency since 2007

Bush - Second Term
George W. Bush's presidency from 2005-06

Bush - First Term
George W. Bush's presidency, 2000-04

Who Is Bob Gates?
The secret world of Defense Secretary Gates

2004 Campaign
Bush Bests Kerry

Behind Colin Powell's Legend
Gauging Powell's reputation.

The 2000 Campaign
Recounting the controversial campaign.

Media Crisis
Is the national media a danger to democracy?

The Clinton Scandals
Behind President Clinton's impeachment.

Nazi Echo
Pinochet & Other Characters.

The Dark Side of Rev. Moon
Rev. Sun Myung Moon and American politics.

Contra Crack
Contra drug stories uncovered

Lost History
America's tainted historical record

The October Surprise "X-Files"
The 1980 election scandal exposed.

From free trade to the Kosovo crisis.

Other Investigative Stories



Gunplay, a Chimp & the Presidency

By William Loren Katz
February 19, 2009

On Feb. 18, New York Post published a cartoon of two policemen who have just slain the author of the economic stimulus package -- a chimpanzee who lies in a pool of blood. The paper's defense was that the cartoon was just good-hearted fun, no harm intended to the African-American President who devised and signed the package.

Perhaps a better defense for this tabloid owned by the Murdoch media empire would be to hide behind its record of insensitivity and suggested violence toward people of color.

During the Democratic primaries in late May 2008, Murdoch's Fox TV News also aimed assassination humor at candidate Barack Obama. As co-anchor Liz Trotta signed off her “Fair and Balanced” news broadcast she urged that “somebody knock off Osama, um, Obama - well both, if we could.” So much for good night and good luck.

Later in the campaign, Republican rallies were attracting people who greeted Obama's name with shouts of “traitor” and “kill him.”

The past warns us that threats of violence against presidents are serious matters. Gunmen have taken the lives of four U.S. presidents: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy.

Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan narrowly escaped assassination attempts. Candidate Robert Kennedy was slain, and candidate George Wallace was severely wounded.

With a black President gunplay humor is hardly funny. After the Civil War, dozens of African-American officeholders in the South, along with their white political allies, were slain, beaten or driven from office by Ku Klux Klan nightriders.

A dozen years after Emancipation, massive intimidation and murder had nullified the civil rights laws, which had been enacted by Congress, and eviscerated three constitutional amendments designed to protect the lives and liberties of former slaves.

In the middle of the 20th Century, murders of white and African-American civil rights workers in the South aimed to block those marching toward justice, equality and voting rights. If we factor in lynching, violent opposition to African-Americans' pursuit of either public office or other citizenship rights has left a body count in the thousands.

Talk about acts of terrorism against Americans!

President Obama has warned us against continuing childish ways. Murdoch's media empire should curb its immature inclinations, if that's what they are. They are too dangerous for a democracy.

William Loren Katz, the author for 40 U.S. history books, is affiliated with New York University. His Web site is WILLIAMLKATZ.COM.

To comment at Consortiumblog, click here. (To make a blog comment about this or other stories, you can use your normal e-mail address and password. Ignore the prompt for a Google account.) To comment to us by e-mail, click here. To donate so we can continue reporting and publishing stories like the one you just read, click here.

homeBack to Home Page is a product of The Consortium for Independent Journalism, Inc., a non-profit organization that relies on donations from its readers to produce these stories and keep alive this Web publication.

To contribute, click here. To contact CIJ, click here.