Reporter's Note: I am writing a letter a day to the White House. The President asked for advice, and I’m helping.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
I have been surprised at the staying power of the debates that kicked up this week over race. I don’t know why. Certainly I’ve seen racial issues ignite public fury endless times in my career, but I must say it still often catches me off guard.
Between Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments about us all being cowards for not grappling with racial inequalities, and the goofy cartoon about the chimp in that New York newspaper, it seems as if so many people are upset.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/01/27/digital.tv.transition.delay/art.tvwatch.gi.jpg caption="U.S. broadcasters were to begin transmitting their TV signals only in digital format on February 17."]
Broadcasting & Cable
OK, so the DTV transition hasn't been perfect.
While the early analog-cutoff of 421 TV stations on Feb. 17 has gone relative smoothly according to most reports, that was not the case of at least one Missouri man, according to KARE-TV Minneapolis-ST. Paul.
The station reports that a 70-year-old Joplin man was arrested and charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm after shooting his TV set. Responding to a report of shots being fired, the station reported, the police found the man angry that he had both lost his cable and had been unable to get his new DTV converter box to work.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/02/19/chimp.cartoon.react/art.cartoon.nypost.jpg caption="A New York Post cartoon has sparked a debate over race and cartooning this week."]
Co-founder Jack and Jill Politics
I loved last year's New Yorker cover depicting the Obamas as radical black terrorists. It was an over-the-top caricature of the stereotypes hurled at the then presidential candidate and potential First Lady. And while it wasn't laugh out loud funny, it was satire. As a writer and comedian, my first reaction is almost always to try to understand, and possibly defend, the artist. I think society needs us to push the envelope and provoke.
But despite this predisposition, even I was taken aback by the New York Post cartoon depicting two police officers standing over a bloodied body of a chimpanzee saying, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." As others, I interpreted the chimp as a reference to President Obama, especially given past illustration of him as a monkey , and his key role in championing and signing the Recovery Act.
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