Not Funny, Just Hateful, Harmful And Wrong: The New York Post’s Despicable Post-Election Front Page


Yes, I know the New York Post has made an art form of in-your-face, outrageous, I-can’t-believe-they-printed-that headlines and front page shenanigans, epitomized by the deathless classic, “Headless Body Found In Topless Bar.”

Yes, I know that Post is owned by Australian schlockmeister Rupert Murdoch, and yes, I know that the Obama-hating market is large and especially enthusiastic after the Tuesday Night Massacre Democrats just suffered under President Obama’s leadership.

And yes, I know that this is essentially a cartoon via photoshop, and that insisting that the Office of the President must retain its dignity after Bill Clinton got through with it and Democrats en masse declared that it didn’t matter how disgusting a POTUS’s  “personal” conduct was in the White House as long as poll numbers were high and unemployment was low, so come on, Bill: lead our national convention in condemning how Republicans denigrate women!

I know all that. It doesn’t matter. Barack Obama is the President of the United States, and this kind of personal, disrespectful ridicule insults not just him, but the office he holds, the nation, and every citizen of the United States of America. If this front page were published in France or England, I would regard it as an attack and an insult. Where is the line where legitimate editorial criticism becomes vicious, culture-poisoning disrespect and a breach of ethical journalism standards? I don’t know; we can argue about it. Wherever the line is, this is over it, by a lot.

Naturally, one of the grinning morning hacks on Fox and Friends, Steve Doocy, held this abomination up to the camera and announced that it was posted to the Fox Facebook page. Of course he did. He and Fox News officially endorsed partisan hatred, not for the first time, but at the worst possible time, when rebuilding trust and respect for our institutions is crucial to the nation’s future and welfare.

How can the same underlying point be made without crossing ethical lines? The New York Daily News, itself hardly a model of restraint, was up to the challenge:

Daily News NOPE

The politics, democracy and the United States of America can not run on hate. This is poison. It isn’t funny; it is tragic that so many citizens think it’s funny. For the future, our own salvation, this has got to stop.

It is the equivalent of defecating on the dining room table.


54 thoughts on “Not Funny, Just Hateful, Harmful And Wrong: The New York Post’s Despicable Post-Election Front Page

    • And yet I am awaiting the comments from otherwise rational and fair individuals that say. “Bull shit. Obama has humiliated America before the world, spit on the Constitution, and defiled the office. I will honor the Presidency, but while he holds the title, no degree of disrespect is excessive.” I can even write down the names of the commenters who will say this, or close to it. Guaranteed.

      • You’re right. They will. And the Democrats will do the same thing to the next Republican President. The cycle will continue to spiral downward while Americans become less and less knowledgeable about the political process, as well as about their own history and traditions. Until we all agree to show respect to the man in office, regardless of our affection for him, and start becoming informed voters, the experiment in democracy will keep sputtering.

      • Sadly, you are right. John Boehner made a statement this A.M. that I agree with…and I paraphrase; This isn’t a time for celebration, this is a time for getting the countries work done. What I am very much afraid of is that both the Democrats and Republicans think this election is comparable to a Student Council election at a local high school. For Fox News to grant this drivel national news coverage is sophomoric in the extreme and does not bode well for the future of a Republican run anything, let alone Congress.

      • I have a hard time divorcing the man from the office. He’s a poor president, but president, nonetheless. So what’s the line? Is calling him a feckless, tone-deaf, unreachable lame duck insulting to the office? What about political satire? Newspaper cartoons? Tabloids?

      • Sorry Jack, I think it’s pretty hilarious, and deserved after his poor performance and arrogance that goes along with it. It’s refreshing to see the media start to kick this fading and irrelevant president’s ass rather than kiss it.

  1. I have to agree. This is the lowest form of political hackery. I hate what politics has become. Every part of our culture is descending into the lowest form possible. I didn’t watch the election coverage just because I can’t stand the posing and posturing. To be honest, I don’t think the Republicans will do much to change the culture. I doubt if anyone can.

  2. Quit with the snark, leave that to them. Get on with business guys, don’t sacrifice this with juvenility. There’s still one class of Senators with their hands dirty since the 2010 deep polarization began to the tune of 10 Democrats and 24 Republicans. Foul this up with cheap needless incivility and guess who gets hit the hardest (especially since the next class with a solid block of 25 D’s to 8 R’s is safe until 2018)?

    Republicans, please rise above. Please transcend and please lead to a real Vision for America.

    Harry Reid even said “The voters want us to work together”. (I still can’t tell if he’s actually trying to sound conciliatory for his refusal to work with Republicans since time immemorial or if he’s simply doubling down with utter obtuseness to scold Republicans and set the stage for pretending like it’s still Republicans who aren’t getting work accomplished). But show them how it’s done.

    This isn’t it. Spite won’t help. The voters know this was a referendum on Leftist overreach and Obama’s incompetence, not necessarily a wild swing mandating similar Rightwing overreach.

    • Harry Reid knows his time of running the Senate like a dictatorship is over. End of story. I hope the new GOP Senate leaders send him waaaaaaaaay out into the political wilderness.

      • You know, the Tea Party is 100% responsible for Reid. It sent Sharon Angle to run against him in 2010, when all polls found him vulnerable to any slightly competent candidate, which she was NOT. He’ll go down in 2016.

        • Unfortunately it IS true that the Tea Party sent Sharon Angle against him as part of the 2010 crop of Sarah Palin clones who were nowhere near competent (Christine O’Donnell was another such failure), thereby guaranteeing his reelection. That in no way absolves him for his unethical ways. I hope you are right, and he ends up on the ash heap of history in 2016.

          • Actually, from what I see, the tea party ran it’s own candidate, Scott Ashjian. Sharron (two R’s according to wikipedia) was roundly condemned by her own party, so I’m tempted to blame the republican establishment for undercutting her campaign rather than the tea party. Several republicans publicly endorsed Reid, calling her far right wing. Their endorsement of Reid is probably what caused the 18 point swing in the polls in the month after after the primary. Unfortunately, she seemed to be an extreme social conservative, so I find it difficult to hold it against them.

            Betrayal from establishment republicans seems like a more accurate cause than incompetence. I may have missed out on something though, since I didn’t pay attention to the race at the time and am picking up my information from wikipedia.

            • She was terrible—gaffes, bad ads, amateurish. I’ve erased those tapes, and in fact that whole cycle. It took epic idiocy for the GOP to lose the Senate that year: here, we were watching George Allen self-immolate by calling a dark-skinned student the African name for a baboon. (That did get Jim Webb, my classmate and friend, elected, so I was happy.)

              • Christine O’Donnell was worse, but Carl Paladino was the worst of all. Not that Rick Lazio would have beaten Cuomo, but he might have at least given him a run for his money. The Tea Party was still finding its limits in 2010. Ummm, with respect, I think you have your years a little off. Sharron Angle ran against Harry in 2010. It did not take “epic idiocy” for the GOP to lose the Senate that year for the simple reason that in order to lose something, you must possess it, which they didn’t at the time. However, they could have picked up at least the NV and DE Senate seats that were open had they not run idiotic candidates. Could they have won the Senate back? Maybe, but if I remember correctly every domino would have had to fall their way and that was unlikely. The “macaca” controversy that cost George Allen his Senate seat was in 2006, a really bad year all the way around for the GOP, which he certainly didn’t help by missing “an excellent chance to keep his mouth shut.” Sorry, not a fan of Jim Webb, and I only wish he HAD been dumb enough to take a swing at GWB. It might not have ended as well as he thought it would. Had I been in the President’s shoes I would have later told him (supposedly it was Webb who floated the idea of a meeting between him, his son Jimmy Webb, USMC, and GWB to move past that tense exchange) that “I am always glad to meet with our fine young men and women in uniform, including Sergeant Webb (I think that was his rank) if he is interested. But you, Senator, who apparently do not respect this office or the man holding it very much, are not welcome at the White House while I occupy it, whether on official business or otherwise. Good day.”

                • Yes, thanks, 2006, 2010 and 2012 all blur together for me. I don’t care about who controls the Senate, but an intelligent, functioning, ethical Senate is essential to good government, and the Republicans let really bad Senators like Boxer, Reid, Rosenthal, McCaskill and others hold seats because the GOP didn’t give the voters a fair or reasonable choice, warping perceptions (the media helped of course) about just how supportive of Democratic policies and progressive obsessions the culture really is.

    • I only find it embarrasing and disheartening that we’re exhibiting the same sort of juvenile behavior I’ve come to expect from most left-wing rags like The Daily Kos. We’ve already disrespected and defiled the office by electing this man. “Republicans, please rise above. Please transcend and please lead to a real Vision for America”. I wish. No, I expect establishment republicans to do nothing to reverse our disastrous course, plead impotence, then give away the presidency when they nominate Jeb Bush. Further, Dan Malloy is still governor here in CT. This is a reliable barometer of our accelerating stupidity. Chimpanzees will replace us as the dominant species in about 50 years or so.

  3. Bull shit. Obama has humiliated America before the world, spit on the Constitution, and defiled the office. I will honor the Presidency, but while he holds the title, no degree of disrespect is excessive.

    • (regarding actual politicians in the elected positions – where such is a bit more important than journalistic mud slinging, and therefore breaches a bit more egregious)

    • Ouch. Indeed. I’m still going to say that the difference is in the reaction from the crowd. We get it. This is wrong. Perhaps not all of us, but most of us.

  4. Jack, I hope you weren’t waiting for a “B.S.” comment from me. I saw that newspaper cover, and all my ethics alarms rang. I do not think it is a fair or constructive depiction of the President in any sense whatsoever. If anything, its appearance is a promise that the next time the Republicans suffer significant electoral losses, even worse depictions of them will be trumpeted far and wide. Make that: In the next election cycle, media far and wide will blast forth even worse depictions of Republican candidates, before AND after the elections. There is no reason for hope, no reason to hope for constructive change. Things are only going to get worse. It’s like the global warming alarmists are saying: We are past the tipping point, and we are in runaway status. Now I can say the same for many more Republicans, as I have long been saying of so many more Democrats: You poor bastards!

  5. The image is way over the top, and quite disgraceful. If there ever was to be a chance at getting the president to work with the new congress, this is precisely the wrong way to go about it. Calling the story of the emperor’s new clothes to mind, however, works quite well. I know I’ve been shouting “But he has nothing on!” for quite some time.

  6. I agree with you that the politics, democracy, and US can’t run on hate, but, with respect, Jack, isn’t this cover just a symptom of a wider, and older disease? American politics has been powered by hate since probably 1994 when Clinton and Gingrich started getting nasty, definitely since the big fight over the 2000 election. Obama’s shills spent 2009-2011 trying every way to silence, marginalize, hate, and generally render irrelevant those on the conservative side. They really have no reason to complain when it boomerangs, the same as the Germans who spent 2 years bombing England really had no right to complain when the RAF and USAAF bombed their cities into ashes.

  7. When you stated “…Fox News officially endorsed partisan hatred, not for the first time, but at the worst possible time, when rebuilding trust and respect for our institutions is crucial to the nation’s future and welfare,” I rolled my eyes and laughed out loud. Drama much?

    Last October, the president told the GOP “Go win an election,” essentially spiking the football in the end zone. Well, they did and I can’t imagine that you’d REALLY be surprised by a little spiking of the football in the opposite end zone.

    • Dear Jerk:

      1. “Drama much?” is the kind of lazy snark I don’t tolerate here until you have proven your creds.
      2. I didn’t say I was surprised. I’m never surprised when Fox is petty, unprofessional and uncivil. Putting words in my mouth and misrepresenting what I write is taboo. Read the comment policies.
      3. This is an ethics blog. Bad conduct is not waived by the bad conduct of its target, didn’t your mother teach you that? Apparently not.
      4, Fox isn’t the GOP, and neither is the NY Post. They are supposedly objective and professional news sources. They are not supposed to do surrogate spiking, which would also be unethical for the Republicans.
      5. You think it’s responsible and ethical for elected leaders to engage in spiteful public demonstrations of contempt? Wrong.
      6. If you announce that a point here causes eye rolls and derisive laughter, you had better have a better explanation than “he started it.”

      • Gah! I hate that “drama much?” or anything- “much?” snidely snark ! When I hear it, it makes me want to deliver one of those open-hand Humphrey Bogart-type slaps that don’t so much hurt as humiliate when they echo across the terrace. Legal disclaimer; this is not an actual threat.

          • I’m sure the republican controlled congress will give you plenty of reason for critcism starting in January. I’m betting it will return to normal once power isn’t quite so lopsided.

            • I suspect, but I’m not sure. They have a great opportunity, and for the sake of the nation, I hope they rise above partisan hackery. The odds are they won’t, but it has happened before.

        • Or his obvious right-wing neo-conservative bias. I’ve heard both leveled at Jack, which is, to me a clear indication that he is a True Independent.

          • He’s clearly biased in favor of the Regressive Party, their main policy point is to permit abortions up to 216 months after birth – somewhere in the 75th trimester where it can be truly determined if a person can be a viable citizen or not.

            • Personally, I’d wait until 720 months. By then, they (it) would have contributed to Social Insecurity for 520 months, give or take, and the Fed can keep all that money if they are aborted.

      • Calling someone what they are is ethical.

        I wonder how many times TGT called me an idiot or I called him an idiot and our immediate follow on replies had nothing to do with labeling each other idiots but continuing in substantive debate*?

        Why do I suspect that those who immediately focus on the negative label as the major focus of their reply recognize the label as accurate and just don’t like it and realize they didn’t have much substantive to say to begin with?

        *To be clear, only his commentary was accurately labeled idiotic. Mine was pristine, logical, well-worded, profound and derived from a far more sound balancing of societal values and objective truths.

      • I didn’t say you were a jerk because you disagreed. Your manner of disagreement was disagreeable without cause, and that is jerkish. You need to know that. I suspect you already did.

        The tone of THIS comment indicates to me that you are interested in trolling and characterizing me rather than dealing with the posts at hand, so to hell with you. I gave you chance 2, you used it to justify a rotten and arrogant attitude. You’re out of here.

        • The above was the reply to THIS…

          I suppose calling someone a jerk is ethical, even if doing so makes one’s declaration concerning the prominence of the ethics blog seem silly. Name-calling directed at those who simply disagree with you is bad manners. Didn’t your mother teach you that? Apparently not.
          Pretty sure I said, “… I can’t imagine that you’d REALLY be surprised…” right?
          As far as characterizing the Post as “harmful and wrong,” that’s nothing more than an unsubstantiated opinion (particularly the “wrong” part). Seems “lazy” to say without substantiating it.
          I’m not sure how I go about providing enough “creds” in order to qualify to state that your post seemed melodramatic (you have a lot of rules concerning how others express their opinions). When you take the relatively benign front page at hand and characterize it as “hateful,” without substantiating that anyone hates the president, you sound sensitive and emotional. Stating, “It is the equivalent of defecating on the dining room table” speaks for itself.

          It was borderline, I guess, but I told him to clean up the snotty attitude after his first comment, and he obviously didn’t intend to do it. I don’t need snark like this, and there are too many legitimate posters to occupy my energy. As always, Mr. Smythe can write, apologize, a turn over a new leaf. If not, good riddance.

            • I have banned Mr. Smythe. His last comment was this: “Whatever you have to tell yourself. LOL.”

              It is of two varieties specifically disapproved of in the Comment Policies. His other comment was a flip rationalization for the revolting Obama in a barrel photo on the NY Post and pushed by Fox. He has nothing to contribute to an ethics blog, and is apparently not interested in learning. Out.

              • “…apparently not interested in learning…” assumes you have something to teach. That’s based on facts not in evidence.

                The “ethics instructor” dismisses the opinion that he is being melodramatic while endorsing name-calling. Laughable. Still waiting to hear you substantiate that anyone involved in the subject post “hates” Obama. Stay focused on my “drama much” and “lol.”

                Your censorship is predictable.

  8. That position strikes me as weird. To me, such a representation is a healthy sign of proper and fitting disrespect for office holders, and any culture that not only venerates them but construes disrespect as hatred is out of touch not only with reality but also with prudence. (Of course, when I was growing up in Nigeria, the idea of a president was conveyed by news reports of President Tubman of Liberia and the like, so I never acquired such an idolatry.) Suggesting that such disrespect, even for the highest office, is wrong is to imply that such officers should be given a head start over and above presumptions of innocence, one that opens many loopholes and leaves many important things unscrutinised and unwatched, and so unguarded.

    But that cover is just wrong. A proper barrel pillory should contain the arms and have a top that encloses the neck like a Chinese cangue.

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