This has provoked outrage among many people, including musician John Legend, the National Urban League president Marc Morial, Barbara Ciara (president of the National Association of Black Journalists), and the Rev. Al Sharpton. [All listed in the CNN story are African-American.] Their point - the chimp represents President Obama (Blacks are often racially taunted by a comparison with apes), and the cartoon encourages his assassination.
The Post subsequently apologized - sort of. To the people who were offended, but not to those who apparently are regularly opposed to the Post and were (according to the Post) just using the opportunity to beat the Post. The cartoonist has claimed he was just trying to say that the economic stimulus bill was written by monkeys (who, apparently, are not intelligent.)
The first thing I thought of when I saw the cartoon (admittedly, through a story describing the protests) is that the chimp represented President Obama. It's not just Blacks who are subject to the chimp comparison - so are aboriginals. Indian spectators have taunted Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds with a monkey chant (local police tried to explain it away as "praying to the monkey god, Hanuman" - but the picture defeats this lame defense.)
Then again, I do not live in the northeast, and I am not consumed by the mauling-chimp story.
Still, in this day and age, where the Internet has made most local papers global, particularly a prominent rag like the NY Post... using such localized news to comment on an issue of national importance is, at best, plain stupid. At worst...
On the other hand - does freedom of speech trump everything else? Yes - but that won't stop me encouraging a boycott of the NY Post unless it apologizes without caveat. That too, is freedom of expression.