The New York Post has had a somewhat contentious relationship with black New Yorkers over the past couple years, and it didn't help matters this weekend with a story that mixed up two African-American media powerhouses in a clumsy attempt to discredit a prominent supporter of President Barack Obama.
The item in Sunday's "Page Six" gossip column claimed that former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers is a hypocrite for taking a job as CEO of Johnson Publishing because "her new boss, Bob Johnson, who also founded Black Entertainment Television, was one of Obama's harshest critics."
More Than One Black Owner of a Media Business
The only problem with the Post's reasoning: Bob Johnson has nothing to do with Johnson Publishing, which is run by Linda Johnson Rice, daughter of deceased founder John H. Johnson, and which publishes Ebony and Jet magazines. A number of sharp-eyed Post readers pointed out the error in the comments section of the website. "Bob Johnson isn't the only black man to have owned a media company," wrote one.
A fresh appearance of racial insensitivity is the last thing the Post needs after a year in which the paper's owner, News Corp. (NWS) Chairman Rupert Murdoch, was forced to apologize for one of the paper's editorial cartoons, which critics believed equated President Obama with a deranged chimpanzee and suggested he ought to be shot. That was followed by a pair of lawsuits filed by ex-employees who accused the paper of systematically discriminating against minority workers.
I emailed "Page Six" editor Richard Johnson -- who you'd think would be aware of how many people share his last name -- to see if the item will be corrected, but haven't heard back yet.
Note: This article was updated at 6:23 p.m. to correct Desiree Rogers's name.
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