NEW YORK: Powerful media magnate Rupert Murdoch apologized on Thursday after suggesting that Barack Obama was not “a real black president,” triggering outrage.
In a message posted to his @rupertmurdoch Twitter account late Wednesday,
the 84-year-old owner of News Corporation had seemed to question Obama’s racial
identity while comparing him unfavorably to Republican presidential candidate
Ben Carson, an African American retired neurosurgeon.
“Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black President who can
properly address the racial divide? And much else,” Murdoch tweeted.
The message was retweeted 1,400 times and mentioned 1,200 times amid an
outpouring of anger on the Internet.
Murdoch took to Twitter again on Thursday saying: “Apologies! No offence meant. Personally find both men charming.”
Race remains a highly sensitive issue in the United States, where a series of police brutality cases against blacks have fueled protests and debate since
the summer of 2014.
Carson, who is polling well in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, weighed in to defend Murdoch, whose media empire includes cable and
broadcast television networks and newspapers in several countries.
“I know Rupert Murdoch, he’s not a racist by any stretch of the imagination. He’s just expressing his opinion. I think it’s much ado about
nothing,” Carson told CNN.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I believe what he was making reference to is the fact here was a man who is a black president that the black community was excited about and who came in and policies have not elevated the black community, has not been beneficial,” Carson said.
“There’s more unemployment, more poverty and I believe that’s what he was really referring to.”
Asked once if he believed Obama was “a real black president,” Carson replied: “I wouldn’t even get into such a conversation.
Asked again, he said: “He’s the president and he’s black.” “Rupert Murdoch said what he said. He apologized because a lot of people took it the wrong way. I think there’s so many more important issues to deal with,” Carson added.