Here’s what you need to know: Ted Cruz launched a political ad that features the Texas Republican reading parody Christmas fare to his two young daughters, Caroline and Catherine, stuff like “The Grinch Who Lost Her Emails.” Washington Post political cartoonist Ann Telnaes reacted with the drawing above, titled “Ted Cruz uses his kids as political props.” The children are portrayed as monkeys. Telnaes clearly knew she was on thin ice, and accompanied the cartoon with a justification (now pulled: if anyone has the whole text, I’d like to see it) saying in part,
“But when a politician uses his children as political props, as Ted Cruz recently did in his Christmas parody video in which his eldest daughter read (with her father’s dramatic flourish) a passage of an edited Christmas classic, then I figure they are fair game.”
Note: the daughters are 7 and 4.
Cruz cried foul in a tweet, and the news media and internet was beginning to tilt hard against the Post, when editor Fred Hiatt pulled the cartoon, writing,
“It’s generally been the policy of our editorial section to leave children out of it. I failed to look at this cartoon before it was published. I understand why Ann thought an exception to the policy was warranted in this case, but I do not agree.”
And here we are.
1. Cruz was indeed using his young children as political props. That’s unethical. All uses of children to promote things they don’t understand and are not old enough to consent to are unethical. Making funny YouTube videos using your children is unethical.
2. As political exploitation of candidates’children goes, however, this was minor stuff.
3. The cartoon is making a standard (and far from original) analogy of someone dominating and demeaning others by treating them as organ grinder monkeys. It was primarily aimed at Cruz. It is a lousy cartoon, however, because the characterization of the children as monkeys overshadows any criticism of Cruz.
4. The fact that Telnaes felt she had to justify the cartoon even as she posted is shows that her ethics alarms sounded, and she intentionally chose to ignore them. She knew this was unfair to Cruz’s daughters, and went ahead anyway.
5. Thus does bias make you stupid, which explains why the mainstream media acts so stupid so often. She knew it was wrong, but talked herself out of taking the appropriate action—junking her cartoon–because she really doesn’t like Ted Cruz. Because the girls were his daughters, cognitive dissonance lowered them beneath the level at which a child’s feelings matter to a progressive cartoonist.
6. The cartoon was called racist. I don’t get it. Ted Cruz and his daughters are as white as white can be. Is portraying whites as lower primates racist now? I must have missed that memo.
7. Now, President Obama’s daughters were used in one of his 2008 political ads. It is safe to say that if a cartoonist had mocked them as organ-grinder monkeys, he or she would have been tarred and feathered, with the Washington Post leading the mob. That would have been called racist, even if the cartoonist was only making the same point Telnaes was. This is the partisan and racial double standard that has had its boundaries constantly expanded by Democrats and progressives far beyond monkey jokes.
8. The rhetorically gifted conservative blogger Ace of Spades writes…
[ Fred Hiatt] seems to be saying there’s a good reason for Ann to think this was an “exception” — because Cruz’ kids were in an ad. Okay, well Obama’s kids were also in an ad — would the liberal Fred Hiatt agree, or at least “understand,” why people might think that also serves as a “warranted” “exception” to justify an attack on his kids?
See, bias made Fred stupid too. Hiatt’s whateveritwas was terrible. He was equivocal; he did not apologize to Cruz or his family. No big deal! Just a difference of opinion whether a 4 and 7 year-old should be attacked in a major newspaper and portrayed as ridiculous and inhuman as a way of striking at a politician the Post staff reviles.
9. The editor didn’t review a cartoon that the cartoonist knew was going to be controversial before it was run? Who gets fired for this? Apparently nobody is accountable.
10. And yet they still deny that there is a liberal media bias….