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Washington Post pulls Ann Telnaes cartoon

The Washington Post has made an unusual move of pulling a cartoon by their Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Ann Telnaes after criticism that the cartoon depictedpresidential candidate Ted Cruz’s children (see cartoon above) as organ grinder’s monkeys. Cruz featured his kids in a campaign commercial (see below) where he read parody book titles such as “How Obamacare Stole Christmas” and “Rudolph The Underemployed Reindeer.”

Cruz called out the cartoon on Twitter:

Classy. @washingtonpost makes fun of my girls. Stick w/ attacking me–Caroline & Catherine are out of your league

And according to NBC News on a campaign stump in Iowa, the senator said:

“Not too much ticks me off, but making fun of my girls, that’ll do it,” Cruz said in response to the cartoon, which has since been taken down.

“It used to be for a long time the rules across the board that kids are off limits,” he added. “That should be the rules. Don’t mess with our kids. Don’t mess with my kids. Don’t mess with Marco’s kids. Don’t mess with Hillary’s kid. Don’t mess with anybody’s kids. Leave kids alone And if the media wants to attack and ridicule every Republican, well that’s what they’re gonna do. But leave our kids alone.”

“Let’s argue about marginal tax rates. Let’s argue about policy. But don’t be attacking five year-old girls. That has no place in politics.”

The Washington Post posted the following in place of the cartoon.

Editor’s note from Fred Hiatt: 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.

Looking through Twitter, Ann is getting slammed from the right. The Cruz’s campaign launched an “emergency” appeal to raise $1 million to respond to the cartoon, which demonstrates he’s exploiting this kerfuffle for his own political gain. Use your kids to spin one’s own political history and objective and when a cartoonist points that out, use the controversy to raise money for the campaign. Sickening.

Community Comments

#1 JP Trostle
December/23/2015
@ 12:17 pm

>Don?t mess with Hillary?s kid.

Does that include retroactively? Because the GOP seem to have a field day with Chelsea in the ’90s.

Just sayin’

#2 Frank M Hansen
December/23/2015
@ 12:35 pm

I don’t think the cartoon was meant as an attack or a statement about his kids, it was about Ted using his kids (family) to drum up votes. I think it is a great cartoon, Ted Cruz should not be offended, and might be using this as a way to score more press. Hard to say. When it comes to your kids, rational behavior can often fly out the window, so perhaps he honestly thinks he is defending them.

#3 Joe Vissichelli
December/23/2015
@ 1:04 pm

So? Cruz cynically uses his kids like trained monkeys in his political campaign and his use of them is not fair game!? Yet another of his smoke screen blowups: “Stop pointing out my habits as a bottom feeder!”

Ann Telnaes should be offended that the Post chose his narrow interpretation of what clearly was deserving of satire.

#4 Keith Brown
December/23/2015
@ 1:04 pm

he’s having no trouble using this situation to solicit campaign donations- he’s a pimp. Plain and simple

#5 Mike Lester
December/23/2015
@ 1:42 pm

Yes. Despicable when a politician points out an attack on his 5 and 7 year old little girls and asks for money to help defeat people who support and defend attacks on 5 and 7 year old little girls.
Sickening indeed.

Meanwhile, “hispandering” old lady liar gets a pass:

http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/12/23/hillary-clinton-says-shes-just-like-your-abuela-faces-backlash-over-hispandering/

#6 Mike Peterson
December/23/2015
@ 3:47 pm

Mike, are you getting paid to pretend to not get it? Because it should be obvious that, if you put your kid in an ad in which she mouths scripted political sarcasm, you have waived your right to privacy. Other politicians have limited their kid to a wave from among the family on a platform, or a silent presence in the familiar “I’m a family man!” political spot.

Trotting out your kid front and center to play Child Star is “signing her up” for what Ted says his kid didn’t sign up for. He is either a fool or a hypocrite.

Which are you?

#7 Milt Priggee
December/23/2015
@ 4:11 pm

Herb Block is spinning in his grave.

#8 Carl Moore
December/23/2015
@ 5:04 pm

Telnaes is clearly attacking Cruz, not his kids. Yes, she’s using the kids to do that, but the target is Cruz. If a politician uses his kids in an ad, how is it that a cartoonist can’t use them? The Clintons used Chelsea, Romney used his kids, the Kennedys were famous for using their kids. All are fair game.

I agree that, generally, it’s a good idea to stay away from kids. But, if you’re going to use them, be careful and do it with tasteful caution. In this case, Telnaes has committed no sin. The organ grinder and his monkey has been an editorial cartoonist’s cliché since the beginning of time… er, since the beginning of organ grinding… uh…

The wrongdoer here is the editor of WaPo. Withdrawing the cartoon is a testament to the hyper-sensitive political climate these days regarding race, ethnicity, etc. Even though the cartoon has nothing to do with race or Cruz’s ethnicity, people seem to see one or the other or both in this cartoon. Or they think it’s an attack on his kids – it’s not. When oh when are we going to move away from this nuttiness that says any touching upon kids, race or ethnicity is taboo and in and of itself a sign of bigotry? It’s time for all of us to grow a thick skin and be adults, not whiny, sniveling perpetual grievance-mongers.

#9 Mark Juhl
December/23/2015
@ 6:05 pm

I generally have an anything goes for the cartoonist, and I think the paper was wrong for pulling it. I’d be mighty careful using young children though.
Since everyone seems to think it’s okay because the comment was about Cruz himself and not the children, what if the cartoon had the daughters dressed as hookers and Cruz their pimp?
Better yet, Obama has used his daughters in ads also, so if someone portrayed them as monkeys that’d be appropriate also?
Kids are still fair game?

#10 Henry Every
December/23/2015
@ 9:19 pm

bunch of people apologizing for a racist.

#11 Mike Peterson
December/24/2015
@ 4:59 am

Mark, there is a very great difference between showing your kids to indicate your feelings about family, children, the future, etc., and having them recite scripted, sarcastic insults about other candidates. I’m sure you can see this. I’m reasonably sure you also know that Obama has never placed his kids in the latter role.

The hooker/pimp thing has some validity, In the 2008 elections, a commentator criticized Hillary Clinton for having Chelsea phone superdelegates, which was not a bad thing except that he referred to it as “pimping out her daughter.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/story?id=4274500&page=1

In this case, “trained monkeys” might be harsh, but I don’t think it’s over the line. I do think failure to stand behind your cartoonist and then publishing additional op-ed pieces throwing her under the bus is over the line. And I think refering to her editor as a “weasel” is fair commentary.

#12 Tim Campbell
December/24/2015
@ 6:04 am

If you wake up and feel the need to make a point or a paycheck by drawing 2 little girls as monkeys you should probably go back to bed.

#13 Mike Lester
December/24/2015
@ 6:46 am

#6Mr. Peterson, Any man who defends abusing children is either a pussy or a pedophile. Which one are you? (trick question: you might be both)

#14 Mark Juhl
December/24/2015
@ 6:59 am

Mike, the children are being used as props whether they are speaking or not, there is no difference. All candidates trot the family out regardless of party affiliation.
Personally, considering the age of children the same point could have been made without portraying the kids as monkeys. Chelsa Clinton was an adult in 2008 not five years old, that does make a difference, appropriate or not.
From the right side of the spectrum there’s a history of the media going after their children, either to get to the parents or just for meanness. Trig Palin and all the Palin children, Mitt Romney’s grandchild, Bush’s daughters etc…etc.. so to publish anything remotely about their children anymore is going to cause a backlash.
But papers should stand behind the cartoonist. If they didn’t like it they shouldn’t have published it and should take the hit along with the cartoonist.

#15 Mark Juhl
December/24/2015
@ 7:00 am

My above post was directed towards Mike Peterson.

#16 Keith Brown
December/24/2015
@ 7:33 am

Like it or not if the Post ran it they should stand behind it. Ann drew but the Post printed it. Own it and let the chips fall where they may,besides, we’ll find something else to be hyper offended by soon enough.

#17 John Auchter
December/24/2015
@ 12:57 pm

The cartoon: Biting and brilliant. The context: Completely defensible. The part I cannot seem to get past: The editor saying, “I failed to look at this cartoon before it was published,” and then pulling it. Wow.

#18 Clay Jones
December/24/2015
@ 2:17 pm

Mike, no one is defending Ted Cruz of abusing his children.

#19 Pj day
December/24/2015
@ 2:33 pm

Cruz’s credibility for being outaged went out the window when he wanted to raise $1 million to “defeat” the cartoonist. In my opinion, if you’re going to bring your family into politics, you better be prepared to have your family in politics.

#20 Mike Peterson
December/25/2015
@ 6:41 am

Mike Lester: If you had ever had any actual experience of a pussy, you might (A) not use the term as an insult and (B) not be such a bitter, unpleasant person.

#21 Mike Lester
December/25/2015
@ 9:28 am

Mr. Peterson does not recall his original insults and is under the impression he’s dealing w/ a Christian who turns the other cheek. He’s not.

#22 Keith Brown
December/25/2015
@ 12:27 pm

Ohh…..Dueling Mikes! Dinga ding da-ding da-ding ding ding

#23 Mike Peterson
December/25/2015
@ 6:46 pm

Ooooooooh. Gonna need the night light now!

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