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Cartoonists come the defense of Ann Telnaes (UPDATED)

Yesterday was a social (and main stream) media slug fest on editorial cartoonist Ann Telnaes after the Washington Post pulled a cartoon of hers calling out presidential candidate Ted Cruz for using his daughters as props in a political commercial. The main accusation (which ranged from racist to child abuser) was that it was unfair for Ann to have included Cruz’s children in a cartoon.

Since then, many cartoonists are speaking out that Ann’s cartoon did not cross a line and she was well within the norm.

Clay Jones wrote a full blog post and published this cartoon:

Clay Jones writes:

Normally we cartoonists have a rule where we don?t go after children. But we do bend and break that rule when the politicians themselves use them as props. There is a line. Politicians posing with their children or letting the public get a glimpse of their family life isn?t really exploiting the kids (which every politician does). If the politician puts them into the fire and political mix, then they?re in the fire and you can go at it. The cartoonist didn?t expose them. Daddy did. Daddy is a hypocrite. Daddy is upset that someone exploited his children to make fun of him exploiting his children. How dare a cartoonists attack his children and draw them as monkeys. He said this was typical of the ?liberal media.?

Chattanooga Times Free Press Clay Bennett, while not directly commenting on Ann’s controversy, has published a cartoon about Cruz using his daughters for political purposes:

Economist editorial cartoonist Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher on Facebook:

Politician?s children are normally off limits in my cartoons but when the politicians deliberately inserts them into the public arena as noticably higher-than-normal” attention-getting props then he/she has made them fair game.

Buffalo News editorial cartoonist Adam Zyglis on Facebook:

I support Ann Telnaes and her right to call out Ted Cruz for bringing his kids into a politically charged ad. Do you think if SNL had a parody of Cruz’s ad they would apologize and pull it like The Post did? I don’t think so. The literalists out there need to learn that cartoons speak in metaphor.

Screenwriter and editorial cartoonist Karyl Miller on Facebook:

I stand with Ann Telnaes. Cruz exploited his daughters and even had the hammy one do her best Shirley Temple parody.

Cartoonist Kevin Moore on Twitter:

Props to @AnnTelnaes for showing that once again right wingers have no sense of humor.

Editorial cartoonist Matt Bors on Twitter

1. Coming off internet hiatus to throw my support behind @AnnTelnaes, whose cartoon was censored by WaPo after Ted Cruz pooped his diaper.

Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon:

I hope that the sloppy, can-you-top-this handling of the cartoon post-publication doesn’t do harm to Telnaes’ career or boost Cruz’. I’m seeing a lot of headlines and articles stating the cartoon is about Cruz’s kids rather than the candidate’s use of them, so I’m guessing any reasonable distinction being made there is 100 miles in the rearview mirror at this point. It’s a different world for editorial cartooning with campaigns leveraged by social media against not-really-trusted-by-anyone mainstream organizations.

Cartoonist and graphic novelist John Backderf on Facebook:

Now, It’s a general rule that politicians’ kids are out of bounds, until they’re adults or unless they do something incredibly stupid. Obama’s kids, of course, have been savaged by online rightwing trolls, and the Bush twins were targets, too, but very seldom by cartoonists. As vicious as I was to Dubya, I can’t recall ever putting his girls in a cartoon. Now, Teddy is wrapping himself in his family and sticking his kids in ads, so he really can’t squawk much when satirists call him on it. But, of course, he is. Today he’s howling in outrage and exploiting the now-yanked cartoon as evidence of the…. queue scary music… LIBERAL MEDIA! And the Tea Party types are lapping it up.

So, in other words, the Post editor walked face first into that one. All he did was give Ted a giant gift-wrapped media blast for Christmas. Well done.

There are other statements of support that I’ve read, but these are the one’s I’ve found made publicly. I’ll post more as I come across them. And if there is any doubt, I’ve been a fan of Ann’s work for decades now and I think her cartoon was well within the lines regarding a politicians children. I too stand behind Ann.

UPDATE: Darrin Bell comes out with this excellent cartoon explaining when it’s right and wrong to use your kids in politics. 

  

UPDATE #2: Two more cartoonists have turned their pen to Cruz’s use of his daughters. Rob Rogers of the Pittsburg Post Gazette posted this cartoon:

And Dwayne Booth AKA Mr. Fish has posted two cartoons – one dealing with the Washington Post pulling Anne’s cartoon and the other about the candidacy of Senator Cruz.

Community Comments

#1 Lee Salem
December/24/2015
@ 1:51 pm

A clever canard, to make it about the kids and completely avoid their father’s clear intent. Ann was doing what good editorial cartoonists do.
Lee Salem

#2 Henry Every
December/24/2015
@ 3:14 pm

she drew the daughters of a hispanic senator as leashed sombrero wearing monkeys.

so what if cruz used his daughters as props? it does not logically follow that she then gets to draw a racist cartoon.

the extended apologies for racism do not make the commentators here look good.

#3 Alan Syler
December/24/2015
@ 3:17 pm

I support all political cartoonist, whether I agree with their view or not. Have these morons not heard of free speech? If we want America to continue to be the land of the free, we must be brave. Not saying what might offend isn’t brave at all. We must provoke open-minded thought and discussion.;
If Cruz didn’t want his precious daughters in the discussion, why did he read them bedtime stories from the Senate floor, and have them in one of his sappy commercials?

#4 Henry Every
December/24/2015
@ 4:23 pm

you attack cruz because you cannot defend the cartoon.

telnaes drew the daughters of a hispanic senator as leashed sombrero wearing monkeys. it is pure and simple racism. the first amendment means the government does not have the power to censor her. it does not mean that the rest of us cannot rightly denounce her as a racist.

#5 Keith Brown
December/24/2015
@ 6:07 pm

@ Henry Every
Sombrero’s ? Which cartoon were you looking at? I saw Santa caps.

#6 Henry Every
December/24/2015
@ 6:58 pm

my mistake. i confused it with another talneas cartoon with cruz wearing a sombrero.

the point remains. she drew the children of a hispanic senator as leashed monkeys. tell me what cruz did that excuses her racism.

#7 Keith Brown
December/24/2015
@ 8:48 pm

@ Henry. I think for it to be racist that would have to have been the original intent.You would have to ask Ann that. I understand it for exactly what she meant. I think you are stretching a bit. I think you want to be offended so naturally, it’s easy for you to make that distinction. IMO.

#8 JoeCorrao
December/25/2015
@ 6:45 am

She didn’t draw the kids as monkeys as much as replace the kids with monkeys. No problem with the cartoon.

#9 Bob Englehart
December/25/2015
@ 6:59 am

This is a brilliant cartoon and right on. It’s so typical of the corporate newspaper to duck and run.

#10 Paul Fell
December/25/2015
@ 2:06 pm

Ann is one of America’s best editorial cartoonists. I sure hope the WP doesn’t decide to hang her out to dry as some publications are wont to do.

I agree that politicians’ kids ARE generally off limits, but when the snake oil salesman brings his kids on stage to sing and dance to help sell the product, they automatically become part of the act, like it or not.

#11 Carl Moore
December/25/2015
@ 4:15 pm

Darrin Bell’s cartoon (if I’m reading it right) is spot on until the last two boxes when he says, “Am I a Republican?” and if the answer is “no,” (meaning a Democrat) then “Yes. Shame!” implying that it’s only Democrats who are shamed for politically exploiting their kids… Come on, Darrin, that’s simplistic BS and you know it. This whole thread on TDC puts the lie to that notion. Too bad. Up ’til then you had a good cartoon going.

#12 Reflex76
December/25/2015
@ 5:59 pm

“?Am I a Republican?? and if the answer is ?no,? (meaning a Democrat)”

Actually, about a third of Americans identify as independents; never mind the many political parties in the US, the massive presence of independents debunks the “you’re either a Democrat or a Republican” thing.

#13 Carl Moore
December/25/2015
@ 6:43 pm

“… the massive presence of independents debunks the ‘you’re either a Democrat or a Republican’ thing.”

Technically, you’re correct. Realistically, you’re wrong. How many independents are in the House and Senate? Two? Three? The fact is this is still a two party country.

#14 Sue dewar
December/25/2015
@ 7:04 pm

As to Ann Telnaes of Ted Cruz…..oh please…….Ted is using his kiddies to soften his scary, Tea-Party image…..Ann is paying attention….too bad others aren’t! Ted should be pulled…not the cartoon!!

#15 Mark Juhl
December/26/2015
@ 6:25 am

Sue, Obama used his kids in his ads as well, so it would be okay to portray them as little monkeys? I’m sure no one on the left would scream racism would they?

#16 Scott Burns
December/26/2015
@ 10:23 am

Organ grinders didn’t just throw random monkeys out front. They trained them to perform for the crowd. That’s what Cruz did with his kids and his shameful video deserved the portrayal Ann gave it. A brilliant, spot-on cartoon. The Post’s response to Cruz’s hypocrisy was not only a,disservice to Ann but to its editorial principles as well.

#17 Carl Moore
December/26/2015
@ 5:18 pm

“… but when the snake oil salesman brings his kids on stage to sing and dance to help sell the product, they automatically become part of the act, like it or not.”

Absolutely true. But what if, instead of singing and dancing, the kids just smile while standing with daddy and mommy in front of the fireplace? No, they’re not saying anything political, but are they part of the act and helping the snake oil salesman sell the product? Absolutely. Obama, Romney, Bush, Kennedy and all politicians who use (exploit) their kids in a political ad are using them to sell the product. Yes, Cruz’s kids have speaking parts, but the principle still holds – they’re all being used to buff the image of the politician. So those who want to make a distinction between Cruz’s ad and Obama’s ad are making a distinction of degree, not principle. They’re ALL exploiting their kids. If Cruz is guilty, so is Obama… as is every politician. And so what? It’s just part of the grubby side of being a politician.

#18 Reflex76
December/26/2015
@ 8:04 pm

“How many independents are in the House and Senate? Two? Three? ”

Irrelevant, the voters themselves are independents, regardless of who they vote for.

#19 Mike Peterson
December/27/2015
@ 3:34 am

Mark:

1. Obama did not give his kids scripted lines insulting other candidates. He stayed well within the tradition of showing that he has a family and saying he cares about families. This is the tradition within which it is considered not-okay to go after the kids. Setting them up as partisan vaudeville performers is something entirely different, which was the point of the cartoon.

2. Competent cartoonists are supposed to understand metaphor. Incompetent cartoonists do not. Showing a parsimonius Irish-American as a pawnbroker is okay, showing a parsimonius Jewish-American plays into a well-known ethnic insult that any one who with the slightest element of cartooning knowledge knows full well, and anyone who had a microgram of judgment would avoid — unless he intended to deliver an ethnic slur.

Now, please, don’t pretend you can’t figure this out.

#20 Henry Every
December/27/2015
@ 3:47 pm

KEITH BROWN

if her “original intent” was not to be racist then she’s just stupid. several other cartoonists have managed to deal with the issue without drawing the little girls as monkeys. i guess talneas just isn’t talented enough.

i am not looking to be offended. i am not the sort wandering the internet for microaggressions. i’m just calling out racism when i see it.

#21 Keith Brown
December/28/2015
@ 6:33 am

@ Henry.
I’m sure that Ann is not that hard to get a hold of. Why don’t you ask her what her intent was and let us all know.

#22 John Cole
December/28/2015
@ 10:46 am

Clay Bennett FTW.

#23 Willy Emerick
December/29/2015
@ 2:03 pm

I hadn’t seen the TV commercial before seeing the cartoon – and didn’t get it. Even after seeing the commercial – still don’t make the connection. I may not be the brightest bulb in the lamp, but I just fail to make the connection between Ann’s chimps and Ted’s kids.( I have seen some chimps that acted better than some kids – but I digress. ) I guess if the point of the cartoon is lost, it’s easy to jump to conclusions. I really don’t see the connection to call it racism, either. I guess if someone fails to have an intellectual argument, all they have to do is yell racism – and that covers all bases. Seems to work for all occasions now days.

#24 Darrin Bell
December/29/2015
@ 3:05 pm

Who is “Henry Every,” anyway? The only reference I can find online is to a 17th Century pirate.

@Carl Moore wrote: “Darrin Bell?s cartoon (if I?m reading it right) is spot on until the last two boxes when he says, ?Am I a Republican?? and if the answer is ?no,? (meaning a Democrat) then ?Yes. Shame!? implying that it?s only Democrats who are shamed for politically exploiting their kids? Come on, Darrin, that?s simplistic BS and you know it. This whole thread on TDC puts the lie to that notion. Too bad. Up ?til then you had a good cartoon going.”

I’m shocked… SHOCKED… that a die-hard Republican would take issue with that part of the cartoon. And what lie? I haven’t seen you condemn Cruz for exploiting his kids. In fact, I’ve seen you conflate what he did with everyone else who just has their kids stand there silently, in an attempt to say EVERYONE does what he did.

As for “BS,” I’d love to read what you’d have written if Barack Obama had run an ad featuring Malia taking scripted shots at Mitt Romney. Let’s not pretend you (or any other Republican) would think that was no more exploitative than if she’d just stood quietly in the background.

#25 Carl Moore
December/29/2015
@ 7:40 pm

@Darrin Bell: I haven’t condemned Cruz for exploiting his kids because I think it’s fine to use ones kids in a political ad. I think his ad was funny and I wish more politicians used their kids in this way. It makes their ads much more entertaining. It is “using” them, sure, but so what?… I do, on the other hand, condemn Cruz for his hypocritical whining about Telnaes’ cartoon for supposedly attacking his kids. Telnaes’ cartoon is on the nose appropriate in attacking him, not his kids.

The “lie” you refer to is the lie in your cartoon that says it is only Democrats who are “shamed” for politically exploiting their kids. The many liberals on this thread have made it clear that it is Cruz – a Republican – who should feel shame for exploiting his kids which puts the lie to your cartoon.

Personally, I don’t think he should feel shame at all. Nor should Democratic politicians be shamed for using their kids in ads. I see nothing wrong with it in the context of a political campaign. All politicians use their wife and kids in some form or another to sell themselves. Is selling oneself to the public wrong in a political context? How else to win an election? As said elsewhere, it is a little grubby. But politics by its nature has grubby elements to it. Using ones family to sell oneself is one of those elements… along with begging for money and having to shake thousands of hands and eating too much fried chicken and pizza.

#26 Darrin Bell
December/30/2015
@ 4:49 am

“The ?lie? you refer to is the lie in your cartoon that says it is only Democrats who are ?shamed? for politically exploiting their kids. The many liberals on this thread have made it clear that it is Cruz ? a Republican ? who should feel shame for exploiting his kids which puts the lie to your cartoon.”

The “lie” is in how you’re choosing to interpret it. That’s Ted Cruz’s flow chart, Carl. That’s why there’s an image of Ted Cruz next to the title. It’s about how *Republicans* view this issue. You can claim Republicans would see nothing wrong with a Democratic ad that put words like those in the mouths of the candidates’ small children if you wish. I don’t buy that for a second.

#27 Pat Byrnes
December/30/2015
@ 4:56 pm

I am a cartoonist and more than a little unsympathetic to Ted Cruz. I am also a longtime admirer of Ann Telnaes. I understand the pressure of deadlines and the need for free expression. Nevertheless, she compounded the offense to those two children by objectifying them as their father did. She alone is responsible for the “monkey” taunts they surely have received in school.

Surely Cruz’s candidacy is a major issue worth journalistic scrutiny. Surely Telnaes is free to express herself as she chooses. What she did to those children was also her choice. Was the political statement worth the injury to those very real children?

If she is the honorable person I have taken her for, she will exercise her freedom to apologize to them.

#28 lisa wilson
December/31/2015
@ 10:02 am

In trying to deny Ann Telnaes’ constitutional right to free speech, Ted Cruz is acting like Islamists who try to deny someone’s right to draw the prophet Mohammed in cartoons.
Cruz portrays himself as a constitutional scholar, but doesn’t really believe in free speech.
He’s the one who exploited his own daughters for political gain.

#29 Mark Juhl
December/31/2015
@ 4:18 pm

Mike Peterson,

1. There is no difference between having scripted lines or not. They’re in the commercial being used as props, the cartoonist is doing the same thing she is criticizing Cruz for, using the children.

2. Yes I understand the distinction you’re making, but using a monkey as a stand in for someone named Cruz….well you’ll forgive me if I, and many others differ on that.

As I’ve said before I generally have a view of everything being on the table for a cartoonist, including in this case. But the point could have been made without monkey children.

#30 Mike Peterson
January/2/2016
@ 3:48 am

No difference between reciting scripted lines and simply being in the picture.

And all Spanish speaking people are non-white.

When you’re right, you’re right. Drop the mic — you’ve sealed it.

#31 Mark Juhl
January/2/2016
@ 7:10 am

Great response Mike Peterson. really love the whole drop the mike thing.
Let me give it a shot.

Person in commercial with no lines is prop. Person in commercial with lines, deep political operative. Be a five year old child and be told what to say, a deep, super secret, double scoop political operative.

A person’s ethnicity is purely decided by the shade of their skin, I get your point now. One question though, how dark does one’s skin have to be to before the whole racism thing kicks in?

Drops mike….sorry….mic……you’ve sealed it.

#32 Reflex76
January/2/2016
@ 5:29 pm

As a Latino, I can say we come in many shades; my very white shade has granted me great privilege, especially when dealing with police.

The two Cruz girls are about as white and blonde as one can get, pretending otherwise won’t change that.

#33 Mark Juhl
January/2/2016
@ 9:00 pm

Reflex76

I see, same question for you, how dark does the skin or hair have to be before it’s wrong? Before it becomes a racial thing?

If someone makes a derogatory statement about Latinos or draws a bigoted picture where the character is dark skinned and named Jose then because of your white shade that’s not an insult that’s also aimed at you?

Also, they’re white skinned and you say you are also I guess that doesn’t make you a real Latino either.

#34 Phillip Willis
January/3/2016
@ 12:57 am

Funny thing is, if the candidate had been a liberal and Rush Limbaugh had gone after their kids, these liberal cartoonists would have screamed bloody-murder. Liberals don’t have a conscious when they attack a conservative or their families. Ted Cruz is ripe for the pickings.

Politics is a blood sport now. Admit it and move on. The country has no morals or ethics anymore.

#35 Reflex76
January/3/2016
@ 1:55 am

“Funny thing is, if the candidate had been a liberal and Rush Limbaugh had gone after their kids,”

Someone remembers his comparing Chelsea Clinton to a dog.

Now for questions demanding answers:

“how dark does the skin or hair have to be before it?s wrong? Before it becomes a racial thing?”

Dark enough

“If someone makes a derogatory statement about Latinos or draws a bigoted picture where the character is dark skinned and named Jose then because of your white shade that?s not an insult that?s also aimed at you?”

Latino is an ethnicity of many colors, so of course it’s aimed at me, regardless of my White Privilege. I may be a guero (White Latino), but I’m still Latino.

The Cruz girls are still lily white blondes, their father still the target of Ann’s cartoon.

#36 Mark Juhl
January/3/2016
@ 5:30 pm

REFLEX76

So basically you get to decide who a “real” Latino is I get it.

You have taught me something new I must admit, with years of painting I never heard of lily white before.

#37 Reflex76
January/3/2016
@ 6:20 pm

“So basically you get to decide who a ?real? Latino is”

. . . because I’m Latino, as every other Latino can, exactly.

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