The WaPost Ted Cruz "monkey" cartoon shouldn't have been pulled or published

There’s been plenty of talk about the now pulled Washington Post cartoon depicting Ted Cruz’ kids as monkeys. For those who somehow missed it, here it is below:


It’s horribly offensive, possibly racist because Cruz and his daughters are Hispanic, and never should have been published in the first place. Ann Telnaes obviously drew it because she believed it would get Cruz fans angry (and non-Cruz fans happy) and Washington Post expected to get clicks. Editor Fred Hiatt’s claims he didn’t look at the cartoon before it was published don’t make sense, and seem to be more of a case of “oops, we’re kinda sorry, but not really” versus an actual apology. Ace at Ace of Spades makes a pretty good point on why he doesn’t believe the apology at all (emphasis original).

He seems to be saying there’s a good reason for Ann to think this was an “exception” — because Cruz’ kids were in a 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?

Note my point is not to go after Obama’s kids. I never go after his kids. I have no reason to do so.

But this liberal game of piously claim Democrats’ children are completely off-limits, while concocting “warranted exceptions” for Republicans’ kids (every Republicans’ kids, pretty much — ask the Bush Twins and Palin Kids), is infuriating beyond my capacity to express.

Ace is right, because there is hypocrisy when it comes to Republicans vs. Democrats and their children. It’s illogical for the Left to think it’s a-okay to go after GOP families, unless all they’re just trying to make “nice looking families” appear to be more fractured than they seem. It’s probably what they are doing, because the GOP tends to be more “family values” than the Democrats. But the fact is every candidate likes to put their family on campaign websites or ads (including Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Barack Obama) and it doesn’t matter what party they’re in. So the double standard exists and the Leftists in media need to either be willing to go after the children of Democrats and Republicans (which they shouldn’t) or leave families out of it (which they should). It’s great to see how quickly people on the Right, and some independents, started condemning the cartoon because of the content.

One other reason Washington Post may have pulled the cartoon is because of how Cruz reacted to it. He criticized it, then quickly turned it into a way to get more donations. That’s a pretty smart strategy because it points out the Left’s double standard, and gives him the chance to fire up more supporters. It isn’t known how much campaign cash Cruz got out of the cartoon email, but he probably got at least a couple thousand dollars (if not more). Alinsky wrote, “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon” and “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Cruz is using ridicule and public outrage to not only get sympathy for his children and his campaign but money as well. This is genius work and probably a reason why Washington Post reacted how they did.

But the problem is Washington Post DID publish the cartoon, and once they opened the Pandora’s Box it needed to stay open. They have every right to pull the repugnant cartoon, but they shouldn’t have — because it’s free speech. It falls into the same category as the “Draw Mohammad” event in Garland, Chip Bok’s cartoon on the 2009 Sonia Sotomayor hearings, and The New York Times’ decision to publish a Holocaust-denying cartoon. All can be considered “offensive” to one group or another, but they’re protected by the First Amendment. Remember the controversy over The Interview or South Park’s depiction of Mohammad? Free speech advocates rushed to defend the movie and TV show, because free speech is in the Constitution. The same goes for the controversy over a pulled Batgirl cover by DC Comics, featuring the Joker. There was no business taking that down, just like Washington Post should have kept the awful Telnaes cartoon up. Their decision to pull it shows how little regard Washington Post has for the Constitution and how the paper just can’t take any form of criticism. Washington Post, Fred Hiatt, and Ann Telnaes should be willing to stamp a big, red “A” on their chests and wear it proudly. They shouldn’t be afraid of offending people, even if they should have shown better judgment and not published the cartoon at all.

It’s important to note there’s a difference between the Cruz cartoon and the “art” of “Piss Christ” that was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. There’s no business for any government to publicly fund that sort of thing because it falls outside the purview of the limits in the Constitution. Stux Gallery has every right to display it (because I believe they’re a private gallery) but the government shouldn’t have paid for it. Free speech and freedom of the press is something the U.S. (supposedly) cherishes. Washington Post should have shown better judgment and declined to publish the cartoon. But once they did, it should have stayed up and the Post should have dealt with its “just desserts.” Kudos to Cruz for capitalizing on the situation and turning a negative to a positive. Shame on the Post for publishing, then pulling, the cartoon.

Update (AP): Let me add one note to Taylor’s post. Notice anything about how some media outlets are spinning the Cruz cartoon this morning?

Here’s a hot take at WaPo itself:


The story isn’t Telnaes’s indefensible nastiness to Cruz’s kids, the story is that the cartoon supposedly benefits Cruz. By that logic, the media can be as nasty to a Republican’s children as it wants because it gets his fans riled up and that’s good for campaigning. What a nifty way to absolve Telnaes of her wrongdoing.

Humble request for other journalists: If the only story you can see here is “Cruz benefits,” at least give the full version of that. Cruz benefits because it confirms what he’s been saying all along about media bias. The cartoon proves that there’s one media standard for conservatives and another for liberals.

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