Politics is messy. It is dirty. It is brutal. Those who choose to run for office are fully aware of this and, with few exceptions, better be prepared to be called every name in the book, to be ridiculed, mocked, threatened, and maybe even have a tomato or two thrown at them. It is the American Way. If you cannot take the heat, then get out of the kitchen. I do not feel sorry for any of the candidates running for president in next year’s election. All have taken their fair share of criticism and much of it was well-deserved on both sides of the aisle. BUT …. the candidate’s families, and especially their children should not be forced to pay the price. Leave the children out of it!!!
The most recent breach of this unwritten rule was a cartoon in very poor taste in the Washington Post on Tuesday, December 22, 2015, depicting Senator Ted Cruz’ two daughters, ages 7 and 9 as trained monkeys on leashes. Shame on the Washington Post! Criticize Trump’s bad toupee, Christie’s weight, Hillary’s need for a bathroom break if you must, though I find this juvenile chatter to be pointless, but do not touch on their children! It is very difficult for the children of a politician to have a “normal” childhood as it is. They should never be put into the spotlight by the media … it is in extremely poor taste and further, it may even place the children in danger from some lunatic in possession of one of the 310,000,000 civilian-owned guns who happens not to like Cruz and decides to take matters into his own hands.
That said, it was in equally poor taste on the part of Sen. Cruz to exploit his daughters in an equally poor taste political advertisement, which was cartoonist Ann Telnaes’ poor excuse for her cartoon. Shame on Senator Cruz! Mr. Cruz must, indeed, bear some of the blame, however Ms. Telnaes, as a member of the press, and her editors at the Washington Post, must bear the lion’s share. Simply put, two wrongs do not make a right. Senator Cruz needs to be taken to task by the leadership of the GOP as well as by his wife. Were I his wife, he would absolutely never have been allowed to exploit his children, exposing them to ridicule and to danger, but thankfully I am not his wife.
Ultimately the Washington Post did the right thing and took down the cartoon. I hope that Ms. Telnaes will be disciplined for her poor judgement and that the Cruz family will receive a written apology. Through the years, the Post has been one of about 5-6 news sources that I scour daily, and I have always found them to be fair and to exercise reasonably sound judgement. This fiasco was reminiscent of something I would expect from Fox or one of the other less reputable news sources. Admittedly, this has been a very heated campaign year and many of the rules seem to have gone out the window. I don’t necessarily like it nor approve of it, but I understand it, and I save my commentary on that issue for another day, another post. I draw the line, however at involving the candidate’s children. Period. There is no excuse, there are no “if’s”, “ands” or “buts”. The kids are off-limits and the media need to recognize and adhere to this, even when the candidates themselves have not the good sense to do so. Let us hope that the Post has learned a lesson, that the candidates have learned a lesson, and that any other media outlet tempted to follow suit will heed the same lesson.
I love this post because it is true that there should still be lines that the media should not cross and the public should not tolerate having crossed. Shame on the Senator for thinking that his children were pawns in his political game. Well written!!!
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