Ted Cruz's Daughters as Monkeys: "Fair Game"?

The Washington Post has retracted a cartoon depicting presidential candidate Ted Cruz's children as monkeys. 

The cartoonist, Pulitzer Prize winner Ann Telnaes, defended her cartoon:

There is an unspoken rule in editorial cartooning that a politician's children are off-limits. People don't get to choose their family members so obviously it's unfair to ridicule kids for their parent's behavior while in office or on the campaign trail- besides, they're children. There are plenty of adults in the political world who act childish, so there is no need for an editorial cartoonist to target actual children.

I've kept to that rule, except when the children are adults themselves or  choose to indulge in grown-up activities (as the Bush twins did during the George W Bush presidency). 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.

Telnaes on Cruz

However, The Post editor Fred Hiatt disagreed: 

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.

The controversy may have given Cruz's campaign a nice Christmas jolt: so far, his family video has been watched more than 1.7 million times. 

Is any publicity good publicity? That hasn't always held true on social media, but in this case, it's working in the candidate's favor. 

And because it's Christmas, I'm reminded of Mike Huckabee's video in 2007. Some didn't appreciate the rather obvious window-pane-as-cross. 

Discussion Starters: 

  • What's your view? Was the cartoonist justified in including Cruz's children? 
  • Was The Washington Post editor right? Should he have defied the cartoonist's position?