ABC Skips WashPost Smear on Cruz Girls; CBS, NBC Excuse It as a ‘Feud,’ Part of ‘Increased Scrutiny’

The morning after Washington Post cartoonist Ann Telnaes published (then unpublished) an illustration depicting Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s daughters as toy monkeys, calling them “fair game” since they appeared in a campaign ad, ABC’s Good Morning America ignored the story completely while CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today excused it as merely a “feud” and part of “increased scrutiny” for Cruz as he ascends in the polls.

On CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O’Donnell complained in one of the show’s opening teases that it was Cruz who was “lash[ing] out at a top newspaper over his kids” while chief White House correspondent Major Garrett ruled minutes later that the racist cartoon is part of the territory: “With Cruz's climb in the polls has come increased scrutiny. This Washington Post editorial cartoon depicting his children as holiday props drew Cruz’s wrath.”

Garrett also made sure to hit Cruz for issuing fundraising e-mails last night concerning the smear: “[B]y late last night, the Cruz campaign were sending out fundraising e-mails asking for emergency contributions. The subject line read: ‘They attacked my children.’”

In the 8:00 p.m. Eastern hour, fill-in co-host Vinita Nair explained that “[Donald] Trump isn't the only candidate who is bashing the press this morning” as “Ted Cruz is angry with The Washington Post editorial cartoon” that “showed him in a cartoon as an organ grinder, using his daughters as holiday props.”

As many on Twitter have pointed out, it seems as though the liberal media have trotted out their tired strategy of already wondering if a conservative will ‘overreach’ concerning their response to a scandal.

Shifting to NBC’s Today, correspondent Hallie Jackson excused the far-left cartoonist’s work as meaning that Cruz has found himself “in his own feud not over words but a picture.”

Sadly, the harshest language employed by anyone on the network morning news was Today co-host Matt Lauer, who asked Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd if The Washington Post had “depicting Ted Cruz and his daughters in a demeaning way went too far in your opinion.”

At first, Todd seemed out of words in his disdain for what the liberal newspaper did, but then seemed to blame Donald Trump for creating a culture in the political world for something like this to happen: 

I mean, we've always had this call it an unwritten rule, maybe you ought to write the rule. No kids. I mean, come on and these are little kids. Ted Cruz — I mean, this is — you know, everything feels as if the line got erased, and I think Donald Trump has made everybody think all’s fair right now, but, boy, come on, unforced error.

The relevant portions of the transcript from December 23's CBS This Morning can be found below.

CBS This Morning
December 23, 2015
7:00 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Drawing Outrage]

NORAH O’DONNELL: Ted Cruz lashes out at a top newspaper over his kids.

(....)

7:05 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Drawing Outrage; Cruz and Rubio Denounce Washington Post Cartoon]

MAJOR GARRETT: With Cruz's climb in the polls has come increased scrutiny. This Washington Post editorial cartoon depicting his children as holiday props drew Cruz’s wrath, inspired by this light-hearted ad. A parody that features Cruz and his children reading conservative Christmas stories. 

CAROLINE CRUZ: I'll use my own server and no one will be the — 

GARRETT: The candidate quickly denounced the cartoon demanding on Twitter that the “Washington Post leave his children alone." “Stick with attacking me,” he tweeting, added his daughter “are out of your league.” The Washington Post defended the cartoon at first, then later it did not live up to its standard and retracted it. Senator Marco Rubio sent out a tweet calling the cartoon “disgusting” and by late last night, the Cruz campaign were sending out fundraising e-mails asking for emergency contributions. The subject line read: “They attacked my children.”

(....)

8:03 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Drawing Outrage; Cruz and Rubio Denounce Washington Post Cartoon]

VINITIA NAIR: Trump isn't the only candidate who is bashing the press this morning. Ted Cruz is angry with The Washington Post editorial cartoon. It showed him in a cartoon as an organ grinder, using his daughters as holiday props. Cruz tweet: “Classy. Washington Post makes fun of my girls. Stick w/ attacking me–Caroline & Catherine are out of your league.” Marco Rubio, who’s been fighting with Cruz over immigration issues, tweeted: “Wash Post cartoon featuring Ted Cruz’s children is disgusting. The Post saying the kids are fair game is even worse” The cartoon was inspired by a Cruz campaign ad showing the conservative Texas Senator and his family reading Christmas stories. 

NARRATOR IN CRUZ AD: The whole family will enjoy reading stories like the Grinch who lost her e-mails. 

CATHERINE CRUZ: “I know what I'll do,” she said with a snicker, “I'll use my own server and no one will be the wife.”

NAIR: The Post defended the cartoon, but later retracted it, saying it did not live up to the paper's standards. The Cruz campaign sent out fundraising e-mails last night under the subject line: They attacked my children!”

The relevant portions of the transcript from NBC’s Today on December 23 can be found below.

NBC’s Today
December 23, 2015
7:04 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Today’s Top Story; Clinton “Not Responding” to Trump; Donald Says Controversial Word Isn’t Vulgar]

HALLIE JACKSON: Ted Cruz, meanwhile, in his own feud not over words but a picture, this one, a Washington Post editorial cartoon showing the Senator as an organ grinder, his young daughters, dancing monkeys. The cartoonist calling the kids “fair game,” claiming Cruz used them as “political props” in this campaign ad. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Today’s Top Story; Ted Cruz vs. the Cartoonist; Attacks Wash Post After Kids Depicted as Monkeys]

CATHERINE CRUZ: “I know what I'll do,” she said with a snicker.

JACKSON: Cruz tweeting sarcastically, “Classy, @Washingtonpost. Stick with attacking me. Caroline and Katherine are out of your league.” This morning, that cartoon’s been removed by The Post and replaced by a editor's note explaining the policy of generally leaving candidates' kids out of cartoons and Cruz, who’s now fundraising off the controversy, got some backup from a surprising source. Marco Rubio, who called the cartoon “disgusting” in a tweet, Matt. The two, as you know, have been duking it out on the campaign trail, but remember, they both have young kids, not too far apart in age.


(....)

7:07 a.m. Eastern

MATT LAUER: We've talked so much about the tone of this campaign so far, Chuck. That cartoon on The Washington Post website depicting Ted Cruz and his daughters in a demeaning way went too far in your opinion?

MEET THE PRESS MODERATOR CHUCK TODD: Absolutely. I mean, we've always had this call it an unwritten rule, maybe you ought to write the rule. No kids. I mean, come on and these are little kids. Ted Cruz — I mean, this is — you know, everything feels as if the line got erased, and I think Donald Trump has made everybody think all’s fair right now, but, boy, come on, unforced error.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Double Standards Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Washington Post Video Major Garrett Hallie Jackson Chuck Todd Matt Lauer Vinita Nair Ted Cruz
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