The media’s responses to Donald Trump’s threats to and disparagement of Heidi Cruz are a good example of how much they’ve enabled him during this campaign.
Last week an anti-Trump political action committee not tied to any candidate issued a Facebook ad it said was targeted at Mormon voters in Utah. The ad used one of Melania Trump’s many professional nude modeling pictures, over which was written “Meet Melania Trump. Your next First Lady. Or, you could support Ted Cruz on Tuesday.” Trump was a model in her career prior to marrying businessman Donald Trump. She is his third wife thus far.
This independent group is called “Make America Awesome” and is led by consultant Liz Mair. Ted Cruz was on track to win Utah by huge margins before the ad ran. The extremely low-budget ad made a splash, as ads featuring naked women tend to. As a result of the splash, some criticized it for crossing the boundary that typically prohibits political groups from going after a candidate’s family. But such lines have been obliterated by the Donald Trump campaign this year. Trump had previously disparaged Jeb Bush’s wife, among other women.
Trump’s response to the ad was to threaten Heidi Cruz, Ted Cruz’s wife. He has continued to threaten to reveal negative information about her and has disparaged her looks. Cruz had nothing whatsoever to do with the ad — if he did, it would be a serious violation of federal law — and yet has spoken against it. In response, to Trump’s threats, Cruz has repeatedly told Trump to knock it off, while also defending and praising his wife, Heidi, and speaking well of Melania. Here’s an example of that, Cruz tweeted:
“Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.
That ad was completely inappropriate. I had nothing to do with it.”
So to review. An anti-Trump group unaffiliated with any campaign hit Melania Trump. Cruz denounced that attack ad that he had nothing to do with. He defended his own wife and he spoke well of of Trump’s wife.
Here are three completely dishonest ways the media are responding to this turn of events.
Ye Olde ‘Both Sides’ Template
So here’s how National Journal‘s Ron Fournier is characterizing these events:
The GOP can’t get any lower, you say? Its top two presidential candidates are abusing each other’s wives.
This is simply not true. Trump has abused Cruz’s wife. But Cruz has praised Trump’s wife. There is not any reason to believe that Cruz has done anything that Fournier accuses him of. I asked Fournier for evidence of his incendiary claim. He didn’t provide any.
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