The Dallas Morning News was sharply criticized after amplifying a tabloid-like story about the 13-year-old daughter of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), which seemingly attempted to pit the young teenager against her father by highlighting differences in political opinion.
What are the details?
The Dallas Morning News published a story last Thursday claiming Cruz found himself in a "predicament" last week, which the story identified as "an outspoken teenage daughter with a TikTok account."
The newspaper published its story to Twitter with a headline that read, "Ted Cruz's daughter says she disagrees with 'most of his views.'" The story, however, did not explain where that assertion derived.
However, the story explained that the Dallas Observer first reported on the existence of the TikTok account. That story revealed the tidbit about the alleged political views of Cruz's daughter.
In a recent video posted to TikTok, Cruz’s teenage daughter Caroline tells her followers about the pros and cons of being a senator’s kid. On the plus side, she says, she gets to travel and sometimes receives gifts and candy in the mail. Downsides include the fact that security has to shadow her wherever she goes, such as on walks through the neighborhood and to her friends’ houses.
Next, Caroline reveals another, more surprising tidbit. “A lot of people judge me based upon him at first glance,” Caroline said, “but I really disagree with most of his views.”
What was the reaction?
The Dallas Morning News was promptly blasted for amplifying a story centering on the teenage child of a U.S. lawmaker. Stories on minor children are widely considered beyond the limit of ethical journalism.
- "I cannot imagine any reason why media outlets would write a story about a politician’s 13 year old child—especially when it pits child against parent for political purposes. (See also: George and Kellyanne Conway’s minor daughter). It seems ghoulish," MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said.
- "She’s 13. Stop this," Meghan McCain said.
- "Public officials are fair game. Our children are not," Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) said.
- "Dumb & divisive. The notion that it’s news when someone’s views differ from their parents’ is bizarre. I’m a 32 yr old autonomous person w/a decade+ career in politics & some reporters still refuse to accept my views cd possibly differ from my father’s. Lol (it’s also sexist)," CNN commentator Alyssa Farah Griffen responded.
- "This is gross. The reporters who wrote this crap and their editor should be fired," media strategist Giancarlo Sopo reacted.
- "Children should be off limits. Social media doesn’t change that. It just makes it more important for us to be the adults," political commentator Sarah Isgur said.
- "Has the @dallasnews put any time or resources into pursuing any of the myriad criminal scandals surrounding Hunter Biden? Or is it just disagreements between a teenage girl and her senator dad they care about?" radio host Larry O'Connor reacted.
- "What a 13-year-old says about her dad on TikTok — in an account that had been made private prior to publishing this story — is not newsworthy, absent some extraordinary revelation. And I say this as someone who despises him," former Obama administration official Eric Columbus said.
- "An utterly classless story from the @dallasnews. She's just 13, not an elected official. Let it go," former Cruz spokesman Ron Nehrling said.
Neither Cruz nor his office have yet responded to the story.