Edward M. Kennedy

Friday, August 28, 2009


Ted Kennedy died this week at the age of 77. For decades, the youngest Kennedy brother lived his public and private lives under the media glare. We remember his many incarnations.

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Comments [6]

Chris Gray from New Haven

Oh, and I registered with the Democratic Party, in his honor, which I recommend to all fence-sitters (I was an original Green Party organizer) as an answer to this tea party nonsense. Swelling the ranks of the party with new members, now, will put the lie to it all without even having a vote.

That's a lesson that the influence that only getting 10% of the vote can teach you.

Sep. 02 2009 02:02 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven

There is a lot to agree with.

I've spent a fair amount of time in a truly red state speaking to and for my audiences there and here. It really isn't any different, if you speak the truth.

Reagan was an inflatable toy, a front for one of the two titanic powers of the latter portion of the 20th Century and I don't mean the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. The Kennedys represented raw, brutal political power. The Bushes represented raw, brutal power. In the end, the brown shirts of their generation have been exposed and heaped with public scorn with just one line from the film "W", which ran in the trailer and which I so relished. "You've ruined the Bush name!"

When Barbara Garson wrote MacBird (the original Stacey Keach vehicle, premiered at Yale as I recall) she was on the right track. It's just that the secret, Skull & Bones, C.I.A. style players had not yet revealed themselves but I can never get J. Edgar Hoover being quoted as saying, "I was told about the details of the Kennedy assassination by that nice C.I.A. man, George Bush! (punctuation my own)"

Thank you for your "warts and all" profile.

Sep. 02 2009 01:32 AM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

I have to add that I just looked up OTM's pieces on the coverage of the death of Reagan. I encourage anyone to do the same. The coverage was portrayed by Bob and Brooke as through 'Gipper-colored' glasses - I missed the reference to the Kennedy obsequies as being through 'Teddy-colored glasses" - and Reagan's popularity was called into question by reference to polls. There was no, zero, similar skepticism of the starry-eyed coverage of the events of the past week of the Democratic Party's royal family. Any compare-and-contrast of OTM's review of the coverage of the Reagan and Kennedy rites will confirm that the OTM is fairly rigidly a product of its urban, blue-state environment when it comes to politics, which I'm afraid is a limiting factor. Do you really only want to speak to people who already agree with you at OTM?

Aug. 31 2009 11:21 AM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

Bob, your points above are well-made. But a 'journalism review' program should cast a cooler eye on how Kennedy was covered. Is there any equivalent to the relationship of Kennedy and his family to The Boston Globe, for example? I'm sure Massachusetts loved the Kennedys, but South Carolina loved Strom Thurmond, too. Not good enough.

The praise for Kennedy from 'old media' urban journalists, in their framing and vocabulary (using 'ventriloquist' speakers, for example, an old device) has been as jarring as have the expressions of loathing from the sizable population that disliked and distrusted the Kennedys. The far more popular and influential Ronald Reagan didn't receive nearly as much in the way of deification and the creation of a heroic narrative for his life when he died five years ago; it was embarrassingly clear that working journalists (including NPR) were struggling to be gracious. Kennedy's death gave such journalists (some, like Scott Simon, honorably excepted) an opportunity to express their political outlook under the veil of speaking kindly of the dead. Look at Bob Shieffer's over-the-top evaluation at CBS' news site, for example.

Aug. 31 2009 11:11 AM
Bob Garfield

Interesting comment, Mr. Reynolds. You've certainly proven that OTM is a fraud...except for three minor things:

1) The media did not whitewash Kennedy after Chappaquidick. On the contrary, all the holes in his story were front-page news for weeks.

2) Our phrase "cowardly, negligent embarrassment" sounds pretty indignant to me

3) this program has never mentioned Mark Sanford.

Otherwise, thank you for your thoughtful critique.

Aug. 30 2009 03:53 PM
Phil Reynolds from Concord, NH

Considering your self-described mission as "lifting the veil from the process of "making media,", I was expecting and not disappointed to discover the utter lack of media analysis in your paean to Ted Kennedy. From the phony neck brace placed around Ted's leonine head in 1969 right after the Chappaquidick affair to the senator's legions of flacks (including his chief cleaner-upper, Dun Gifford, brother to Massachusetts mega-banker, Chad Gifford) who literally cleaned up after him, including whisking Mary Jo Kopechne's body off to Pennsylvania in order to avoid a Massachusetts autopsy, the flim flams of the affair should have been meat and drink to "crusading" journalists like Brooke and Bob. But alas, OTM is more interested in bowdlerizing rather than serious media analysis when it comes to "one of your own." Ted Kennedy's important legislative achievements notwithstanding, his contribution to a young woman's death should have aroused at least the same indignation from OTM as did the "flaws" of Mark Sanford.

Aug. 30 2009 09:49 AM

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