Friday, August 28, 2009

Three Headlines on Ted Kennedy

No wonder folks are awash in Kennedy bathos. Washington Post Aug. 27 front page headline: "End of an American Epoch." Washington Times: "End of Camelot." New York Times: "Senator Kennedy, Battle Lost, Is Hailed as Leader." Respectively, self-referential pop history, Camelot amnesia and, finally, from the Gray Lady, a measured, dignified and even poetic banner that declined to canonize.

The important point made by the Times -- the real Times not the Moonie rag -- is that journalism is about what others say and do, not what journalists think. Ted Kennedy said a lot, but toting up his record, he accomplished extremely little, particularly if balanced against what he received.

It is appropriate to report that others -- mostly politicians desperate for a sound bite -- are the ones drooling about the younger Kennedy. Notice the absence of hard facts in all the praise? No? Well, The New York Times' headline reports it. Take note.
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