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.


Anne said...

I never attached Camelot to the Kennedys, they were too human, much like the rest of us. I've read the Times, Globe, Courant & other local papers with all their imported journalism and editorials and watched ABC NBC, MSNBC, CNN & even FOX (sounds like I'm a news junkie.)

What rises from all this is the coverage of the personal effect, predominately good sometimes exquisitely sweet, of Ted K on masses of people. Ted lived within his own character...maybe truly a Fast Eddie but in the best sense possible.

There is enough recorded "history" out there to dispute "extremely little". He didn't retire from the hoi polloi to sip from his silver spoon, he shared his wealth effectively.

People do stupid things (at the minimum) in the wake tragedy or in the midst of depression or at the end of the rope of morality. Not everyone survives, atones, fights forward, gives and gives, is present to others, and works for social justice. He did.

This isn't red carpet artificial glitz I've been watching. Reporters have simply been relaying to those of us who give a hoot who Kennedy was to his collegues, constituents, family, and the vast majority of dis~ or less-advantaged Americans.

My conclusion is that Edward M. Kennedy was a lover of people.

I'd rather know him than Cheney.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

At the risk of being disagreeable, I think about the family of Mary Jo Kopechne being forced to relive their grief as everyone we've ever heard of climbs over each other to eulogize Ted Kennedy. It still astounds me that an act which would have been a career-killer for anyone else was a mere blip on his radar because of his family connections. Of course, it was JFK who pronounced that life is not fair. I wonder if he was rubbing his hands together when he said it.

Anne said...

It is not disagreeable to speak the truth about Mary Jo Kopechne and her family's grief.