Ted Kennedy's Legacy: Symbolism vs. Stark Realities
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Ted Kennedy’s death on Wednesday–in essence the passing of a senator–produced a never-ending tsunami of retrospectives. Newscasts, from CNN to PBS’ News Hour with Jim Lehrer, devoted entire programs to Ted Kennedy’s passing. The funeral on Saturday is likely to trigger another wave of retrospectives by the MSM.

The enshrinement of the deceased exposes the unfiltered liberal biases of the Mainstream Media elite. On CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°, the gestures of John King and Gloria Borger–tilting the head, raising the eyebrows, batting the eyelashes–reflected a typical display of awestruck sentiment. Historian Douglas Brinkley summarized Kennedy’s legacy as if his political contributions ranked with the Founding Fathers.

Thursday’s Washington Post contains three front-page articles, four columns on the op/ed page (with six mini-retrospectives), a timeline with photographs that stretch across the span of two pages, five pages in the national section, and a “Style section” piece by Lois Romano. Friday’s Post contains two front page articles, multiple pages of coverage in the national section, and another column on the op/ed page.

The coverage is what one would expect from the death of a former president. Why all the attention over the death of this U.S. senator?

Part of the explanation is the Kennedy mystique–the death of the last prince ofCamelot”. Post columnist Eugene Robinson noted that Kennedy was “a prince fated never to be king”.

Another major factor is that Kennedy epitomized everything the MSM embraces: unrestricted mass immigration; “civil rights” also known as quotas, preferential treatment, and set-asides; public school desegregation via forced busing; the Equal Rights Amendment; socialized medicine (or “universal health care” widely touted as the “public option”); and Barack Obama.

MSM journalists, editors, reporters, and commentators identify with Kennedy’s political and social outlook–one defined by a rabid egalitarian liberal ideology.

Commentators on the airwaves talked in generic terms about how Kennedy “changed America” and left his “impact” on the nation without explaining the ramifications of his impact. Will the America of the future look like the America of the past? Will it resemble more and more the turmoil and ethnic strife of a Third World nation? How much public debt, how much more government, how much more federal regulation, how many more quotas, how many more egalitarian social policies are we willing to finance, support and shoulder as a nation? These questions will remain unanswered because the MSM will avoid any substantive critique or sustained discussion of Kennedy’s real legacy.

It should be noted that Editor & Publisher magazine combed though the obituaries of Sen. Kennedy to see how long it took for them to bring up the Chappaquiddick incident.

Here are the top results:

Boston Herald — 10th paragraph

Boston Globe — 5th paragraph

New York Times —14th paragraph

New York Post — 14th paragraph

New York Daily News —13th paragraph

Washington Post — 9th paragraph

Wall Street Journal — 6th paragraph

Los Angeles Times — 12th paragraph

Chicago Tribune — 12th paragraph

Miami Herald — 10th paragraph

• Reuters —18th paragraph

USA Today —19th paragraph

Politico–24th paragraph


Roll Call — 25th paragraph

National Journal — 11th paragraph

Times of London — 8th paragraph

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