According to the Washington Post, “It’s hard to explain the mystique [of Ted Kennedy] to those who never experienced the tumultous 1960s.”
It’s right. The pure adulteration of Ted Kennedy since his death seems rather exaggerated to this young person.
There seem to be two reasons for the overwhelming media coverage of Mr. Kennedy. Both are fairly superficial.
The first: it’s a really slow news day. Take a look at August 30th’s front page of the New York Times. There’s Ted Kennedy at the center. Pakistan apparently has “altered missiles sold for defense.” Then, Florida’s feeling pretty down in the recession. The Supreme Court might change campaign finance laws. And finally, “Students Get New Reading Assignments: Pick New Books You Like.”
When the New York Times has a story like that on its front page, you know it’s a slow news day.
So reporters play up the Ted Kennedy angle, because there’s only so many health care stories (approximately less than one) the average American can take before his eyes glaze over.
There is a bit more to criticize with the second reason. Think for a moment – what did Ted Kennedy do to deserve his fame? Hmmm…he was a great senator, apparently. The so-called liberal lion. Which of course leads to the question – what great bills did he write? The 1964 Civil Rights Bill? The bill that created Medicare?
The only one that I can name is the No Child Left Behind act.
In reality, the media honors Ted Kennedy so not because of his accomplishments, not because of what he has done, but because of his last name. He is a Kennedy. Kennedy’s are “political royalty,” according to the same Washington Post article. And the media treats them as such.
Except America was founded as a nation opposed to nepotism and nobility in all its forms and permutations. Everybody is supposed to be equal, no matter what their last name. It does not matter if you are a Kennedy or a Bush; anybody can run and become president. Obama, Clinton, Huckabee, Palin – their last names were not famous before they entered the national stage. And yet all four are major political players in today’s world (irregardless of whether one likes or dislikes them).
Of course, Ted Kennedy was an admittedly influential man and a powerful senator. He did a number of well-regarded things during his life, such as his role in defeating Reagan nominee Robert Bork.
Yet it is deeply disturbing to watch the media place Ted Kennedy on a pedestal. They do this not because of the things he did, not because of his achievements, but merely because of his last name. It is short-sighted. It goes against the values this country was founded upon. And most of all, it dishonors the memory of Ted Kennedy.