Media Airbrush Did Kennedy No Favors: Hitchens

Camelot replay overshadowed real accomplishments, redemption
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2009 2:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Kennedy “legacy” is not pretty, precisely because it requires so much media “airbrushing” to stay intact. “One of the many dreadful aspects,” Christopher Hitchens writes for Slate, “is the now-unbreakable grip of celebrity politics, image-doctoring, stage management, and ‘torch passing’ rhetoric in general.” But even the venomous pundit saves his harshest words for Ted Kennedy's hagiographers.

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Think, Hitchens writes, of “Walter Cronkite referring deadpan to the ‘driving accident’ that had kept Kennedy away from the Senate” and the “ingenuity” it took from the networks to “airbrush the fascist sympathies and bootlegging background of Joseph Kennedy Sr.” And yet last year, appalled by “malicious” campaign ads, Ted Kennedy “withdrew his support from a candidate whose victory would have meant the continuation of the dynastic politics”—and that’s worth something. (Read more Ted Kennedy stories.)

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