New Washington Post Reporter Proclaimed ‘Ted Kennedy Has Been a Huge Inspiration to Me’

Melinda Henneberger, who in 2009 proclaimed “Ted Kennedy has been a huge inspiration to me” and boasted of a “longtime political crush on the man who either in spite of his flaws and losses or because of them accomplished more than anyone else in my lifetime for causes that liberals (and other Americans) care about,” has joined the Washington Post where, per a Thursday announcement posted by Poynter’s Romenesko site, Henneberger “will write portraits of key political players and crucial campaign moments. She also will anchor a new blog on politics and culture.”

Henneberger (her Twitter), a New York Times reporter in Rome and Washington, DC for ten years ending in 2002, ran AOL’s PoliticsDaily site until it was shut down in March by Arianna Huffington.

After Kennedy passed away, she came aboard the August 27 Hardball on MSNBC where she recalled how as a college graduate in 1980, the same year Ronald Reagan gave speeches which inspired many other Americans, “listening to that [Kennedy convention] speech that night was a hugely important, serious moment I think in all our lives, just thinking about the importance of giving back, of, you know, idealism” and so it was an address “I will never forget and was really moved to see again this week.”

Asked by Matthews to name what Kennedy causes inspired her, Henneberger replied: “Caring for people who needed our help, thinking about other people, hanging in there when things were rough, not having it depend on whether you lost or won in the short-term.”

Later in the segment she expressed how she yearns for someone to “pick up” Kennedy's “mantle” and that she regrets “the response of all the Kennedy-haters coming out too in a way that you would have hoped would not have happened at a time like this.”

Online, in her Wednesday, August 26, 2009 PoliticsDaily post, “In the Senate and On the Left, Who Will Take Teddy's Place? (And in What Lifetime?),” Henneberger boasted:

My longtime political crush on the man who either in spite of his flaws and losses or because of them accomplished more than anyone else in my lifetime for causes that liberals (and other Americans) care about: fighting poverty, health care reform, civil rights, health care reform, women's rights, health care reform, workers' rights, and so on.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center