Will the Network 'News' Ever Stop Kennedy Shoe-shining?

The network news divisions just never stop making deals to promote the Kennedy family and the omnipresent Kennedy mythology and mystique. Katherine Fung at The Huffington Post reports that ABC will air a two-hour special on September 13 promoting interviews with Jackie Kennedy recorded months after the JFK assassination with liberal historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.,  a major figure in Kennedy myth-building. 

At least Fung notes reports out of the UK that Caroline Kennedy made this deal with ABC in exchange for getting the "Kennedys" miniseries dropped from the History Channel. The whole special is intended to sell a book (and audio) organized by liberal establishment historian Michael Beschloss. The ABC trailer for this special is truly sickening, and carries the usual assumption that every last American finds it endlessly fascinating to ponder the lives of these allegedly heroic, historic, and glamorous people. The announcer gushes:

No American family has captured our hearts, captured our imaginations more, been at the center of so much history. No American family has seen more headlines, lived through more personal drama, heart-rending tragedy, all in the glare of the spotlight.

Now, this September, for the first time, hear from the woman at the center of so much history, Jacqueline Kennedy. Remarkable, never-heard-before interviews. Conversations Jacqueline Kennedy recorded with one of America’s greatest historians soon after her husband’s death. What she wanted recorded prsserved for history, for posterity, for all to one day hear.

Reflections, impressions of her life with her husband, President John Kennedy, The White House her children and family. Events that shaped a generation.  She took a responsibility to history to heart. Even through the toughest times and wanted these conversations to reveal a window into the extraordinary historic events that shaped the Kennedy White House.

Americans have long been fascinated by Jacqueline and John Kennedy. Now, for the first time, listen to history, as told by Jacqueline Kennedy herself.

This is so full of gush it could flood Vermont. Then, naturally it ends like a Kennedy commercial should: "Pre-order the deluxe book and audio set today."  (Ka-ching for Caroline.) Here's how the Huff-Post reported it:

ABC is scheduled to air never-before-heard interviews with Jackie Kennedy on September 13. On Wednesday, the network released its first trailer for the show.

The much-anticipated recordings, which are rumored to contain revelations about the former First Lady's romantic affairs and her husband's infidelities, will broadcast as part of a two-hour special with Diane Sawyer called "Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words."

Jackie Kennedy recorded the interviews with historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. shortly after her husband's death, but had ordered them to be sealed until fifty years after her death. The Daily Mail reports that daughter Caroline agreed to release the tapes early in exchange for ABC dropping its Katie Holmes-led drama series about their family, though the network pointed out that she had planned to release the interviews in a book months beforehand.

The special will put an end to the speculation about the content of the tapes, which was rife when ABC first announced their release in August. The Daily Mail reported the network had called the tapes "explosive," and that Kennedy addressed a possible affair between her husband and an intern as well as a theory that Lyndon B. Johnson was behind her husband's assassination.

The network has since denied those rumors, calling the report "total nonsense." A spokesperson told the New York Post, ""ABC isn't releasing any content from those tapes until mid-September, at which time it will be clear how off base these reports are."

That's not the only Kennedy book coming this fall. Chris Matthews has his own book due November 1 titled Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero. The Amazon.com page carries this promotional language:

 We know so much about President John F. Kennedy, yet even his wife Jacqueline described him as “that elusive man.” To MSNBC Hardball  host Chris Matthews, Kennedy has long been both an avatar and a puzzle, a beacon and a conundrum. “Whenever I spot the name in print, I stop to read. Anytime I’ve ever met a person who knew him—someone who was there with JFK in real time—I crave hearing their first-person narrative.”

For years, Matthews has been collecting those stories. In Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, the bestselling author and Kennedy expert has woven those firsthand encounters with JFK into a great American Bildungsroman, telling the tale of how Kennedy grew from a child of privilege into a war hero and finally President of the United States, all the while coping with a life-threatening disease.

“In searching for Jack Kennedy my own way,” Matthews writes, “I found a fighting prince never free from pain, never far from trouble, never accepting the world he found, never wanting to be his father’s son. He was a far greater hero than he ever wished us to know.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis