Asleep at the Wheel: Credulous 'Today' Curiously Incurious About Kennedy Case

Let's imagine it was, oh, Karl Rove who had been involved in a car accident under circumstances identical to those surrounding Patrick Kennedy.  Think the Today show would be focusing on his 'courage' and largely taking at face value his claim that prescription medicines caused the crash?  Or would they, rather, be demanding to know whether he was telling the truth in claiming no alcohol was involved?

That 'Today' was in a decidedly forgiving mood was clear from the show's very opening.  Note the graphic Today attached to Kennedy's image.  Not "Telling the Truth?" or "Drinking & Driving?", but "Seeking Treatment". 

In his subsequent report, NBC reporter Chip Reid placed his MSM imprimatur upon Kennedy's version of events.  We first were treated to a clip of Kennedy's statement about his addiction to painkillers, concluding with his observation that "I struggle every day with this disease as do millions of Americans."

The very next words out of Reid's mouth: "That struggle came to a head this week in a bizarre traffic accident on Capitol Hill."  Translation: Kennedy's version of the accident is true.  It was the 'struggle' with prescription drugs, not alcohol, at the root of the accident. 

Reid later referred to Kennedy's announcement that he was entering rehab as a "big step."  Oh, the bravey!  Again, had this been Rove or another disfavored Republican, one can imagine the MSM skeptically suggesting a decison to enter rehab was nothing more than part of a carefully-orchestrated PR campaign.

Now, it's true Reid mentioned that Capitol Hill police officers suspected Kennedy was driving under the influence of alcohol. But Reid mentioned only the police report stating "Kennedy's eyes were red and watery, speech was slightly slurred and balance was unsure." No mention by Today:

Reid simply left it for viewers to infer that the police mistakenly confused Kennedy's pill-induced symptoms as stemming from alcohol.

We were later treated to file footage of father Ted Kennedy saying he was proud of Patrick, and to Sen. Kennedy's current statement saluting Patrick's "courage."

Curiously incurious, those NBC folks, wouldn't you say?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.