CBS This Morning co-anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell on Monday demonstrated that, when it comes to the Kennedys, journalists have a stunning ability to focus on the superficial and withhold judgment. Reporter Vinita Nair highlighted a new book on John Kennedy's last year in office and, as Nair described it, the President's "long-rumored love affair" with Marilyn Monroe.
Nair relayed the book's contention that Jackie knew about all the affairs and wasn't bothered unless her husband "publicly embarrassed her." Author Christopher Anderson also claims that Monroe called Mrs. Kennedy to talk about her affair with the President. Host Rose responded to all of this by marveling, "The other thing I noticed there, the President could never take a bad photograph." O'Donnell concurred, "Yes. And Jackie Kennedy as well." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Rose murmured, "And that voice." O'Donnell cooed, "That voice."
The voice? The looks? That's what the two took away from the report? At least correspondent Nair allowed that the illicit affair could have "obliterate [John Kennedy's] reputation" and his presidency.
Returning from the report on JFK's infidelity, O'Donnell neutrally noted, "There's an endless fascination with the Kennedys and certainly that relationship between the two of them."
Just last week, CBS and the other networks heralded relatively boring footage of JFK golfing on vacation.
Clearly, baby boomer journalists are still in love with the Democratic family
A transcript of the August 5 segment is below:
CHARLIE ROSE: Marilyn Monroe died 51 years ago today. Historians have long written about the possibility she had a relationship with President John F. Kennedy. Vinita Nair looks at a new book which claims Monroe actually called First Lady Jackie Kennedy to talk about it.
VINITA NAIR: The long-rumored love affair between President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe is at the center of Christopher Anderson’s new book These Few Precious Days: The Final Year of Jack with Jackie. Presidential historian Doug Wead thinks Anderson’s sensational revelations could well be true.
DOUG WEAD: It's the sort of thing that's unbelievable but really happens in history. Some of these things we're uncovering right now will move from speculation to fact as time progresses.
NAIR: Anderson writes that when Jackie first entered the White House she feared she'd never see her husband. Instead sharing both home and office meant that she saw Kennedy many times a day, eventually deciding the White House years "were the happiest time of my life."
JACKIE KENNEDY: This window used to be a door in the olden days.
NAIR: But Anderson also reports that Jackie knew about all of JFK’s women. He says the affairs upset her but she was willing to turn a blind eye as long as he didn't publicly embarrass her. It was his relationship with Marilyn Monroe that seemed to bother her the most. In large part, because Marilyn was a loose cannon who could go public at any time, causing a scandal that would obliterate her husband’s reputation, destroy her marriage, and hold her up to public ridicule. He claims that Monroe, aware her career was fading, thought Kennedy would marry her. "Can't you just see me as first lady," she told a friend. Anderson says Monroe even called Jackie and told her of JFK’s promise to marry her. Jackie was unfazed. "Marilyn you’ll marry Jack. That's a great and you’ll move into the White House and you’ll assume the responsibilities of first lady and I’ll move out and you’ll have all the problems." Wead says Jackie's acceptance of Kennedy’s infidelity could be rooted in the relationship she had with the man she trusted most.
WEAD: She was closest to her dad. Loved her dad. Her dad loved, adored her, and yet he had many infidelities in his life so maybe she could come in some curious way to accept the fact that her husband, Jack, could love her and still be unfaithful to her.
NAIR: For CBS This Morning, Vinita Nair, New York.
NORAH O'DONNELL: There’s an endless fascination with the Kennedy’s and certainly that relationship between the two of them
ROSE: Yeah. The other thing I noticed there, the President could never take a bad photograph.
O'DONNELL: Yes. And Jackie Kennedy as well.
O'DONNELL: Jackie Kennedy as well.
ROSE: And that voice.
O'DONNELL: The voice. What a beautiful voice.