Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Will the Media Ever Stop the Kennedy Camelot Charade

I tuned in ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer on February 22, and once again Sawyer started gushing about another story concerning the John F. Kennedy administration, referring to it as keeping the era of Camelot alive.  It appears that someone found a film of Jack and Jacqueline Kennedy together at an appearance the night before JFK was assassinated, and, of course, this merited a spot on a major newscast even though the Middle East is falling apart and every major state in the union is going bankrupt.

It's sad enough that the media in this country created such a phony image of the Kennedy family as American royalty, and the JFK administration as somehow a reenactment of the Camelot mythology.  Now, despite decades of contradictions to that image, many in the media, like Diane Sawyer, still prefer to believe the charade than embrace reality.

In the years since the Kennedy assassination, those of us who choose to get our information beyond the evening newscasts of the three major networks have found out what a fraud the Camelot image really was.  Kennedy and his first lady hardly had an idyllic marriage, and the three major Kennedy brothers, Jack, Bobby and Ted, were known as much for their infidelity as anything else.

I worked very closely at one time with a person who was a minor player in the Kennedy administration, and I asked him if it was true that Joe Kennedy, the patriarch of the family, gave Jackie Kennedy a million dollars so she wouldn't divorce Jack before his presidential run in 1960.  He told me that he couldn't confirm it absolutely, but that was what several Kennedy advisers told him while he worked for the President.  There was a story that JFK even jumped the fence on the night of his inauguration in January 1961 to be with another woman.

Nevertheless, the media continues to perpetuate a false premise no matter what information comes out to debunk that premise.  The media created the JFK administration as Camelot, and many in the media refuse to let go of the canard.

This is one of the most disturbing aspects of the modern news media that I've come to know over my four decades as a communications professional.  When they create a premise, they will stick with it no matter how false the facts prove that premise to be.  The United States has no monarchy, and neither the Kennedy family nor any other family is American royalty.  No matter, the media refuses to let go of the myth.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps the real error here is that the media fail to comprehend the Arthur legend as much as they fail to comprehend the Kennedy administration. After all, Arthur's reign (as told and retold from Monmouth to Malory to Monty Python) was less than idyllic. It too, was filled with adultery, betrayal, and tragedy. Perhaps nobody really understands just how apt the metaphor is.