Contrasting Kennedy Coverage

The recent passing of Senator Ted Kennedy causes me to flash back to that time in 1963 when I was 14 years old and sitting in an English class at a high school in Brooklyn.. the teacher came into the class and told us that President John Kennedy had been shot. It was a sad time and the networks.. all of them.. had 24 hours of coverage for days.
Schools were closed but there was nothing on TV to watch except the coverage of the shooting and eventual passing of our president - I can remember being miffed that my favorite TV shows were not on.. yet.. looking back.. I think that it was good that I was inadvertently forced to watch "the news".. I can still remember John John, the president's young son, saluting the casket as it rolled by.. the presidents death had an impact on me because I watched it on TV.

Contrast that Kennedy passing with the one this week.. TV coverage is very different today than it was back in 1963.. there are so many networks and so many viewing options these days. I think that few children will watch the news coverage of Senator Kennedy's passing.. maybe few adults as well.. and I wonder if children even experience our national life in ways similar to mine. I wonder how this shift will impact future generations.

And finally, please don't take this opportunity to blast the memory of Senator Kennedy.. I was not a fan of his but I do feel for his loved ones who are missing him today.. this post is meant to contrast the differing ways that we remember these two brothers as they passed from this life to the next.. and I think I mostly rambled as I reminisced about an age gone by.


  1. Bob,

    Inundated with constant news coverage as we are, I shudder at the level of event it takes to become a "national event." With the exception of 9/11 I don't recall any events that capture our collective attention the way things used to.

    I fear that events and people that have had a exceptional part in shaping who we are as a nation are being passed by for Sponge Bob and QVC. Say what one may about Sen. Kennedy, it cannot be denied that he had influence that at the least rivaled that of his brothers.

    On a side note, I admire Sen Kennedy for being a man of principles and (according to those who knew him) a man of his word. Those qualities seem to be rare these days on both sides of the aisle. My prayers are with his family.

  2. I find the disturbing thing about the way the media handles major stories is that they beat them to death and spend so much time on commentary that they don't bother covering other stories which are also of importance.

    Although I was no fan, I will say that he was a man of his convictions and served in the Senate faithfully for years.

    It must be incredibly difficult for the Kennedy family to lose two family members in such close succession. I wish him - and them - peace.

  3. Well, here in New England, it was covered on every network 24/7. Teddy was a hero tp these people.

  4. Ted Kennedy was a hero to all who joined or supported his fight for social justice.

    It is a shame that some will not forgive him for a 40 year old mistake. But, rest assured that God did.

    Ted Kennedy authored more than 2,500 bills throughout his career in the United States Senate. Of those bills, several hundred have become Public Law. Below are some of those laws, which have made a significant difference in the quality of life for the American people.

    • Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986
    • Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990
    • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
    • Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990
    • National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993
    • Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994
    • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
    • Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997
    • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 1997
    • Project BioShield Act of 2003
    • Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2005
    • legislation to create a federal initiative patterned on volunteer programs in several states to feed the elderly, either with meals delivered to their homes or in group settings. Kennedy’s bill established permanent federal subsidies for these programs (the first was $250 million over two years), and he fought the Nixon Administration’s attempts to completely eliminate funding. In 2007, 141 million meals were delivered to 916,000 individuals and 95 million meals were provided to 1.6 million seniors in community locations. It is estimated that over 6 billion meals have been served since Kennedy’s bill was signed into law.
    • Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC).
    • Public Health Threats and Emergencies Act
    • Project BioShield Act, creating stronger defenses to bioterrorism
    • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Revitalization Act of 1993
    • legislation that quadrupled the amount of funding for cancer research and prevention (1971)
    • Mammography Quality Standards Act (1992)
    • 21st Century Cancer Access to Life-Saving Early detection, Research and Treatment (ALERT) Act
    • Empowered the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) power to regulate tobacco products
    • Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act
    • Mental Health Parity legislation to help eliminate unjust annual and lifetime limits on mental health coverage
    • Mental Health Early Intervention, Treatment and Prevention Act of 2000
    • The Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act
    • Healthcare Research and Quality Act, which established the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Program
    • Federal funding of the Vaccines for Children Program
    • Voting Rights Act of 1965
    • Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1982
    • Voting Rights Language Assistance Act
    • Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988 (vetoed by Ronald Reagan)
    • amendments to extend the Fair Housing Act of 1968
    • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
    • Civil Rights Act of 1991
    • Employment Non Discrimination Act
    • first ever bipartisan campaign finance bill (1973)
    • Deregulation of the Airline Industry (1974)
    • Immigration Act of 1965, which ended the selection of immigrants on the basis of their national origin that began in 1924
    • Refugee Act of 1980 which established a comprehensive U.S. policy to provide humanitarian assistance, admission and resettlement to refugees around the world
    • Violence Against Women Act (1994, 2000)
    • Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002
    • McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform bill
    • “truth in sentencing” legislation to reform the federal criminal code and require all federal judges to follow specific guidelines in sentencing offenders convicted of particular crimes. Kennedy believed in the idea that prisoners should serve their sentences in full.

    Continued in my next comment

  5. Kennedy accomplishments - continued

    • 1994 Crime Act, which provided funding for 100,000 new police officers, imposed strict new penalties for crimes involving gangs and firearms, and authorized the Police Corps, a program that gives talented young people college scholarships in return for their commitment to serve as police officers in their communities.
    • Equal Rights Amendment
    • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
    • Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987
    • Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978
    • Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993. The legislation restored strict scrutiny for certain religious free exercise claims. The legislation was in response to the Supreme Court decision -- Oregon v. Smith in 1989, which invalidated the use of strict scrutiny in cases involving acts by governments which had the unintentional effect of violating an individual’s right to free exercise of his or her religion.
    • Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)
    • conducted the first Congressional investigation of Watergate
    • strongly opposed the death penalty. His opposition is a matter of principle, based on his understanding of the stark racial disparities involved, the lack of competent legal representation in many cases, and the unacceptable danger that an innocent person may be executed.
    • Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)
    • Voting Rights Act of 1965
    • lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. He felt strongly that those who old enough to fight for their country are old enough to vote.
    • Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1982
    • Voting Rights Language Assistance Act
    • Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988 – passed in spite of President Reagan’s veto.
    • Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which was the centerpiece of the War on Poverty and created Head Start.
    • Early Head Start, created by Senator Kennedy in 1994, serves infants and toddlers in poverty.
    • Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
    • bipartisan Star Schools Program Assistance Act in 1987
    • Goals 2000 Education America Act
    • Higher Education Act in 1968
    • Vocational Education Amendments of 1968 modified the existing vocational education programs and established a National Advisory Council on Vocational Education.
    • Academic Research Facilities Modernization Act of 1998
    • Workforce Investment Act of 1998 created new training provisions that now guide most federal training investments.
    • National and Community Service Trust Act, creating AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service to expand opportunities for citizens to serve their communities, and most recently with his good friend Senator Orrin Hatch, the Serve America Act of 2009
    • New National Defense Education Act (2006)
    • leading Congressional proponent of a fair minimum wage, which was increased 16 times during his nearly half century of Senate service.
    • Pension Protection Act of 2006, the largest reform of the nation’s pension system since 1974.
    • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to restore a fair rule for filing pay discrimination cases.
    • bipartisan mine safety reform legislation, the MINER Act
    • Employee Free Choice Act, which will protect the right of workers to organize and join a union, and stop the epidemic of employer anti-union violations (introduced in 2009)
    • Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Act of 2000
    • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

    Continued in my next comment

  6. Kennedy accomplishments - continued

    • National Military Child Care Act (1989)
    • National Guard and Reserve Mental Health Access Act of 2008 to improve access to mental health care for our returning Guard and Reserve men and women
    • Civil Rights Commission Act Amendments of 1978, which expanded the jurisdiction of the Civil Rights Commission to protect people from discrimination on the basis of disability.
    • Air Carrier Access Act. This law required that facilities and services be provided to people with disabilities traveling by air.
    • Fair Housing Act Amendments to extend the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to include people with disabilities and families with children.
    • Crime Victims and Disabilities Awareness Act of 1998
    • Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act, which made work incentives for disabled individuals a permanent fixture of the Social Security Act (1986).
    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which guarantees a free and appropriate public education to children with disabilities, regardless of their severity, in all states (1975).
    • Handicapped Children’s Protection Act of 1986, which overturned a Supreme Court decision and allowed courts to award sensible attorneys fees to parents of children with disabilities winning in due process proceedings and other court actions under part B of the Education Act.
    • bipartisan Family Opportunity Act. The law provides states the option of allowing families of disabled children to purchase health coverage through Medicaid.
    • legislation to create a “bill of rights” for people with developmental disabilities. The bill also provided funding for services for people with this type of disability, supplemented funding for affiliated university facilities and created state-based systems of protection and advocacy groups in all 50 states.

  7. I'd be more impressed if he had expressed his sorrow and remorse to the Kopechne family. Which he never did. And if he was not, as is well-reported by more than reliable source, fond of Chappaquiddick jokes.

    And, of course, if he hadn't Borked the good justice (and told his wife it was "nothing personal" after his unbelievable character assassination) or changed his position on abortion.

    A hypocrite and a remorseless megalomaniac. He did work hard and was part of good legislation, but Al Capone fed thousands with his soup kitchens. Big whup.

  8. NOW I see your request not to blast his memory. Sorry. Was responding to the praise above.


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