PR Fish Bowl


TGIF: Kennedy Tragedies and Media Coverage

I am chagrined that I am even writing a post that relates to a family’s continuing history of tragic events, and the cringeworthy way the news media will play the story. But, alas, premature death has claimed another Kennedy.

Some people can tell you exactly where they were when JFK was killed; others, his brother Bobby, and for a different generation, JFK, Jr. But, what each of their deaths has in common beyond a legacy of enormous sadness and the question of  how much tragedy is a family supposed to endure, is the way this recent passing (of Robert Kennedy Jr.’s estranged wife Mary) will be covered by the press.

I haven’t really looked yet, but let me put it out there and we will see if I am right. After examining the cause of Mrs. Kennedy’s death and the surrounding speculation with some who are “close to the family,” there will be speculation ad nauseum on her life and substance abuse issues by mental health and addiction experts. These interviews will be all over the morning shows, the “Datelines” of the world etc.

I predict then to hear from the ubiquitous Dr. Drew, other self-appointed experts, or possibly even Kennedy scholars (Doris Kearns Goodwin, you’re up!) to put the tragedy into perspective or speculate on the political future of the family’s newest generation. When he is ready, Robert Kennedy Jr. will no doubt speak, with heartfelt loss on behalf of his children. This used to be his Uncle Ted’s role.

Then the tabloids and TMZs of the world will look for dirt and talk about all the other Kennedy scandals, from Mary Jo Kopechne to William Kennedy Smith to the recent Douglas Kennedy (brother-in-law of the deceased) skirmish in the neo-natal ward.

It will never end for this family. Recently a woman who interned for JFK revealed details of a salacious affair, — 50 years ago! Lest anyone wonder why there are 4-5 competing gossip magazines going gangbusters at any time, Kennedy stories have always had a place.

They were Camelot, “U.S. Royalty,” but cursed, some would say. I know one thing: when Mick Jagger sings, “who killed the Kennedys, after all it was you and me” in “Sympathy for the Devil,” the “you and me” are all who can’t let them die, or grieve, in peace.

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