How We’re Remembering Ted Kennedy

By
Kennedy in 1991 with Jackie Onassis, JFK Jr., and Caroline.
Kennedy in 1991 with Jackie Onassis, JFK Jr., and Caroline. Photo: Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

The print, radio, and television media have clearly been prepared for the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, as demonstrated by well-prepared obituaries and broadcast packages that sprung up early this morning after his death late last night. He's being characterized primarily as, alternately, the "family patriarch", the "liberal lion of the senate", and Washington's health-care "power broker." The networks, in their coverage, generally also mentioned the darker periods of his life, including allegations of alcohol problems, womanizing, and the terrible 1969 car accident on an island off of Martha's Vineyard that left a young woman dead, and effectively barred the youngest Kennedy brother from a future in the White House. Today on their morning shows, MSNBC and CNN provided wall-to-wall coverage of his death, inviting friends and historians to fill air time discussing his legacy, stopping only briefly to relay other breaking news. Fox News' Fox & Friends spent time talking about other, quirky news stories like this one and listening to a lengthy performance by country singer Jack Ingram. But perhaps most telling of how Ted Kennedy will be discussed in the short term are this morning's Google Trends. The first search trend, leading up to 9 a.m., was "Ted Kennedy." The second and third were: "Mary Jo Kopechne" and "Chappaquiddick."