Kurtz: National Media Gave Kennedy a Pass

Washington Post political scene reporter Howie Kurtz observes that the national media has been uncharacteristically silent concerning Patrick Kennedy’s previous “adventures,” especially since he is, well, a Kennedy:

It’s hard to imagine that Patrick Kennedy would have gotten elected to Congress a dozen years ago without his last name.
It’s equally hard to imagine that the media would be going wild about his late-night car crash and prescription drug addiction if he weren’t a Kennedy.
The only lingering mystery is why national news organizations didn’t pounce earlier on the Rhode Island Democrat’s long history of alcohol and drug abuse, depression and a series of downright embarrassing incidents.
The answer in large measure is that Kennedy hasn’t been a very important House member. But given the journalistic obsession with the Kennedy family and its tragicomic soap opera, he does seem to have gotten an easy ride — except in the New England press, which has chronicled his every misstep.
While Kennedy, the 38-year-old son of Ted Kennedy, was widely reported to have held a news conference Friday, it was nothing of the sort. He read a statement designed to elicit sympathy, saying he was going into rehab, and took no questions. This amounted to an age-old damage-control technique: changing the subject…
When national news organizations last week began throwing together their congressman-in-trouble profiles — along with the inevitable Ambien sidebars — there was a long list of local clips to pore over.
In 1991, while a state representative, Kennedy acknowledged — following a National Enquirer story — having used cocaine as a teenager, but said he had kicked the habit years earlier by checking into a treatment center.
In 2000 alone, Kennedy got into a scuffle with an airport security guard, who said he shoved her during an argument about oversize luggage; admitted taking antidepressants; was accused by a charter company of causing $28,000 in damage to a rented sailboat; and, after a few drinks and an argument, had a distraught date call the Coast Guard to be rescued from his chartered yacht.
Just last month, Kennedy hit another car in a Rhode Island parking lot.
Relatively little of this drew significant national coverage…

However, Kurtz does note that Kennedy gets more negative coverage here at home.

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18 years ago

I hear that Dave Rogers is SERIOUSLY considering another run.

Bob Washburn
Bob Washburn
18 years ago

Patrick Kennedy does get plenty of negative coverage…in the Boston Herald and the New York Post……but NOT in the ProJo. Sunday’s article was buried on the back pages, and you could not tell from the headline who the story was about.
Bob Washburn

18 years ago

Howie must not watch cable news. There seemed to be far more coverage of Kennedy late last week than of say, some of the reasons behind the resignation of Porter Goss.

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