By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Accurate, but almost certainly not true

If the New York Times doesn’t want to run with something it can’t confirm, I’ve got no problem with that. Still, it’s a little unsettling to see the paper go with the patently ludicrous explanation from “a person told of her decision” that Caroline Kennedy is dropping out of the running for the U.S. Senate because of Ted Kennedy’s illness.

The New York Post, citing anonymous sources, reports that Kennedy withdrew after she learned that New York Gov. David Paterson wasn’t going to pick her.

Ted Kennedy has been fighting terminal brain cancer for months. His seizure yesterday, while scary, changes nothing.

It’s been obvious for some time now that Caroline Kennedy wasn’t going to the Senate. I guess her uncle’s health problems gave her a graceful exit. But that doesn’t mean the Times has to play along.

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  1. Nial Liszt

    I understand that the night manager opening at Pizzeria “You-know” is hers for the asking.

  2. io saturnalia!

    Whoops … from the APURGENTSource tells AP: Kennedy still wants Senate seatBy MICHAEL GORMLEYAssociated Press WriterALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A person familiar with Caroline Kennedy’s decision says she has renewed her determination to win appointment to the U.S. Senate seat once held by her slain uncle, Sen. Bobby Kennedy.

  3. O-FISH-L

    The only three way tie or “triple dead heat” in handicap horse racing occurred on June 10, 1944. Three horses, Brownie, Bossuet and Wait A Bit, dead-heated for first in the Carter Handicap, run appropriately at Aqueduct, NY. Legendary Boston publican Paddy Grace hung the photo finish print in his Littlest Bar on Province Street until the place was closed “by progress” in recent years.Tonight there is a triple dead heat in phoniness. (1)Caroline Kennedy claiming she dropped out due to Teddy’s health, (2)Caroline Kennedy claiming that Patterson told her the Senate seat was hers for the taking but she still declined and of course (3)Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg dropping the name Schlossberg, which she allowed to be used for 23+ years and as recently as the DNC in August, but now says she never “legally” took.You really can’t make this stuff up.

  4. O'Reilly

    “You really can’t make this stuff up.”No? You do; repeatedly in the comment section of Media Nation to political figures you disfavor. (IE Carolyn Kennedy anti-semite.) You seem to think every story, no matter how its written, is a opportunity for you to share your rancid opinion about some democratic politician you don’t like.The thrust of Dan’s post is journalistic; who has the story right, and how does their reporting line up with journalistic principles. (Oh, you missed that.)You have nothing to say on topic, so it’s another “OFISHL takes a dump on Carolyn Kennedy” comment. Well done. You’re a big boy now. Don’t forget to wipe your bum.

  5. O-FISH-L

    O’Reilly, Sigmund Freud claimed that at 18 months, around the time of potty training, children became fascinated with the anal area of the body. Your crude comments here on separate occasions referencing farting, dumping and bum wiping, lead me to believe that Freud had your mental age pegged right, if not your chronological age. Grow up, sir.Again you take it upon yourself to explain what Dan “meant” in his post. Dan’s a big boy, I don’t think he needs your help. What I take from Dan’s entry is that it’s unbelievable that Caroline is dropping out because of Ted’s illness, and the Times is wrong to play along with her scam. If I interpreted Dan incorrectly and he feels the need to correct me, I’m sure he will do so. I don’t think he needs a Charlie McCarthy, er, O’Reilly to speak for him.

  6. Neil

    The article doesn’t claim that Kennedy is dropping out because of uncle Ted’s illness. It only says that her concerns about his health “contributed” to the decision.Big deal. That’s not a “patently ludicrous explanation”–it’s not an explanation at all.The only explanation Kennedy has actually given thus far, and which the article reports, is that she is withdrawing her name for personal reasons.

  7. Boston Venerable Bede

    Well…this is a surprise for me. I thought that Ms. Schlossberg was a shoe-in for the position. I believe there is truth that it is better to bow out than to loose.A question I wondered is why didn’t the New York media use Ms. Schlossberg name rather than Ms. Kennedy. Can someone change their name randomly and have it publicly used? I have not heard about the “other candidates” equally. Why? Is there balanced reporting?

  8. Mark

    I’m a little uneasy with the idea that the press should be going around determining what they believe to be “patently ludicrous”. It’s a slippery slope. The biggest problem with political journalism these days is that straight news reporters are more interested in demonstrating their political acumen than in actually reporting the news. “The Press Effect” by Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Paul Waldman does a tremendous job of showing that the media have fallen down on the job largely because they act as strategists too often. Straight news reporters should leave it up to an intelligent reader to sort out the truth from the political spin.

  9. Ani

    The part of the reporting in today’s paper edition of the Times that caught my attention is the claim that Kennedy’s activity last night regarding the senate seat seemed to throw Paterson and his office off stride. That certainly implies that Kennedy was the pick. If she actually wasn’t, then that kind of insinuation, or whatever you want to call it, would bother me.

  10. Mark

    George Stephanopoulos reports on his blog that Kennedy’s wavering last night was a result of Paterson aides trying to convince her not to withdraw her name.So maybe the idea that Kennedy was withdrawing her name for personal reasons wasn’t that far off.Any straight news reporter that thought it was “obvious” that she wasn’t going to appointed would have been wrong. Yet another reason that model of the press as pundit is extremely flawed.

  11. NewsHound

    This is turning into a circus. But it is interesting to read between the lines and challenge ourselves with the various possibilities and what is being done and what should be done, both by the politicians and media. This is turning into a side show which so often happens.I think Caroline wanted to live somewhat out of the limelight and as such welcomed using her married, even if not legally adopted, name. I think she was leaving politics for her brother’s future ambitions. Time and events have changed and now she is coming out using her family’s brand name. Since she has never run for public office there is merit in the governor appointing someone else leaving her the opportunity to become a senator with her brand name in a future election.As we know, her Uncle Ted could not be appointed in Massachusetts so a trusted family friend was appointed to fill the vacancy until Ted was age qualified to run himself.

  12. mike_b1

    I, for one, find hilarious the idea that Kennedy could be anti-Semetic. Imagine that pillow talk!Fish, it’s called “projection.” If you hate Jews, just say it. But there’s no point trying to pin such accusations on a woman who, from all I can gather, doesn’t read this blog.

  13. Dan Kennedy

    Let me clarify. A reporter being told that Caroline Kennedy was pulling out because of Ted’s illness should have said, “If you want me to write horseshit like that, you’re going to have to go on the record.”I have no problem with using it. I do have a problem with using something that is obviously not true and attributing it to an anonymous source.

  14. O-FISH-L

    Does anyone have copies of Caroline’s and Deval Patrick’s schedules from the inaugural weekend? Did they meet there? Was Rahm Emanuel around? The timing of this dog and pony show has me wondering if there is a move afoot to change the Mass. law for filling a US Senate vacancy back to what it was before the legislature panicked at the possibility that the GOP might fill Kerry’s slot.I’m thinking that with her children now grown, Caroline swoops into Hyannisport long enough to establish residency, polish her speaking skills and play the role of Clara Barton for a while and presto, she gets Uncle Teddy’s seat. We’ve heard that she polled terribly in NY, but nobody mentioned how she polled in Mass. or how she would poll if “Teddy wanted it this way.”

  15. Aaron Read

    Has it really been “obvious” that Caroline wasn’t going to get the pick, Dan?Here in western NY, the mood has mostly been that Caroline was going to be the default choice for Patterson…but most folks thought it would be a huge letdown from Hillary. Y’know? 🙂

  16. O-FISH-L

    Mike_b1, actually you’re right, the pillow talk when Caroline told Ed that she needed to stop using Schlossberg must have been rather interesting, although given his station in life, I’m not sure he’s in any position to object.Again Mike, no hatred of Jews here, just a dislike of phonies of all stripes.

  17. Dan Kennedy

    Aaron: Two weeks ago on “Beat the Press,” Joe Sciacca said it was obvious that Caroline would be the pick. I retorted that it was obvious she wouldn’t be — that Paterson had been looking for a reason not to pick her, and that her inarticulate performance in limited media appearances had given him the excuse that he needed.There were also some NYT reports that Paterson was furious at the amount of pressure being brought to bear on him from Caroline’s supporters.I put two and two together, that’s all.

  18. Mark

    Thanks for the clarification Dan. I agree with you on that point. A good reporter should not allow someone to say something like that anonymously. I just don’t think a reporter should infuse their own strategic assessment into their news piece, which I feel is too often the case.

  19. NewsHound

    Trying to read the secret inside of politics is more important and more fun than what is always presented as fact. Dan’s point about the Times is interesting. I wonder if the Times is attempting to become more like Vanity Fair.I think O-FISH-L’s guess is as good as any we’ve seen. But, I don’t think it will be Hyannisport. I think it will be Red Gate Farm. Set on 366 acres and worth about $50 million, it can qualify as satisfactory housing for a Senatorial candidate whose last name is Kennedy. (Sorry, not you Dan but you’d have my vote).

  20. Rick in Duxbury

    So that rumor about her and Pinch Sulzberger has been debunked?

  21. Nial Liszt

    **So that rumor about her and Pinch Sulzberger has been debunked?**Oh, that Old Gray Lady!

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