The Kennedy Has No Clothes
Valentine’s Day is probably not the day most people would pick to remember the marriage of John and Jacqueline Kennedy. But on Feb. 14, CBS spent more than eight minutes recalling how it was the 50th anniversary of CBSs “historic” TV tour of the White House with Jackie. They brought on liberal historian Doug Brinkley to proclaim “50 years ago on Valentine’s Day, she became America’s sweetheart, and 50 years later, she still is.”
The problem is that any honest historian couldn’t claim that Jackie was JFKs sweetheart. He had lots of ‘em. And now CBS has utterly ignored what NBC just exploited — er, reported — in prime time: Former White House intern Mimi Alford has written a memoir revealing how President Kennedy pressured her into Jackie’s bed in 1962 to take her virginity. This affair began when she was 19 and four days into her internship. It would last until the eve of Kennedy’s assassination.
It’s shocking enough to read about Kennedy cornering this young girl, plying her with daiquiris and bedding her. But there’s more: Alford says that the president told her to perform oral sex on his aide Dave Powers by the swimming pool, and she complied. It’s perhaps most shocking that NBCs “Rock Center” put this woman on the air in prime time.
This is a tawdry interruption. The narrative must continue. At all costs, the Camelot mythology must stay alive.
Just last year, the History Channel (owned by Disney and NBC Universal) announced it was scrapping its $30 million, eight-hour miniseries “The Kennedys” after longtime NBC News employee Maria Shriver pressured NBC and Caroline Kennedy pressured Disney. They succeeded. The miniseries was punted off to the obscure Reelz cable channel.
But this year, NBC broke from the pack. So then what happened? CBS refused to notice, and there was nothing on the taxpayer-funded Democrat networks PBS and NPR. There was no Piers Morgan interview on CNN. Alford wasn’t mentioned anywhere by ABC News, either. On Feb. 10 she was interviewed on ABCs “The View” by Barbara Walters — only to be mocked four times with “She’ll make a lot of money!” Walters asked Alford why she would hurt Caroline Kennedy and her family, as if a) her father had no responsibility not to hurt her with this behavior and b) Caroline, at 54, had never heard any of this before.
Walters then assaulted her with the reverse idea, that she could have “saved” Monica Lewinsky from ridicule if she’d talked about it in the 1990s. But mostly, Walters insisted the book “did not have to be written” and “You could have let it go!” This was breathtakingly hypocritical for Walters, who in her own 2008 memoir, “Audition,” joyfully wrote endless details about her sleazy affairs with several (married) men and made endless buckets of money, too.
Walters wasn’t the only woman to trash Alford for daring to speak up and ruin the pretty Jack and Jackie pictures, which everyone knows are phony. Janet Maslin, book reviewer of The New York Times, clearly thought this book should have been aborted. “There is much to tsk-tsk about Ms. Alford’s account of her wide-eyed innocence and the president’s particular brand of cruelty toward her. But there’s not a lot of news, so the fuss should soon die down.” When it does, Maslin insisted, it would show “Ms. Alford seems to have little idea how badly her stories reflect on herself.” As we know from our liberal media, sleazy White House affairs with interns are never meant to make the president: look sleazy. These rotten-to-the-core husbands are lauded for their heroism and their “magnetism” and “electricity” for all posterity. Instead, we demean their coquettish “conquests” for daring to write about it from their viewpoint.
On “The Chris Matthews Show,” the entire panel of journalists dismissed Alford’s memoir as having zero impact on Kennedy’s image in the history books. CNNs Gloria Borger attempted to find some of the Alford stories “despicable” and “disgusting,” but Kathleen Parker, television’s favorite faux-family-values-conservative added, “And delicious.” When Matthews asked her viewpoint as a woman, she theatrically yawned. Would she react that way if the husband in question were her own?
Chris Matthews was delighted at the unanimous verdict against Alford. “I wrote a much more comprehensive book about Jack Kennedy. I got to tell you, it’s all a part of the picture. You can’t defend it. He’s still a hero.”
Matthews titled his rehash of a book “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.” That’s the problem. There is nothing constructive or appealing about the promotion of Alford’s ugly story. I’m happy everyone wants it ignored. On the other hand, it’s time to stop this dishonest rewrite about the Kennedy White House. It wasn’t Camelot. It was a sewer. It’s time for them to stop ignoring that.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center.
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