by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
The Kennedys, our ex-imperial dynasty, are going through a bad patch. First, the commencement of the new 112th Congress took place in January, 2011 without a Kennedy amongst its members House or Senate, to lend credibility to the national circus. Such a lapse had not occurred since 1947… and the Kennedys didn’t like this one little bit.
Then Victoria Reggie Kennedy uttered her umpteenth pronouncement on whether she would seek her deceased husband Ted’s Senate seat in 2112. This time she really meant it (so she said) . She wouldn’t be challenging naked pin up boy Senator Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts). Too bad. That would have been a gourmet food fight.
Next, Sargent Shriver, one of the royal brothers-in-law, checked out at 95 on January 18, 2011. He had always been a fringe character; nice, but a light weight. Still, every Court needs affable second-raters, and Sarge filled that bill all right. This was a loss, to be sure, but not much.
Meanwhile down the road a piece in Dorchester, Massachusetts at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library a much more important battle was taking place; this time it was Sister Ethel (Bobby Kennedy’s tough-as- nails widow) who was pulling the wires from backstage. She picked her last (9th) child Max, a trained lawyer, to play Cerberus and bite on cue every time anyone wanted to see a ton of never-before-seen documents, a true treasure trove — with its own curse.
These dealt with such subjects as…. how the Jack and Bobby White House planned to snuff Cuba’s Fidel Castro in Operation Mongoose… how to plan a Cuban invasion without getting caught… what really happened at the bumbling, bloody Bay of Pigs, and the “next one who blinks gets a holocaust” confrontation with Russia’s bear-hugging head of state, Nikita Khrushchev, known as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1961.
These papers, it was widely predicted by historians and other reputable sources, held one smoking gun after another. The dynasts made it clear, very, very clear , these embarrassing documents (the private property of the Kennedy family) would see the light of day when hell freezes over, or some such long-delayed, Kennedy- controlled moment in time.
Add to this the caught-with-their-pants-down story of the Kennedys ham fisted efforts to control content about them on the History Channel, and you have One Big Headache, irritating lese majeste.
This article is about the last of these matters, a set of inconvenient facts which make it clear the Kennedys are different from you and me. Not only are they the stuff of legend and questions on “Jeopardy”; they get to have tantrums that work when something, anything doesn’t go their way. Kool. Let’s see how they do it.
“The Kennedys” mini-series was supposed to showcase great content… thereby raising the visibility and status of the History Channel.
At the History Channel things were not all well. Widely derided as the “World War II Channel” because every other program showed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s famous “V” for victory finger movements… and, of course, a million interminable hours about Field Marshal Rommel, the masterful organizer of the North Africa campaign. It was limited, dull, often excruciating… in need of what the Kennedys have to burn: glamor. It seemed a match made in heaven. And the History Channel plunked down some serious coin (over 30 million bucks) to bring this story to you and me.
Unfortunately, right from the start there was a serious mismatch between what the History Channel wanted for its considerable stake and what the Kennedys, the object of our affection, would allow. The History Channel wanted the soap opera: great pots of money illegally made, sex, illicit sex, jaw-dropping sex, sex in odd places, even presidential sex with an always-available cutie while discussing How To Build a Better World with his (supposedly oblivious) Secretary of State. Neat. Oh, and don’t forget sex with Marilyn Monroe… with one brother, both brothers. Whatever… it would sell like hot cakes.
Then there were the Kennedys… determined to get what every defunct dynasty wants: controlled facts; white-washed facts; never the whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth facts. They wanted the laundry room version of the truth, sanitized, clean, not a speck of dirt. If it was dull, too bad. It needed to be majestic, larger-than-life, controlled.
As the project advanced and a release date was set for the 50th anniversary of JFK’s new presidency, January 20, 1961, members of the ex-dynasty got more and more nervous. Their ertwhile representative on the project, famed Kennedy speech writer and adviser Theodore Sorensen, made it clear just how lurid this series would be… and just how inimical to the family. Sorensen’s crisply stated opinion was taken very seriously by the Kennedys. They knew that Sorensen was the ultimate loyalist, a man who knew all and told nothing… and wouldn’t let anyone else tell much either, if he had anything to say about it.
Sorensen told about scripts he found flagrantly inaccurate. Hey, the History Channel knew with Voltaire that history was a pack of lies the living play on the dead. What facts matter… so long as the History Channel made money?
Then there were tales about the role of Kennedy-baiting, conservative Joel Surnow in the project. His media production qualities were impeccable (an Emmmy-award winnng creator and former executive producer of the Fox series “24″.) He didn’t much like the dynasty… and had no trouble saying so.
The dynasty should be worried, said Sorensen, and so did liberal Robert Greenwald, who slipped them all copies of the script… which well and truly set the cat amongst the pigeons. It wouldn’t do… it wouldn’t do at all.
And so the Kennnedys started to act… like Kennedys, summoning up their massive firepower to hugely alter or even kill the project. It was reported by the Boston Globe, the Kennedys’ hometown read, that Caroline Kennedy, Maria Shriver, and Eunice Kennedy Smith had all contacted network executives with their concerns. Meanwhile, Theodore Sorensen, who had so deprecated this project, labeling portions “vindictive” and “malicious” died in October, 2010, supremely loyal to the end.
The History Channel caved.
In response to this juggernaut, the History Channel pulled the 8-part mini series from the U.S. market, the only one the Kennedys cared about. It was finished… it was as lurid as desired by the network… it was exiled to Canada, which didn’t count.
At the last, even the Boston Globe, the newspaper of record for the Kennedys, couldn’t abide or approve what the dynasts did. In an editorial of January 17, 2011 it made clear its opposition to all the shenanigans, admonishing the Kennedys for going “too far”.
And what of the many Kennedy supporters worldwide? What did they do? What did they say?
The silence was awesome.
Lord Melbourne (1779-1848), Queen Victoria’s first prime minister knew why.
“That is no use at all,” he said of men who would support him when he was right.
” What I want is men who will support me when I am in the wrong.”
But no one, on these terms, stepped forward to aid and support the Kennedys in their determined, wrongful assault on free speech and their insistence on shaping and controlling the content and message. Their “friends” were nowhere to be found… and they are silent still.
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About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at worldprofit.com and JeffreyLantArticles.com
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