Caroline Kennedy is seeking a senate seat with few qualifications. She's also close (maybe very close!) friends with the publisher of the Times. So we're keeping an eye on the paper's coverage.
We'll be monitoring the Times' Caroline Kennedy coverage on a near-daily basis, always with a logo, probably a tweaked version of the one above. We don't envy the Times writers who have to cover the boss' good friend. It must be tricky. Or at least feel tricky, particularly since the paper is discouraging talk of the relationship.
But Sulzberger's relationship with Kennedy is an important media story. At the very least, it's going to put the paper in the sights of media critics on the prowl for the slightest sign of bias, not to mention political foes of Kennedy looking for evidence of yet another unfair advantage for the politician.
To start things off, we've taken a (hopefully comprehensive look) at the TImes' Caroline Kennedy coverage, Saturday through Monday, and broken it down by category:
- Caroline Kennedy's ascent isn't nepotism, it's evolution in action! "The case of Ms. Kennedy is not really one of nepotism, Dr. Sulloway says, but of its evolutionary cousin, reciprocal altruism - good will without kinship. Altruism toward non-kin occurs in evolution because there's a net benefit to all." Week In Review? Please. More like Week In Revision.
- Can you believe she's a Kennedy? A real, actual Kennedy? "Ms. Kennedy... is in many ways embarking on a test of the enduring power of her politically royal name... the Kennedy mystique." Closing "man on the street" quote: "She'll be good. It's in her blood."
- You heard she's sleeping with who now? Because I heard no one cares about her private life. Or our publisher's. "Caroline Kennedy is under tabloid attack, but the charge is presumption: even on TV, commentators openly scoff at her brief, somewhat stilted tour of upstate New York and complain that she is seeking appointment to public office with a queenly sense of entitlement."
- Caroline Kennedy took actual positions on actual issues, sort of. Let's feature her staff's boring politician-speak on the front page.
- Uncle Edward can't call labor leaders to make them fall in line behind his niece, or to raise questions about this one union leader who said Caroline Kennedy might not be qualified. But his longtime aide can!
- People often follow family members into politics, because they get free name recognition, they are not intimidated by the political process, and they are bred to seek power, constantly.
- Sad Andrew Cuomo, who has actually qualifications for the job of senator, is dying to campaign for it, but can't, and the coverage of Kennedy is burning him up inside.
- A letter from the mayor of Paris: "With all the respect and admiration I have for Ms. Kennedy's late father, I find her bid in very poor taste... in my opinion she has no qualification whatsoever to bid for Senator Clinton's seat... It is both surprising and appalling."
- A joke, but it's on the Laugh Lines blog. Does anyone read Laugh Lines? "Caroline Kennedy would like to be considered Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2009 and has let the magazine's editor know of her interest in the honor, aides to Ms. Kennedy confirmed today."
- Kennedy didn't vote in the last four New York mayoral primaries! Slacker. But the tabloids had the story first, and the Times ran it on A25.
Aww aren't they sweet? Implied message: If Paterson doesn't appoint her, we, the Times, will shoot this legacy. (Story)
"Some younger voters know little about the woman aspiring to a senate seat." For example, they don't even know she's a Kennedy! A regal Kennedy, with mystique! (Story)
Caroline Kennedy "has been largely silent about details of her political views until Saturday." But she's in Harlem! Smiling! That counts for something, right?