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Journalism and Power, Plus Ted Kennedy is a Drunk


Over on Andrew Sullivan’s blog, guest-blogger Walter Kirn has a great post about the relationship between journalists and the powerful officials they cover (and sometimes cover for). The post also includes this great anecdote about the senior senator from Massachusetts:

Quick story. In the mid 1980s I went to a fancy Fifth Av. party for Senator Ted Kennedy. There were journalists there and lots of other bigwigs. The only time I’d seen Kennedy before was at a campaign stop in 1979 when he’d been seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He might have won, but I realized at the party that it would have been a terrible thing because he was the drunkest human being I had ever encountered in my life, and chances were that it hadn’t just started that night. Sure, he already had this reputation, but it was a vague reputation, all myth and gossip, while the intoxicated wreck in front of me was as vivid and specific as a car wreck. How many thousands of times, I wondered, had such behavior as I was witnessing been quietly countenanced by journalists, and how much other wild, scary stuff pertaining to other movers and shakers who had a shot at ruling the free world, say, had they deftly slipped into their back pockets in return for the right to attend such parties as this one?
I think John Roberts can still get Kennedy’s vote, so long as he promises not to overturn Kennedy’s pitcher of margaritas.


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