Skip to comments.The Camelot Cover-up Continues
Posted on 04/10/2011 9:28:58 AM PDT by Kaslin
Gene Healy, author of The Cult of the Presidency—America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power, suggests: “In an age when Americans periodically swoon for imperial presidents, a little sacred cow-tipping would be a public service.” The made-for-television mini-series, The Kennedys, recently airing on ReelzChannel is a case in point.
Unceremoniously cancelled earlier this year by The History Channel as not a good “fit” for “the History brand,” the project was controversial almost from its inception. This had to do completely with the hypersensitivity of a vast array of myth-guardians who stand perpetual watch over the Kennedy family, as well as the career and legacy of America’s 35th President. And these members of the Camelot cabal pretty much wrote the book on branding.
I have long been a student of the Kennedy era and I wrote a Master’s thesis on it many years ago while working on my political science degree. And frankly, I have yet to see a scenario or fact presented in the broadcast that has not appeared in the history available at any public library or bookstore. I find myself wondering why the fuss?
The John F. Kennedy portrayed in this new series is a real life character—warts and all. Greg Kinnear does an admirable job with the JFK persona, as does Katie Holmes with Jackie Kennedy. Is it all flattering? Certainly not. But JFK comes off as a much more sympathetic character in this current portrayal than might have been expected after hearing all the advance hype and horror. In fact, in my opinion the production spends a tortured amount of time showing him as a man much more “conflicted” about the flaws, now well known, than he really was.
I can’t for the life of me see why The History Channel blackballed the miniseries, when they regularly show things like Monster Quest, Swamp People, and Clash of the Cavemen. You know, real serious history stuff. Not to mention the fact, that the network regularly peddles speculative conspiracy theories, from novelist Brad Meltzer’s Decoded, to several programs dealing with various theories on—ironically—the Kennedy assassination.
Of course, there was a very real conspiracy behind The History Channel’s decision to dump the miniseries. It doesn’t take Glenn Beck’s blackboard to connect those dots. But after watching The Kennedys, I am completely at a loss to figure out why anyone seriously found the material objectionable. The broadcast broke no new ground.
Likely, the keepers of the fictional Camelot flame simply didn’t want another reminder of the vast disconnect between calculated and conjured myth in the wake of Mr. Kennedy’s tragic death and actual reality. Whether one reads a good book about the Kennedy years or watches The Kennedys on ReelzChannel, one thing is clear—there were potential ethical and moral time bombs threatening his presidency. And there is a credible case to be made that had Kennedy lived beyond that fateful fall day in 1963, and had he managed to be reelected in 1964 (not at all a sure thing), he may not have survived a second term, politically.
That’s right. As Hugh Sidey suggested before his death in 2005—the same Hugh Sidey, who as an editor at Time Magazine during the Kennedy years, was also a Camelot insider—JFK’s various and sundry moral, ethical, and judgmental, pecadillos might very well have led to his actual impeachment.
The Kennedy administration could very well have been on the road to its own kind of Watergate.
From the improper use of the FBI in surveillance and investigation in matters not at all related to national security, to misuse of the Secret Service, to his affair with a mistress of a major crime boss, with its obvious compromises, Mr. Kennedy played by his own rules against the backdrop of the last gasp of an age of media mercy. He lived on the edge, from his monumental sexual addiction, to his experimentation with illicit drugs, to his dependence on substances that, while not illegal, were questionable—John F. Kennedy’s time was running out. People were always covering for him and clearly many still are.
But was it only a matter of time before someone broke rank?
If Watergate taught us anything, it was that it is hard to keep a lid on a big story—even in the White House. Had John F. Kennedy lived and had his shortcomings been investigated and written with Woodward-Bernstein-like passion, it is not far-fetched that he may not have been reelected in 1964. And if he did manage to win that race, and investigators did their jobs, JFK might very well have been impeached or pressured to resign.
Then again, that may be fantasy, because it was unlikely that Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post in those days, and an inbred Kennedy crony, would have allowed any such story to go forward. At any rate, it all went away that sad November day and we are left with a legend that does history, not to mention the American people, a disservice.
And because what could have been a major broadcasting event has been dispatched to cable television’s backwater, it seems that the cover-up continues.
That “brief and shining moment” that never really was, lives on.
Attack Camelot and you’ll find out every who every RINO is and you’ll be overwhelmed in seconds. Camelot is the very essence of back seat limo Liberals. Hell, I remember when there was an Ethel Kennedy hair-do.
The media has done more to sell us incompetent politicians to the detriment of our country and culture than any external power ever could.
Nor do they have any shame in their never ending hypocrisies and the manner in which they go to any length to protect their own.
On the rare occasion the media finds itself criticizing a democrat for corruption it is always softened or excused by their mantra of “all parties do it.”
In an ironic kind of way, the media has no problem with neo-conservatives when a liberal leads us to war or with Reagan economics when a Clinton signs a law doing away with welfare.
Does the Kennedy series show when Black leaders sent pens to a reluctant Kennedy to sign fair housing laws? Kennedy was very reluctant to advance the civil rights movement.
JFK was the first presidential candidate I ever voted for. Suffice to say I had a nascent awareness of the political universe then, and the only legacy from that period is that I am still a registered democrat; that has allowed me endless amusement in the interim, but that's another story.
The overiding lesson from that young age is the sheer stupidity of supporting or encouraging political family dynasties. It boggles the mind that it took 50 years, until 2009 to rid the country of the last Kennedy snake.
For me it is a hard earned lesson. I have never since voted for members of the same family.
I did not watch the TV series, it was time not worth wasting, and as mentioned in this article, the facts are there for any youngster who wishes to learn. Most of us who lived through it don't need a refresher; there are more pressing issues to deal with. But the young (under 40) whose faith demands that history began when they became aware of the importance of history and politics this is a BFD.
I'll let them revel in that, and hope that eventually they grow up.
Media spelled backwards spells “Aid em”
My wife and I have watched the mini-series and have enjoyed it thoroughly. Looking forward to the conclusion tonight; we're itching to see how it ends. LOL!
Actually not so. the film ‘They Were Expendable’ was based on a book of the same name by journalist William White. The book was released in 1942, I think and deals with Buckley's PT Boat squadron in the Philippines after Dec 7. The film is remarkable for the sober and realistic way it treats the subject. Probably because it was released in 1945 when it was obvious the war was won. The men of the PT boats squadron are shown doing their best against a more numerous and better armed enemy. Their triumphs are few and realistically consist of attacking Japanese motor supply barges and troop carriers. In the end two officers are picked to be airlifted to Australia (They arrive just as the B-17 is running up its engines and bump an older LTC. He asks if they will mail his wife a letter if they get out. That is just one of the touches of understated but rather (For Hollywood) profound realism the film contains) At the end of the film as the credits run up the survivors of the unit are seen straggling down the beach on Luzon towards an unknown but probably not good fate. It is night the stars shine in the tropic sky and the survivors say nothing. The music of ‘The battle Hymn of the Republic” is played perhaps to offset the tale of defeat or more as a reminder of the cost of defending the Republic . The stoic heroism this film reflects really hit me when I first saw it on TV and several times after during the Viet Nam era. To me it was just one more chapter in the history of heroism and sacrifice by US armed forces in the distant pacific. Same as Korea, same as Bataan and now a gain in Viet Nam.
Kennedy didn’t listen to Homer Capehart’s clarion call.
Khruschev had Kennedy pegged - total lightweight -
same as the world regards Hussein.
Kennedy was no Farragut, but he was no Walter Mitty either. From reliable accounts of the overwhelming number of members of his crew and fellow commanders he as a competent and conscientious officer, who was attentive to his duty and the welfare of his crew.
The Camelot Cover-up Continues
Lies!, Lies, Lies! Camelot was real!!!!
I know, I had a Blue Striped Flying Unicorn and the Sun shined every day. It never snowed in winter - except right before Christmas, then melted after New Year's day.
Everybody loved each other, strangers hugging each other instead of fighting for parking spaces. There was no crime so the Police delivered Ice Cream. And in school everyone got A's, bullies disappeared, and every teacher looked like Jackie Kennedy!
Camelot was ... beautiful.
Richard Kimball said:
McHale’s Navy and the movie “They Were Expendable” were created because of the PT 109 experience of Kennedy.
Being a kid during the 1960s, I don’t remember ‘They Were Expendable’ being played any more often than other war films on local prime-time TV. Though with the passage of time, I’ve come to appreciate the film as an under rated gem.
Explain to me how a John Ford film from 1945 was ‘created’ to fit Kennedy’s PT 109 experience?
I may buy off Jimmy Dean’s song ‘PT 109’ while Kennedy was campaigning, but a comedic television series from 1964, whose express purpose was naval recruitment seems a bit of a stretch.
Also, would someone explain to me how a Lieutenant jg manages to put his boat bow athwart of a Japanese destroyer?
Just my two cents.
Iv'e read a lot on the PT 109 and like everything else about Kennedy, it's hard to tell truth from created myth by those both seeking to deify and destroy him.
Here http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq60-11.htm is the official naval record of the events. They were declassified in 1959.
McHale's Navy was first broadcast on October 11, 1962, and it was no secret that the impetus for the show was the interest in PT Boats because Kennedy was in the White House. The original pilot was much more of a drama, taking the tone of "Mr. Roberts." The producer, Edward J. Montagne, though, had been the producer of Sgt. Bilko, and decided to make the series Bilko in the navy.
Little historical note: The opening of "Gilligan's Island" was filmed the weekend Kennedy was assassinated. Supposedly, you can see the flag at half mast as they sail out of the harbor, although I've never been able to see it.
On the movie, I was thinking about PT 109, with Cliff Robertson playing Kennedy. Stupid goof on my part.
The most damning argument I've heard about the circumstances was that the PT Boats had finicky engines. This was a known issue, and there was a specific action that had to be taken prior to gunning them. I forget what the actual action was, but speculation is that the engines died because they attempted to gun the engines improperly, causing them to flood and die. This is hardly a dereliction of duty, but an error made under extreme circumstances, IF this is indeed what happened.
I have heard speculation that the 109 crew had hidden and were asleep. It is true that attempts by command to reach them by radio were unsuccessful for a period of time, but no one with any knowledge of the events has substantiated the claim that they were asleep. This appears to be mostly speculation based on the facts that it was around 0230 and that they were unavailable by radio.