Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ted Kennedy Coverage: Will It Introduce a New Era in Washington?

My initial thought on the seemingly endless coverage of Senator Kennedy's farewell is that it's been overkill.

Unfortunately, all of us have seen the footage and heard the commentary before, especially those of us who have been around since the 60's.  Ted Kennedy is absolutely deserving of network/cable coverage, but 24/7 for almost an entire week is a lot.

From bad, however, good may evolve.  The fact that the focus has largely been on Kennedy's bi-partisanship and countless friendships with political opponents is enlightening.

Is it possible that those in Washington will heed his example and return to mutual respect and compromise?  Can they abandon the childish behavior of the recent past?

I am an avid viewer of cable news, but I'm also most likely to view programs where the accent is on the middle.  Morning Joe is a perfect example.  Its hosts are Republican and Democrat, and guests are from both sides of the aisle.  The discussion is always frank, but rarely is it not collegial.  The same is true for Anderson Cooper and Chris Matthews, for the most part.

Not so much with most of the others.  While you get what you expect from Fox, Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC cannot keep their disdain for the other side in check.

O'Reilly, who says he's centrist and "fair," is the worst because of his obvious hypocrisy.  His claims are insutling to those who actually read newspapers and know the truth.

As is often the case, a return to mutual respect may be short-lived, but one can hope.  At a time when so many major issues are ready for reform, a meeting in the middle could be Ted Kennedy's "dream that will never die."

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