Kennedy's death: Fox plays it straight

Just watched the start of Fox News's 9 AM newscast, which was (as you'd expect) devoted to Ted Kennedy's death--and I was pleasantly surprised at how ideologically neutral Fox's handling of this story was.

The top-of-the-hour coverage lasted 13 minutes, and Chappaquiddick--which, as the Globe notes today, is a key point in the arc of Kennedy's life and career--didn't come up until minute 9. Somewhere around the 5-minute mark, meanwhile, Fox's Megyn Kelly pointedly noted how many pieces of legislation carry Kennedy's imprint (likely unbeknownst to Fox viewers, she suggested*) citing the Family and Medical Leave Act as an example. Kennedy's commitment to civil rights was prominently noted, too, as was the massive psychological burden created by the deaths of his three older brothers.

Kennedy's record as a bipartisan deal maker was given a contemporary political twist: someone (I can't remember if it was Kelly, Major Garrett, or Bill Hemmer) suggested that Barack Obama might want to take a more bipartisan tack on healthcare reform. But given Fox's strong conservative leanings, that's pretty mild stuff--and with that exception, the tone really wasn't any different than today's Globe treatment.

It's also worth noting that is currently featuring a heartfelt tribute from conservative commentator Cal Thomas.

Of course, there's no telling what Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly will say later today...

*NOTE: I've slightly edited this sentence to note that the implication of ignorance was Kelly's, not mine.

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