Time really does heal all wounds. Twenty years ago, after Ted Kennedy helped pass legislation that forced Rupert Murdoch to sell the Boston Herald, the paper smacked the senator in a front-page editorial that read, in part: "Kennedy's attitude seems to be: 'To hell with the political process, to
hell with the First Amendment, to hell with my integrity, and to hell
with The Herald and its readers.'"
Ouch! But today, following up on Kennedy's dramatic DNC speech last night, the Herald gives us this:
The subhed, in case you can't read it: "AILING TED K RISES TO OCCASION, GIVES ROUSING SPEECH IN DENVER."
So: what gives, Kevin Convey? Have you and the rest of the Herald brass made a formal decision to lavish favorable coverage on Kennedy in the wake of his grim brain-cancer diagnosis?
Not so, says the Herald's editor. "We haven't sat down and said, Now that the guy is hurting, let's covering him in a different way," Convey tells DQM. "I think our natural inclination, as a tabloid, is to pull for the underdog--and certainly in his fight with cancer, the senator is that.
"I think there were some very hard feelings between the senator and the paper when he forced Murdoch to divest himself of us. And I'm sure there have been hard feelings on the senator's part about some of the positions we've taken and the way we've played things. But you know, in the end, it's the opposite of Irish Alzheimer's, where only the grudges remain. In the end, you just sort of let that stuff go and follow the story wherever it takes you.... My sense is that if you went back over our Kennedy coverage over the last 10 years, you'd see that within the last 4 or 5 years, there's been a general warming toward Kennedy as old grudges were basically forgotten."
"Our idea with today's coverage was that Kennedy's speech was by far the most dramatic thing that happened yesterday," Convey adds. "And it was magnificent--particularly considering what we're not hearing about what he had to go through to deliver the speech. We go where the drama goes."
UPDATE: It's worth noting that in 2006, before Convey replaced Ken Chandler as editor, said drama involved a National Enquirer story on an alleged Kennedy love child that was apparently fed early to the Herald--and subsequently attracted plenty of readers. Unfortunately, that story was wrong. So whether Kennedy is experiencing Reverse Irish Alzheimer's is very much an open question.