Kennedy/Nixon/Obama/Clinton

"The past is prologue.” Right? We are supposed to learn from history, aren't we? But all too often we do not.


Let's remember John F. Kennedy and the press. The coverage was a love-fest. Reporters were smitten with the hip elegance of the Kennedys and gave them a starry-eyed pass, ignoring or giving short shrift to criticisms that we now know should have gotten much more critical attention.


It has become a journalistic article of faith that we learned our lesson and that public figures should always be closely scrutinized with constant skepticism. That's our job.

Sad to say, it looks like too many of us, less than 50 years later, are being seduced in the same way by the new "New,” Barack Obama. The sad truth is that he and his campaign have not suffered the same kind of forceful coverage that rival Hillary Clinton has. In terms of media fairness, if he's JFK, she is Richard Nixon.


It's not right. But it is easy to understand. Because quite frankly, she and those behind the bunkers in HillaryLand make no secret of their contempt for reporters. Like Nixon, they try and intimidate the ones who cover them and hold them up for public scorn. That's just what Nixon did.

He had good reason, and so does she. Besides that, given the low regard just about everyone holds for riff-raff reporters, it's a good way to practice martyrdom politics.


Ultimately, though, the bullying doesn't work. It ends up looking like sour grapes. Still, we in media need to do our job and apply the same standards to each candidate. At the same time, the Clinton people need to realize that they've done a really terrible job of press relations. It shouldn't matter but it does. For proof, look no further back than Kennedy and Nixon.


It would be sad if Hillary Clinton decided to hold one last news conference to tell reporters, "You won't have me to kick around anymore.”

She and those in her organization who are almost distraught about the coverage must understand that it is not the job of journalists to parrot the "Message of the Day.” And those who are following Barack Obama should remember the same thing, no matter how much he sets their hearts aflutter.

We should be everyone's adversaries, not sycophants, and those we badger should respect us for it. That's what history should have taught us. Obviously it has not.