The same networks that have been minimizing and ignoring the growing scandal at the Internal Revenue Service all found time to fawn over 50-year-old footage of President Kennedy vacationing with family. A World News graphic on Sunday night thrilled, "Return to Camelot."
Anchor David Muir breathlessly narrated the video to cloying, emotional music provided by ABC: "President Kennedy teeing off. The 46-year-old President putting and, well, missing the shot. The camera trained on him though for the entire round of golf and with the next putt there is more success." Muir gushed over footage of a young Caroline Kennedy on "the lap of her father as they finished their sun-splashed weekend fifty years ago tonight." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose hyped the footage as proof that Kennedy was "probably the best presidential golfer."Reporter Chip Reid featured historian Robert Dallek to declare of the film: "The sense you get is of people frolicking."
Monday's Today show deemed the newly released images "priceless video." Natalie Morales hyped the "tender family moments." Al Roker marveled, "So poignant."
Although CBS briefly covered the IRS story on July 24, for the first time in a month, the network then went back to ignoring scandal. Over three days last week, network morning coverage of the newly born royal baby far outpaced reporting on the entirety of the IRS scandal.
Clearly, the networks can find time for the subjects that interest them. ABC has repeatedly hyped the Kennedy clan. On February 15, 2010, Good Morning America celebrated one of JFK's many adulterous affairs as a "torrid" "love story" involving "American royalty."
On July 16, 2009, the same program mourned the loss of JFK Jr. as the "critical link to our fairy tale past."
Unsurprisingly, the same program skipped the revelation that JFK pressured a college intern to perform oral sex on an aide. (For more on ABC Kennedy fawning, go here.)
In fact, ABC News's Barbara Walters mocked that former intern, now 70, as greedy for writing a book on the subject.
A transcript of the July 28 World News segment is below:
DAVID MUIR: Finally, tonight, rare images surfacing of President Kennedy and his children surfacing from 50 years ago tonight. The Kennedy Library with a summer album, taking America back.
ABC GRAPHIC: Return to Camelot
NARRATOR: Arriving at Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts, President Kennedy forsaking the cares of state for a relaxing weekend on Cape Cod is rushed by a toddler.
MUIR: America knew that toddler well, John-John, as he was affectionately called, just two years old at the time.
NARRATOR: Junior knows the ropes and is the first aboard the copter that is to hop the presidential party to Hyannis.
MUIR: Hyannis, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. And tonight, rare footage of a summer weekend fifty years ago this weekend. A 15 minute film posted by the Kennedy presidential library. President Kennedy teeing off. The 46-year-old President putting and, well, missing the shot. The camera trained on him though for the entire round of golf and with the next putt there is more success. Later, dignitaries arrive by helicopter. And as was so often the case, neighbors gathering there in Hyannis Port to see who it was paying a visit. Taking that familiar golf club down to the dock where they would board the presidential yacht, Honey Fitz. Little Caroline on his lap and then down the stairs to share a swim with her dad, four months before she would lose him. A back stroke before getting back on board where she would find her mother and, again, the lap of her father as they finished their sun-splashed weekend fifty years ago tonight. A home movie preserved.