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Danny Groner

Danny Groner

Posted: August 26, 2009 02:49 AM

What Is Ted Kennedy Remembered For? A Look at the Initial News Reports

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News broke early on Wednesday that Senator Ted Kennedy had died from a brain tumor. He was 77.

Since news organizations tend to be short-staffed overnight, it is particularly interesting to compare the prominent points that different sites highlighted in their initial depictions of Sen. Kennedy's life and career. Regardless of when Sen. Kennedy's death was publicized, his career begs questions that every reporter covering him must have considered.

Because the announcement came in the wee hours of the night, it's obvious that these editorial decisions were made well in advance. It was no secret that Sen. Kennedy's health was worsening, as he recently requested the appointment of an interim replacement to take over his seat in the Senate. Newspapers, blogs and news networks had fair warning and plenty of time to debate what the senator should be best remembered for. I have organized the sites into categories to show what the sources emphasized in their reports.

First and Foremost, He Was a Kennedy:

CNN: "Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, the patriarch of the first family of Democratic politics, died Wednesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. He was 77."

Fox News
: "Sen. Edward Kennedy, the longtime, beloved lawmaker whose personal tragedies along with his professional triumphs and losses unfolded in the public eye, has died of brain cancer. He was 77."

Reuters: "Senator Edward Kennedy's death marks the twilight of one of America's most fabled political families, with no heirs to the Kennedy name poised to emerge with the same mix of gravitas, ambition and celebrity."

McClatchy: "U.S. Sen. Edward Moore Kennedy, the last of the Kennedy brothers who profoundly reshaped American politics over the past half-century, died shortly before midnight Tuesday at his home in Hyannisport, Mass."

He Grew Out of the Kennedy Shell:

Politico: "Edward Moore Kennedy, Camelot's youngest brother who never reached the White House but grew into the most accomplished legislator of his generation in the Senate, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer."

New York Times: "Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a son of one of the most storied families in American politics, a man who knew triumph and tragedy in near-equal measure and who will be remembered as one of the most effective lawmakers in the history of the Senate, died Tuesday night. He was 77 ."

USA Today: "Sen. Edward Kennedy, who began his public life as the prodigal son of a political dynasty and ended as its respected patriarch, died late Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass. He was 77 and had been battling brain cancer."

Boston Globe
: "Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who carried aloft the torch of a Massachusetts dynasty and championed a liberal ideology during almost a half century in the Senate, but whose personal and political failings may have prevented him from realizing the ultimate prize of the presidency, died Tuesday night at his home in Hyannis Port. He was 77 and had been battling brain cancer."

Los Angeles Times: "Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat and icon of American liberal politics who was the last surviving brother of a legendary political family, died Tuesday. He was 77."

CBS News (via AP): "Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate and haunted bearer of the Camelot torch after two of his brothers fell to assassins' bullets, died late Tuesday after battling a brain tumor. He was 77."

Washington Post: "Edward M. Kennedy, one of the most powerful and influential senators in American history and one of three brothers whose political triumphs and personal tragedies captivated the nation for decades, died at 77."

He Was a Noteworthy Senator in His Own Right:

Wall Street Journal: "Sen. Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy, a liberal icon and frequent Republican target who was one of the longest-serving and most accomplished lawmakers of the modern era, has died at age 77."

MSNBC: "Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate, has died after battling a brain tumor. He was 77. "

Huffington Post: "Legendary Senator Ted Kennedy has died at age 77, losing his battle to brain cancer. In May 2008 doctors diagnosed Kennedy, one of the most influential and longest-serving senators in U.S. history, with a malignant brain tumor."

ABC News: "Sen. Ted Kennedy died shortly before midnight Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass., at age 77. The man known as the "liberal lion of the Senate" had fought a more than year-long battle with brain cancer, and according to his son had lived longer with the disease than his doctors expected him to."

NPR: "Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts -- the scion of an American political dynasty who became an iconic liberal legislator -- died Tuesday night of complications related to a cancerous brain tumor."

Bloomberg: "Senator Edward Kennedy, whose life was marked by triumph and tragedy as he evolved from a dubious choice for high office into one of the most influential senators in U.S. history, has died. He was 77."

Time Magazine: "Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate, has died after battling a brain tumor. He was 77. "

What part of Senator Ted Kennedy's life will you remember?