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This year marks the 20th anniversary of John F. Kennedy Jr.’s fatal flight. Three days in and already the hagiographic retellings have begun.
“The Last Days of JFK Jr.,” a two-hour special promising new details and new interviews under the ABC News banner, aired Thursday night. Not only did the program soft-pedal Kennedy’s complete and utter fault for the crash but it got crucial details wrong — claiming that the FAA said flying conditions that night were “excellent” (according to the National Transportation Safety Board review of the crash, they were extremely poor, and JFK Jr. would have known it), and that his flight instructor was unavailable that night to fly with him. In fact, the NTSB report said one of Kennedy’s instructors did offer to fly with him, but Kennedy said no, that “he wanted to do it alone.”
Problem - Idolatry - Things - Kennedy - Media
Philosophically, though, there’s a much more malignant problem here: the continued idolatry of all things Kennedy, the media’s reluctance or outright refusal to acknowledge the clan’s dark and sometimes criminal side, and — when she’s not been villainized as the cause of all John’s woes, if not the fatal accident — the perfunctory treatment of Carolyn in this narrative.
JFK Jr. was 38 when he died, Carolyn only 33. Her sister Lauren, 34 and an extremely accomplished Morgan Stanley investment banker, has been relegated to a mere footnote. After all, as ABC touted in its promos, “We lost that dream. We lost that legacy.”
Before going any further, let’s acknowledge that, yes, JFK Jr. was by all accounts a lovely person. He wore his fame lightly and moved through New York City as one of us. He understood that his looks and pedigree gave him a place in history that wasn’t quite earned. He was a unique figure in American life.
Yet he also...
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