2009.08.24: Chris Matthews to report 'Kennedy Brothers: A Hardball Documentary'

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Chris Matthews to report 'Kennedy Brothers: A Hardball Documentary'

Chris Matthews to report 'Kennedy Brothers: A Hardball Documentary'

Tatthews brings his own perspective to the show - he wrote the book, Kennedy and Nixon: The Rivalry That Shaped Postwar America. Matthews' interviews for this show include Frank Mankiewicz and biographer Peter Canellos. The producers have burnished the narrative with memorable, and priceless, film footage. elevision Journalist Chris Matthews served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland in the 1960's.

Chris Matthews to report 'Kennedy Brothers: A Hardball Documentary'

'Kennedy Brothers:' Myths and legends
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This is a documentary well worth the watching: Thursday, on MSNBC.
Posted August 24, 2009 12:00 PM

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The Swamp

by Mark Silva

The illness which has sidelined the senior senator from Massachusetts after 47 years in Washington bodes the end of a dramatic era which opened a little over five decades ago with a mix of money, romance and idealism.

Three brothers - the Kennedy brothers - have left an indelible mark on the modern history of a nation that aspired to reach the moon but was brought down to earth with an unwinnable war in Vietnam. In the inaugural words of President Barack Obama, whose own campaign evoked a dream that a nation had invested in the Kennedys: "We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.''

"They stirred the country's blood and maddened their rivals,'' MSNBC's Chris Matthews says of the Kennedy brothers in a nostalgic Hardball documentary about the campaigns and political legacy of a family, The Kennedy Brothers, that airs Thursday night.

We've seen it, and it's well worth watching.

It is, for sure, long on romanticism and short on criticism. But the sharply detailed and well-written history of a dream that died in Dallas and took decades to rekindle makes it a story as much about a nation as about one family:

The young president, John F. Kennedy, who won the White House in 1960 and was felled by an assassin in 1963, his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, the attorney general and charismatic candidate for president until another assassin stopped him on the campaign trail in 1968, and the brother, Edward M. Kennedy, elected to the Senate in 1962 and who made his own failing bids for a presidential nomination, are the subjects of the MSNBC documentary.

But the lushly illustrated story with intimately personal film footage really is about a bridge between the old and new generations of American politics -- the politics of the old ward machines that gave way to the poltiics of new imagery, a transition that paralleled the transition of American television from black and white to technicolor.

Did you remember Frank Sinatra singing JFK's campaign song?

"He had high hopes.''

"Before John F. Kennedy entered the political scene, no politician had ever seemed so comfortable--so himself--in front of television cameras,'' MSNBC notes. "While politicians of the past were forever frozen in black and white photos, the Kennedy brothers were a crisp color image. ''

The first two brothers were taken by unspeakable violence. The third, 77, is battling brain cancer, a disease that has sidelined him at a time when one of the causes of his era - health-care reform - is mired in a stumbling Washington debate which even Republican Sen. John McCain has acknowledged is poorer for Kennedy's absence.

"Ted Kennedy was very happy being a senator,'' historian Doris Kearns Goodwin notes in this documentary -- and the personal scandal of Chappaquiddick helped ensure that he would go no further than the Senate. Though Matthews takes a direct, documented hit at Kennedy's "unprepared'' 1980 campaign -- simply "un-Kennedy.''

Matthews brings his own perspective to the show - he wrote the book, Kennedy and Nixon: The Rivalry That Shaped Postwar America. Matthews' interviews for this show include Frank Mankiewicz and biographer Peter Canellos. The producers have burnished the narrative with memorable, and priceless, film footage.

The climax is the hard-charging campaign that Sen. Kennedy mounted for Obama in 2008: "That dream that would never die,'' Matthews suggests.

In "Ted's" words: "The dream lives on.''

The Kennedy Brothers airs Thursday at 7 pm EDT.

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Headlines: August, 2009; RPCV Chris Matthews (Swaziland); Figures; Peace Corps Swaziland; Directory of Swaziland RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Swaziland RPCVs; Journalism; Television

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Story Source: The Swamp - Tribune's Washington Bureau

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Swaziland; Journalism; Television


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