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The Incredible Timing of Investigative Reporting on RFK Jr.

Tim Graham on

One of the ways that Democrat Party newspapers tell us they are Democrat Party newspapers is the timing of their investigative journalism. On the front page on Nov. 17, The New York Times ran a 4,100-word hit piece on Robert F. Kennedy Jr. titled "In Public Causes, Kennedy Earns Acclaim, Criticism and a Fortune."

Investigative reporter Susanne Craig summarized her thesis on her Twitter account. "The causes RFK Jr. has championed have made him A LOT of money," she wrote. "His life has been a long, private hustle of paid speeches, advisory gigs and so on. Wealthy friends were behind the purchase of his home on the Kennedy compound."

In recent years, Craig has been routinely deployed on the finances of Donald Trump. Her byline at the Times boasts she earned "a Pulitzer Prize in 2019 for work that shattered Donald Trump's myth that he is a self-made billionaire." This also underlines that the Pulitzer Prize judges often honor the political timeliness of hot, negative scoops.

"Throughout his long public life, Mr. Kennedy has cultivated an image as a man committed to a greater good, the blessing and burden of belonging to one of America's most storied political families," the Times story began. In his 2018 memoir, Craig noted, he said his mother Ethel Kennedy instilled the notion that they shouldn't be satisfied with "making a big pile for ourselves and whoever dies with the most stuff wins." Public service should prevail.

"But an examination of Mr. Kennedy's finances by The New York Times, including public filings and almost two dozen interviews as well as tax returns and other documents not previously made public," showed a windfall of "tens of millions of dollars."

Armed with the Kennedy mantle, this man was awash in board positions and advisory gigs, side deals with law firms, book contracts and lucrative speeches, "once upward of 60 a year by his own count."

"These self-dealing practices could have been reported at any time over the last 25 years," presidential historian Steven Hayward wrote at the Power Line blog. "Heck, from the Times description, RFK is so corrupt he could be a member of the Biden family!"

 

The Times didn't publish this 87-paragraph attack while Kennedy was still within the Democratic Party fold, when there might have been a remote possibility of withdrawal and a Biden endorsement before any primaries took place. Instead, RFK announcing an independent campaign for president wreaks havoc on Biden's reelection chances, so it's time for the "objective" media outlets to discover the "hypocrite with the long private hustle" narrative.

In the recent past, when this RFK was primarily known as an environmental activist, the Times was typically cozy, sticking to the "man committed to a greater good" narrative. A 2014 piece on his marriage at age 60 to "Curb Your Enthusiasm" actress Cheryl Hines was headlined "No Curbs on Their Enthusiasm."

But the latest poll by The Times and Siena College found 24% of voters in battleground states said they would support Kennedy in a theoretical matchup, with 35% for Trump and 33% for Biden.

Journalism is apparently needed to undermine that vanishing Kennedy appeal. Die-hard Biden voters are now unironically tweeting, "Just like Trump, he's a flim-flam man!" That suggests a mission accomplished.

Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Tim Graham and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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