ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl on Sunday hyperbolically declared that the
Kennedys are "America's family." Reporting on the funeral of Ted Kennedy for the
August 30 Good Morning America, the reporter read a letter from the Senator to
the Pope about his Catholic faith and how it sustained him in life. Karl opined,
"...Kennedy did a better job summing up his own life than any of the other
hundreds of eulogies we have heard over the last days."
Describing the assembled clan at the funeral, Karl boldly asserted, "In the front, the Kennedys, America's family. Four generations shaped by the man who bore the torch when his brothers fell." Certainly, there are many independents, Republicans and non-Democrats who would disagree with bestowing such a label on the liberal Kennedy family.
The ABC correspondent then contrasted his own grandiose remark by insisting, "As he once eulogized his brother Bobby, on this day, Ted Kennedy was neither idealized nor enlarged in death beyond what he was in life."
A transcript of the August 30 segment, which aired at 8:08am, follows:
BILL WEIR: Well, the nation bid farewell yesterday to Ted Kennedy in a grand and somber series of ceremonies that marked his long career in public service. ABC's Jonathan Karl attended the funeral and joins us now from the final resting place, Arlington National Cemetery. Good morning, Jon.
JONATHAN KARL: Good morning, Bill. Yes, Ted Kennedy has been laid to rest here at Arlington just a few hundred feet from the eternal flame which marks the final resting spot of his brother John and adjacent to the final resting spot of his brother Bobby. Laid to rest after an outpourance [SIC] of remembrance and emotion that seemed more appropriate for a President than a Senator. Through the wet and gray streets of Boston, one final journey. From the library that bears his brother's name to the church where he prayed for his daughter's health when she raged her own battle against cancer, a nation pausing to remember the lion of the Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED, OFF CAMERA VOICE FROM FUNERAL: We're reminded that the most public personalities also live a very personal existence.
KARL: But on this day, a very public service. In the pews side by side four Presidents came to bid farewell.
JONATHAN KARL: And shoulder to shoulder sat old friends and foes alike from his Senate days. Political battles laid to rest.
TED KENNEDY JR (Son of Ted Kennedy): He often brought his Republican colleagues home for dinner. And he believed in developing personal relationships and honoring differences.
KARL: In the front, the Kennedys, America's family. Four generations shaped by the man who bore the torch when his brothers fell. Teddy Jr., who lost a leg to cancer at the age of 12, spoke of his father's indomitable will.
TED KENNEDY JR: I said, "I'll never be able to climb up that hill. And he lifted me up in his strong gentle arms and said something I will never forget. He said "I know you can do it. There is nothing that you can't do. We're going to climb that hill together, even if it takes us all day."
KARL: His widow Vicki proud and gracious listening to every tribute. And so many nieces and nephews. The youngest of each Kennedy branch spoke the senator's own words.
TED KENNEDY III: The work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on.
KARL: As he once eulogized his brother Bobby, on this day, Ted Kennedy was neither idealized nor enlarged in death beyond what he was in life.
BARACK OBAMA: The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy's shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became.
KARL: And then the final leg of his journey from one home to another, the road he traveled for nearly half a century, from the nation's birthplace to its capital, a final salute and then Arlington National Cemetery. A nation bid its final farewell to Edward M. Kennedy with one lasting image.
OBAMA: The image of a man on a boat, wide mane tussled, smiling broadly as he sails into the wind ready for whatever storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon.
KARL: Perhaps the most remarkable words heard yesterday were Kennedy's own from that extraordinary letter that he wrote the Pope in his final weeks. In that letter he spoke at length, or wrote at length, about his Catholic faith and the importance of his faith. One line he said "That gift of faith has sustained and nurtured and provides solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being. But with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path." And, Kate, really, with that final letter, Kennedy did a better job summing up his own life than any of the other hundreds of eulogies we have heard over the last days.
-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center.