This week the nation will conjure up memories of the 50 years that have passed since the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And when the media remember the legacy of President John F. Kennedy, let's hope that they recall what is appropriate.
On this day, especially, I don't want to hear more idle gossip about JFK's love for women or his activities outside of the White House. I don't want to hear any nonsense about it. I want to focus on what he was like as a president.
It will be so easy for the media to turn this event into another piece of cheap entertainment for the masses. Is it possible for journalists today to recognize what is truly important?
We've seen genuine suffering during such moments as the aftermath of the Boston Marathon. Yet, that, too, was cheapened and crushed to be reported as some sort of rejected script for a "CSI" or "Law & Order" episode.
The 50th "anniversary" of JFK's death will be a ratings bonanza. Americans who can remember that awful day in Dallas, when the nation grasped just how vulnerable we were, will treat this as a solemn occasion. As with Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001, Nov. 22, 1963, will always have resonance for people.
And if you weren't yet born on that day and want to know what happened, television news and other media owe it to you to do an honorable job of reporting and commenting. I just hope that my fellow journalists can resist the temptationto treat this news story as anything but a national tragedy.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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