Monday, October 18, 2004

Pierre Salinger Dies at 79

I once wanted to be an astronaut. A few years later I wanted to be an architect. I for a very long time wanted to be a special ed teacher. But I always wanted to be Pierre Salinger...

NewYork (AP)-- Pierre Salinger, who served as John F. Kennedy's press
secretary and later had a long career with ABC News, has died.

The unwritten rule is that celebrities die in threes. Janet Leigh, Rodney Dangerfield, and Christopher Reeve. It may be stretching to add Salinger, but if anyone truly deserves celebrity status it should be Salinger. I'd bravely state that Pierre Salinger single-handedly changed the relationship between the executive branch and the press.

"Mr. Salinger's appointment came as the pervasive influence of television was becoming clear in politics and world affairs, and he assumed an unusually powerful role for a press secretary. He accompanied Kennedy to conferences with other world leaders, including the 1961 meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna, and was dispatched by the president to Moscow the following year to confer directly with Soviet leaders" (New York Times).

Pierre Salinger was a former White House Press Secretary to Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and was an ABC journalist. In November of 1996 he stated publicly that friendly fire from the Navy caused the TWA 800 crash, based on an internet hoax (Lending his name to the Pierre Salinger Syndrome--assuming everything on the internet is true).

All faults aside, Pierre Salinger was in the heart of something that made him an honorable man. Pierre announced the death of JFK, witnessed the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, and never once disregarded his loyalty to the Kennedy family. He will be missed as one of the closest and most honest connections to the Kennedy administration.

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