'The Kennedys' Mini-Series: Sorting Fact from Fiction


2. Brothers Jack and Bobby Kennedy discuss their sexual drives after their father pressures Jack to marry in 1951. Bobby says he loves Ethel, to which Jack responds, "I love lobster, but not every night. If I don't have some strange a** every couple of days, I get migraines."

Nasaw: "They all had foul mouths, Joe especially, and they joked with one another all the time. Based on everything I know about the family and their interaction, this is something they would have stayed away from -- their sexual escapades. It's not something the brothers would have discussed with one another."

3. Joe Sr. kisses his secretary in front of his wife Rose, played by Diana Hardcastle. Resigned, Rose offers a sweater to the young woman.

Nasaw: "That's just crazy. Joe in his own way loved and respected Rose. He would never have put her in that situation. Whether he was carrying on with this secretary or not, I don't know. What I can say is he wouldn't have embarrassed Rose like that. That was not part of the relationship. That was something he did behind closed doors. He did everything he could to protect Rose. They had a relationship that was absolutely unique."

4. Joe Sr. offers Jackie Kennedy a $1 million trust if she promises to stay with Jack, with the caveat that if he loses the presidency, she can leave him and keep the money.

Nasaw: "When they began this project, the producer said he was going to do a "Godfather" epic and this family fits perfectly. A lot of these inaccuracies come because he wants to make the Kennedy boys into the Corleone boys, and Joe into the Godfather. If Jackie was going to leave Jack, she was going to get more than $1 million. It doesn't make sense."

Fact-Checking 'The Kennedys'

5. Joe Sr. buys off Chicago mobster Sam Giancana in an effort to help win Jack's presidential election.

Nasaw: "I have no evidence whatsoever of that. If you look back on all the literature, only after the assassination is it that these stories come out. People had lots of bad things to say about Joe during his life, but never this one. If you look at his wealth he didn't need Giancana at all. He had more than enough money."

6. Joe demanded that JFK make Bobby Attorney General. Both brothers were against it, but neither was willing to stand up to their father.

Nasaw: "There was probably a demand. It may even have been a confrontation. The fact was JFK was his own man, and Joe knew it. But if I had two sons, I would tell my son, the president, to make your brother the Attorney General. I don't see why it would be a surprise."

Later, Nasaw added, "It's no mystery to anybody in the family that Joe Sr. had his wishes Jack would go into politics, but Jack made the decision."

7. When Joe Sr. learns that Jack is romantically involved with Inga Arvard, a married Danish woman who has been linked to counterintelligence activities, he places a call to the Secretary of the Navy and has his son shipped overseas when Jack refuses to break off the relationship with Arvard.

Nasaw: "That's entirely false. The absolute last thing Joe wanted was for his sons to go overseas. He dreaded it. The boys wanted to. He didn't want either one, Jack or Joe Jr., to. Jack was terribly frail and sickly. Joe never thought he would survive. This was something Jack decided against his wishes."

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