The Times accurately compared Caroline Kennedy's "controlled" press strategy to that of Sarah Palin. A Kennedy supporter buttressed that view on MSNBC. So why did the Times delete the comparison forever?

When commenter Aaron Altman on Wednesday read the paper's story about senate-hopeful Kennedy's tour of upstate New York, it started with this provocative sentence:

In a carefully controlled strategy reminiscent of the vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, aides to Caroline Kennedy interrupted her on Wednesday and whisked her away when she was asked what her qualifications are to be a United States senator.

That's a revealing introduction. And accurate: Even Kennedy's allies think her tight press strategy is misguided, as shown in the attached clip above.

But by the time the story appeared in Thursday's paper, any comparison to former vice presidential nominee Palin, and all mentions of "control," were gone. The new, much more polite beginning read as follows:

The first day of Caroline Kennedy’s tour through upstate New York on Wednesday was meant to be a low-key, decorous excursion, mindful of the skepticism surrounding her bid to be appointed the state’s next United States senator. Fat chance.

Gone, too, was an account of how, when asked by reporters about her qualifications, Kennedy allowed herself to be whisked away by an aide, into a black SUV, saying only, "Hopefully I can come back and answer all those questions."

The reader never learns about about Kennedy's evasion. Instead, he is fed this quote, crafted after Kennedy had some time to think:

“I just hope everybody understands that it is not a campaign but that I have a lifelong devotion to public service... I’ve written books on the Constitution and the importance of individual participation. And I’ve raised my family. I think I really could help bring change to Washington.”

The Times should cover Kennedy's ducking of questions because it's the right thing to do. She has little track record, and appears unqualified for the office she's seeking, making her public behavior all the more important.

But if that's not reason enough, the newspaper should consider appearances. Sanitizing, in public, a story about your publisher's close "friend" will lead some people to believe the paper is suppressing even more information in private. Whether the decision was made by the original reporters or someone higher up, it was a bad call.