On the morning of Sunday, 3.25.62, N.Y. Times readers may have scanned a mild little Tom Wicker story about President Jack Kennedy having briefly chatted with former President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the El Dorado Country Club during a weekend visit to the Palm Desert area.
Quoting press secretary Pierre Salinger, Wicker reported that the Kennedy-Ike discussion had lasted “fifty-one minutes.”
Wicker’s story discreetly observed that JFK was “spending the weekend nearby.” What Wicker meant but was professionally obliged to ignore wasn’t “newsworthy” by Times standards, but was certainly legend-worthy. For the Palm Desert dish that Wicker side-stepped was comprised of three tasty intrigues.
Two, he had decided on the Crosby estate and against staying at Frank Sinatra’s nearby desert home after being told (by either J. Edgar Hoover or Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy or both) that Sinatra had been maintaining close ties with certain mafia figures, and that Kennedy couldn’t afford the tainted association.
This is how things worked in the Kennedy era. Big-time, well-connected reporters didn’t touch this kind of material. That was the understanding.