'A Well-Publicized Automobile Accident in Massachusetts Nearly 39 Years Ago'

January 13th, 2008 7:58 PM
Could a description of Mary Jo Kopechne's death in a car accident possibly not mention Ted Kennedy till five paragraphs later?


That's how the Times Leader, the Wilkes Barre, PA-based newspaper reported the passing away at age 89 of Mary Kopechne's mother Gwen, a local resident.

Here's the opening paragraph [emphasis added]:
A mother who lost her daughter in a well-publicized automobile accident in Massachusetts nearly 39 years ago was remembered Saturday as a caring woman who loved talking, drinking coffee and making pancakes for breakfast.
Ultimately, reporter Edward Lewis, in the sixth and succeeding paragraphs, did state that Mary Jo "was a passenger in a car driven by U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Kennedy was driving the young woman from a party when he drove off a bridge and into a pond. Kennedy escaped with minor injuries but Mary Jo was killed. Circumstances surrounding the accident and events that followed evolved into a cloud of suspicion that continues today."

But he then described Mary Jo's death as "the tragic event on Chappaquiddick."

"Tragic"? How about "criminal"?