Never change, New York Times. The so-called “paper of record” on Friday used the death of Robert Kennedy’s granddaughter as a way to bring up Chappaquiddick and call it “another Kennedy family tragedy.” And while the death of young Saoirse Kennedy Hill, as well as the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy are, indeed, family tragidies, Chappaquiddick was a calamity for Mary Jo Kopechne, the woman Ted Kennedy abandoned and left to drown.
For Fast Company’s run-up to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the magazine's Charles Fishman dove into the contemporaneous coverage from July 1969, focusing on how the print media reporting on “liberal lion” Sen. Ted Kennedy driving off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island that killed his passenger was overshadowed by the moon landing the next day.
Thursday marks 50 years since Ted Kennedy, liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and left Mary Jo Kopechne to drown in the back seat. For decades, journalists and the networks downplayed the incident and portrayed the Democratic senator as the victim.
Almost 10 years after the death of Democrat Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy of Massachusetts, and 50 years after the death of Mary Jo Kopechne -- and two years after a major Hollywood film on the incident -- the media are starting to finally reveal the truth about what happened at Chappaquiddick.
During Friday’s Cuomo PrimeTime, host Chris Cuomo closed the show by praising Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s decision to demand an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, delaying the Senate vote on his confirmation by a week. Not surprisingly, Flake received media acclaim after bragging about donating to Alabama senatorial candidate Doug Jones.
On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle claims that "everyone so revered" the Presidency and the U.S. Senate not that long ago, and wonders how long it will take to repair the damage to those institutions that is now being done on a daily basis.
The level to which some members of the media would go in order to excuse or explain away the reprehensible conduct of Ted Kennedy never ceased to amaze. On August 27, 2009, journalist Melissa Lafsky, who at one time worked for the New York Times’s Freakonomics blog, wrote this about Mary Jo Kopechne, a woman Kennedy left to drown:
The voice was instantly recognizable, even though its owner identified himself. ‘'The record shows he has a strange idea of what justice is” intoned American icon and movie star Gregory Peck. The “he” in question was Judge Robert Bork, and Peck was lending his voice to something new in American history: a television commercial attacking a nominee for the United States Supreme Court.
The New York Times pathetically tried to turn the shock resignation of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused by several women of physical abuse into a political plus for Democrats, even though Schneiderman was one of the legal leaders of “The Resistance” and a #MeToo crusader for women. Thursday’s New York Times front-page story by Alexander Burns read: “Sex Scandals Hit Both Parties, But One Sees Double Standard.”
As fans of This Week in Media Bias History know, certain quotes from liberal journalists about liberal politicians are extra cringe-worthy in retrospect. On April 29, 1991, Time magazine fawned over Senator Ted Kennedy, praising him as the “prince” of “American politics,” a man who became “one of the great American lawmakers of the century.” Is leaving Mary Joe Kopechne to drown something a “prince” would do? In contrast, on April 28, 1996, CBS’s Ed Bradley derided the Reagan years as a “nightmare.”
In a Friday New York Times op-ed, Neal Gabler, merely described as "writing a biography of Edward Kennedy" to feign neutrality, expressed alarm that "the despicable Kennedy" seen in Chappaquiddick "will eradicate the honorable if flawed real one." Anyone who knows the history, dramatically retold in the movie I saw, can only hope that the actually despicable Massachusetts senator accurately portrayed in the film makes the history books.
Jason Clarke got quite the education after accepting the lead role in Chappaquiddick. The movie, out April 6, follows the events surrounding the 1969 death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Sen. Ted Kennedy (Clarke) was driving Kopechne.