Alternate headline: Some people did something.
If the accident that claimed the life of 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne fifty years ago had happened within the last hour and little else were known about the tragedy, the passive construction Kennedy’s car went off a bridge into the water might be excusable from a journalistic standpoint. But when the facts are as clearly laid out as they have been beginning mere hours after the deadly crash occurred, the phraseology doesn’t pass muster.
Yet that is how the Associated Press chose to recall the event in a tweet marking its fiftieth anniversary.
50 years ago today, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy left a party on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha's Vineyard with Mary Jo Kopechne, 28; some time later, Kennedy's car went off a bridge into the water. Kennedy was able to escape, but Kopechne drowned. pic.twitter.com/X7jCFJcyJw
— AP Images (@AP_Images) July 18, 2019
What would have been a more satisfactory — or at least more honest — formulation? This one by the New York Post’s Brooke Rogers (h/t Twitchy):
Ted Kennedy drove his car off the bridge, left Mary Jo Kopechne in the water to die, &, instead of calling the police/an ambulance, went back to the party and told his friends. He didn't report it to police until the next day.
Then Ted was re-elected to the Senate 7 more times. https://t.co/tryQ7WUHlt
— Brooke Rogers ? (@bkerogers) July 19, 2019
Rogers adds in a subsequent tweet:
Even now, our coverage of Mary Jo Kopechne’s death is so sanitized. We call it “the Chappaquiddick incident” and not “the time Ted Kennedy left a woman at the bottom of a lake.” Because god forbid someone besmirch the good name of a Kennedy.
Ok, I’m done.
— Brooke Rogers ? (@bkerogers) July 20, 2019
Ted Kennedy has been dead ten years, and telling the truth about the events of that night is still verboten, at least for the elite media. Fortunately, we have reliable sources like People magazine to note that Kennedy’s first course of action after swimming to safety was to call his mistress, not his wife.