If we'd had insatiable 24/7 cable news networks in July 1969, the accident on Chappaquiddick Island in which a passenger in a car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy drowned would likely have dominated the national consciousness for months. . . .And Mary Jo Kopechne still could not be reached for comment.
Was it just as well that we didn't -- couldn't -- have a media feeding frenzy over Chappaquiddick in 1969? Would the nation have been better off if Kennedy had been shamed into private life? . . .
Or, as I believe, is the nation -- particularly our disabled and disadvantaged residents -- better off for the 40 years of service he was able to render after that terrible night?
One hesitates to say that American journalism can't get any worse. We said that after Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair and yet, as if determined to prove us wrong, these elitist nincompoops who've hijacked the news business keep coming up with new crimes against their own profession.
Ed Driscoll has some thoughts, and links some honest commentary by Mark Steyn and a brutally factual American Spectator account of Chappaquiddick by Daniel Flynn.
Still,, even the antidote of such good journalism cannot quell the Zorn-induced nausea. I'm depressed by this evidence that there must not be one Old School journalist left in Chicago. An arrogant intellectual punk like Zorn? Mike Royko would have punched him out.
UPDATE: Not worthy of a Royko punch-out, but this paragraph by CNN's Elliott McLaughlin has a glaringly bad word choice:
In his national address, Kennedy said he was driving Kopechne to a ferry landing because she was tired. He denied "widely circulated suspicions of immoral conduct" and also refuted reports that he was "driving under the influence of liquor."Kennedy "refuted" nothing. I understand McLaughlin's reluctance to use "denied" twice in the same sentence, but "refuted" means to disprove.
Multiple witnesses confirmed that Ted Kennedy had been drinking heavily all day that Saturday. Supplies for the regatta party -- attended by six married men and six single women, incidentally -- included three half-gallons of vodka, four fifths of scotch, two bottles of rum and two cases of beer. And then there is the rather telling circumstantial evidence that Ted drove off the freaking bridge.
On that night, Kennedy was drunk as a skunk, high as a kite, three sheets to the wind. He was hammered, wasted, soused, tanked, blotto, sloshed. He was, in a word, intoxicated.
I'd go so far as to say he was driving while intoxicated, except that rolling an Oldsmobile off a bridge is not really what most folks down home would call "driving."
Nothing he said in his subsequent speech "refuted" the fact that Teddy was drunk, nor will it ever.