Sen. Ted Kennedy would have had a "very, very difficult" time politically surviving the drowning death of a young woman if it happened in the era of blogs, talk radio and 24-hour news cycles, experts said.
Kennedy said he dived back into the water several times, "but succeeded only in increasing my state of utter exhaustion and alarm."
Conceding he did not seek a telephone, Kennedy said he returned to the party and summoned a cousin and friend to the scene. They, too, failed in saving Kopechne, he said.
"All kinds of scrambled thoughts -- all of them confused, some of them irrational, many of them which I cannot recall, and some of which I would not have seriously entertained under normal circumstances -- went through my mind during this period," he said.
He asked to be taken to the ferry slip, he said, where he jumped into the water, swam the 500-foot channel back to Edgartown, returned to his hotel room and collapsed. (He could swim a 500 foot channel but he was too exhausted to dive back to the car?)
It wasn't until morning that he called police, and then, only after he called legal adviser Burke Marshall, he said. (None of the people he summoned at the party did anything either.)
The media clamored with questions: Why had Kopechne left her purse and room key at the cottage and told no one she was going home? How did Kennedy get lost on a one-turn trip to the ferry? Was the ferry operating when Kennedy and Kopechne left?
"The larger anger about it was the 10-hour lag [in reporting the accident], that he was more concerned about his reputation than this young woman's life," Baughman said. "He didn't take enough time to blame himself and take responsibility."
Diver John Farrar, who pulled Kopechne from the car, told media outlets she may have lived had Kennedy called police immediately, (probably an air bubble in the car) and George Killen, a detective-lieutenant with the State Police, alleged at the time that Kennedy "killed that girl the same as if he put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger."
1969 was different in oh so many ways. Trash like this was not repeated ad infinitum the way it is today. "If someone types it than it must be worth repeating" was not the working definition of news programs or anything back then.
#442318 - 08/30/0906:32 PMRe: Media today would demand Chappaquiddick answer
People who are involved in accidents sometimes go into a state of shock. An example from my own personal experience was when I was driving to work on a winding, hilly, country road and had to stop quickly because there was a VW Rabbit upside down in the middle of the road! A woman was inside, frantically pounding on the windows, trying to get out. I pulled over and tried opening the doors to no avail. Then I pressed the button on the hatchback and it, being upside down, fell to the road giving her a means of escape.
She scurried out of the upside down car on her hands and knees and then started running down the middle of the road! "Wait!" I called to her as she ran away. "Where are you going?"
She said, "I'm going to my mother's house!" I looked around and there was nothing but woods and fields for miles and miles. I screamed at her, because she was already quite a distance from me, "You can't just leave the scene of an accident! The police will arrest you!"
She stopped and came back after that, but if I hadn't been there, that woman would have run all the way to her mother's house, wherever that was! She was in shock. That happens to people after they are involved in an accident sometimes. It's a normal thing for people to act irrationally at times like that.
Edit: OK, the weirdest thing about that whole scene was that there had been a box of jewelry in the car when it overturned. This woman had hundreds and hundreds of star and moon earrings hanging from her hair as she was running down the road. Really bizarre now that I think about it! All those sparkling stars and moons hanging from her hair... Someone pulled up behind me (this was before the days of cell phones), so I asked that person to please drive to the nearest house and ask them to call the police, which he did.
Does it matter though? I don't know the point of such an academic question right after the man died aside from wanting to re-fight it. Is it really important for anyone to "win" Sen. Ted Kennedy's legacy? That's what I'm more interested in.
#442320 - 08/30/0906:56 PMRe: Media today would demand Chappaquiddick answer
"The media clamored with questions: Why had Kopechne left her purse and room key at the cottage and told no one she was going home? How did Kennedy get lost on a one-turn trip to the ferry? Was the ferry operating when Kennedy and Kopechne left?"
She took the wrong purse when she left. She took the purse of another woman who was at the party, instead of her own, by mistake. The purse she took by mistake was found in the vehicle. Yes, the ferry was still operating at that time.
#442322 - 08/30/0907:14 PMRe: Media today would demand Chappaquiddick answer
Originally Posted By: six_of_one
I'd agree that had this happened fresh in today's media environment, Kennedy would have been crucified, regardless if he was actually guilty of anything or not. Politically, he would have been toast.
Although I don't really know what the above adds to the debate regarding Chappaquiddick other than perhaps being less reflective on Kennedy as it is of today's media ...
Other than exploiting yet another opportunity to rehash facts that have been known for decades now, I'm not really seeing the point of the article ...
I have a little more faith in today's media than that article portrays. The truth will set you free and all that. Sharing of "accurate" information is a good thing. If Chappaquiddick had happened today, the truth about what transpired may have been known a heck of a lot sooner. That article is slanted and has misinformation. The person who wrote it was in a hurry and didn't do his homework.
somewhat related, but watching Mad Men right now. the 60s were different. far different in many ways. much that happened then would not be as publicly acceptable today. but the only reason to bring this up now is because the author just hates the fact that Kennedy is getting so much positive PR after his death.
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