#Journalism: NY Times Says Mary Jo Kopechne's Death Was a "Kennedy Family Tragedy" in Piece on 'Kennedy Curse'

AP Photo
Ted Kennedy's car, Mary Jo Kopechne

FILE – This July 19, 1969 file photo shows U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy’s car being pulled from the water next to the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in Edgartown, Mass. on Martha’s Vineyard. Kennedy’s passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, was trapped in the car after it went off the bridge and died. (AP Photo, File)


In case you were thinking the mainstream media’s revisionist history on the death of Mary Jo Kopechne couldn’t get any worse, I’m here to tell you that it has.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the Associated Press had conveniently left a few things out in a photo tweet they posted noting the 50th anniversary of Kopechne’s death:

It was as if the car did something reprehensible, not Kennedy. Also, “Kennedy was able to escape, but Kopechne drowned”? A better way to put it would be to have said that “Kennedy was able to escape, but left Kopechne to die.” Furthermore, as Hot Air‘s Ed Morrissey noted at the time, it was never determined if Kopechne drowned because an autopsy was never performed.

Not to be outdone, however, the New York Times did a little misreporting of their own in a story they wrote last week about the recent death of 22-year-old Saoirse Kennedy Hill. Here’s what they wrote in a piece that also detailed what is commonly known as the “Kennedy curse” (bolded emphasis added by me):


Last month marked the 50th anniversary of Chappaquiddick, another Kennedy family tragedy that took place when Edward Kennedy drove off a bridge on a small island next to Martha’s Vineyard. The accident killed Mary Jo Kopechne, the 28-year-old passenger in Mr. Kennedy’s car.

The article was published last Thursday. As of this writing, Mary Jo Kopechne’s death is still characterized as a “Kennedy family tragedy” on the paper’s website. Appalling.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this was a tragedy for the Kopechne family last I checked.

As Newsbusters‘s Scott Whitlock notes, this is par for the course for the New York Times when it comes to the Kennedys:

This isn’t new for the paper though. In 1969, Times journalist James Reston wrote the initial story on Chappaquiddick. The MRC’s Brent Bozell and Tim Graham explained in 2015:

Reston’s first draft on Chappaquiddick began “Tragedy has again struck the Kennedy family.” The actual victim was submerged in paragraph four. Luckily, the Times edited it to put the actual victim in the lede. When Kennedy spoke to the nation with his dishonest narrative about what happened, Reston was oozing again, that Teddy was a “tragic ‘profile in courage.’”

This past July 16, marked the 50th anniversary of Chappaquiddick. Even though Kennedy left Kopechne to drown, journalists, for decades, downplayed the incident and portrayed the senator as the victim.


Sadly, they’re still doing it.

— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –


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