January 14, 2004


The Media Research Center presents its sixteenth annual awards for the year’s worst reporting. Here’s the center’s quote of the year, from Boston Globe writer Charles Pierce:

If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.


Posted by Tim Blair at January 14, 2004 09:43 PM

And a set of water wings, or maybe a snorkel.

Posted by: Habib at January 14, 2004 at 09:57 PM

When a reader complained about the bizarre moral calculus, the Globe's ombudsman responded that, "The point made by writer Charles P. Pierce, while misunderstood or unappreciated by some readers, was brutally ironic: that Kennedy's work on behalf of the elderly has enhanced benefits for the nation's senior citizens - and Kopechne would have become one of them."

This view was lampooned by Mark Steyn, who commented on a similar comparison by Adam Clymer:

How many changed lives justify leaving Miss Kopechne struggling for breath for hours pressed up against the window in a small, shrinking air pocket in Teddy's car? If the Senator had managed to change the lives of even more Americans, would it have been okay to leave a couple more broads down there?

...among the orthodox left the Clymer/Pierce view is the standard line: You can't make an omelette without breaking chicks. This is subtly different from arguing that a man's personal failings are outweighed by his public successes. Rather, they're saying that a man's personal flaws are trumped by his ideological purity, regardless of whether or not it works.
Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at January 14, 2004 at 11:42 PM

If Mary Jo Kopechne had lived, Ted Kennedy might well still be hitting her, with a snootful.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at January 14, 2004 at 11:56 PM

Sorry, that's supposed to be "hitting *on* her" -- preview is my friend.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at January 14, 2004 at 11:57 PM

No, no, Jorg, I think you got it right the first time. The Kennedy men have a long history of physically abusing women - rape, murder, you name it.

Posted by: R. C. Dean at January 15, 2004 at 12:56 AM

If Teddy Kennedy had been driving a Volkswagon Bug, he'd be president today. (Thanks National Lampoon).

Posted by: Polly at January 15, 2004 at 02:52 AM

Isn't Adam Clymer the one Bush called a 'major league asshole'?

Seems apt.

Posted by: jack at January 15, 2004 at 03:52 AM

Gin-blossom Teddy can still bring comfort by leaving flowers on her grave.

Wonder how much the Kennedy Trust Fund had to cough up to buy off Ms. Kopechne's parents?


Posted by: furious at January 15, 2004 at 11:42 AM

Oh for crying out loud, it was a joke.

I would have thought that Tim, who obviously has a sense of humor, would realise this, especially as his own humour is frequently both brutal and subtle. But this one was too good pass up, eh Tim?

Charles Pierce received quite a bit of criticism from Senator Kennedy's staff for using this line.

The MRC is not an independent media watchdog, it's a highly partisan body. Hence it's description of itself: "The Leader in Documenting, Exposing and Neutralizing Liberal Media Bias."

Remember, when something is 'too good to be true' then it usually isn't.

Posted by: Nic at January 15, 2004 at 11:48 AM

I used to call him “Splash Kennedy” until I read in some newswire article that his dog is, in fact, named “Splash.” “Swimmer Kennedy” is more to the point anyway.

Bush said Clymer was an asshole, & Cheney said, “yeah, big-time.” That is why Cheney is also known as Big Time. “Clymer” has become a synonym for “asshole” at those conservative Websites that forbid vulgar words.

Posted by: ForNow at January 15, 2004 at 12:58 PM

I’ve Googled around. The original article is no longer at the Boston Globe but is quoted extensively at Just One Minute, “Seize the Moment,” Sunday, January 12, 2003 Posted 5:08 PM.

It doesn’t appear that Charles Pierce meant it merely as a joke. Just how he did mean it, judge for yourself. For my part, I’d find it easier with the whole article. Even the long exerpts don’t really clarify it for me.

Posted by: ForNow at January 15, 2004 at 01:16 PM