Will ‘Chappaquiddick’ Go the Full ‘Confirmation?’
We’ve seen that happen before. Just earlier this month, to be precise, courtesy of HBO.
We recently learned actor Jason Clarke (“Terminator Genisys”) will play Sen. Ted Kennedy in “Chappaquiddick.” The upcoming film chronicles how the Senate’s “liberal lion” left a young campaign worker to die in a submerged car. The fallout from the tragedy likely prevented Kennedy from running for the Oval Office.
It hardly dented his image within Democratic circles, though. He was considered a progressive hero up until his death in 2009. Apparently, Democrats watched his televised mea culpa and believed his version of the story.
The facts in the Chappaquiddick accident were as shocking then as they are today. The married Kennedy left a party with Kopechne on the night in question – July 18, 1969. He drove even though he had a chauffeur at his disposal.
He accidentally steered his Oldsmobile off the road and into Poucha Pond. He escaped the sinking car, but Kopechne wasn’t so lucky. He claims to have repeatedly try to save her.
Yet he waited roughly nine hours before reporting what happened. Some diving experts suggested she may have survived for several hours in the vehicle. That means if Kennedy immediately sought help she still could be alive today.
So what version of the truth will we see on screen? And why tell this story now?
These aren’t inconsequential questions.
Consider “Confirmation,” the new HBO telefeature about the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. The film aired during an election year, one featuring a female presidential candidate with a good chance of breaking the ultimate glass ceiling.
The story hinged, in part, on whether women of that era could expect a fair hearing in matters of sexual aggression. And Thomas has been a judicial thorn in the left’s side ever since his confirmation to the highest court in the land.
So did the movie stay true to the facts? Not exactly. The movie’s advertising campaign gave the game away.
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“It Only Takes One Voice to Change History,” went the poster, complete with a sympathetic portrait of Kerry Washington as Anita Hill. The professor’s sexual abuse accusations against Thomas were treated with far more respect than Thomas’ denials.
Democrats were portrayed as reluctantly pursuing Hill’s testimony, never voicing an eagerness to score political points.
The film made it clear that Hill would have emerged victorious if more witnesses were allowed to testify, and the D.C. culture wasn’t so misogynistic.
Left out? All the facts that damaged Hill’s case and left the public on Thomas’ side.
There’s a very good reason movies like “Confirmation” and the 2015 bust “Truth” get made. Time passes. The truth recedes. These films recast reality in ways that favor the Left.
In the case of “Truth” that meant Dan Rather was innocent in the “RatherGate” imbroglio. Future President George W. Bush did shirk his National Guard duties. Or so Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett and the rest of the cast allege. Even though few people took that position at the time after absorbing the critical facts.
Hill’s story didn’t hold up, or so judged the public after watching the confirmation hearings on TV.
Yet anyone watching “Confirmation” came away with an entirely different reality.
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Now, consider the source. HBO’s history of left-leaning content is indisputable. Washington, who also produced the film, is one of Hollywood’s most vocal liberals. Is it any wonder “Confirmation” told the story as it did? Why else would the real Hill help market the movie?
Will “Chappaquiddick” do the same? The key players behind the project lack an overt ideological ax to grind.
While the Thomas hearings were the ultimate “he said, she said” argument, the Kennedy case is different.
It’s hard to explain away that 9-hour period that will forever be pinned to the senator’s soul. And what was his punishment for pleading guilty to leaving the scene of an accident? A two-month suspended sentence and the loss of his driver’s license for a year..
Does that even give Hollywood enough wiggle room to somehow spin the tragedy in Kennedy’s favor?
I once attended one of Henry Rollins’ spoken word shows, and while it definitely had a liberal bent, he unexpectedly finished it out by giving a long and graphic description of Mary Jo Kopechne’s death. If “Chappaquiddick” does show said death on screen, it will definitely have an impact – it was not a short or painless death, to say the least, and to see it happen with your own eyes is very different from just hearing about it. Kind of like how watching “The Stoning of Soraya M.” has a much more visceral impact than just reading about stonings in the Middle East.
even if everything Hill said were true, all he allegedly did was make weird comments. hardly harassment and certainly not rape like Hillary’s husband.
I take it that you’ve never read Piers Anthony’s sympathetic treatment of Chappaquiddick in one of the segments of On a Pale Horse. (Or maybe it was another one.)
Just a side note, but locals in Massachusetts call that river “the Kennedy Car Wash”.
I met a woman who was, to say the least, in the thick of things at Chappaquiddick. She told me her story — one that makes the most sense of the 9-hour lag in reporting the accident, the most critical and damning factor in the whole mess.
It comes down to this. The party was filled with young girls star struck by the older power brokers with whom they were atypically socializing. Mary Jo in particular had a crush on Ted Kennedy. Everybody was drinking heavily.
At some point in the evening, feeling more than a little under the weather, Mary Jo wandered outside, saw Kennedy’s car and crawled into the back seat to sleep it off.
At some later point, Kennedy and the woman who told me this story got in his car and headed for a more private party a deux. They were both, shall we say, plastered.
After the car went off the bridge, Kennedy’s primary goal was to get his female companion the hell out of the picture. His wife was at home, after all, and pregnant to boot.
Here’s the punch line: they didn’t know Mary Jo was in the car.
Which provides the most locigal explanation for Kennedy’s seemingly evil callousness in not trying to save her. And the troubling time lag as aides scrambled for damage control, not realizing that something far worse than casual infidelity would hit the fan.
My source’s anonymity was protected. But her conscience was far from clear. I hope after all these years she’s realized she was little more than a naive kid dazzled by a powerful figure with feet of clay. And that she had plenty of company. From those who gravitated to the first Kennedy in power all the way up to Monica.
There are dozens of theories, reams of material, reports, hypotheses and even websites on what really happened at Chappaquiddick.
I didn’t make this one up. I wasn’t there. So I don’t claim this is the Emmes. I’m just reporting the story I was told. We’ll never know. After all … wait for it … there’s too much water under the bridge.
I heard that Ted veered off the road to avoid hitting a Sasquatch.
LOL, sure they didn’t.
I heard they were on their way to midnight mass.
Ted Kennedy was an evil, unrepentant, alcoholic piece of she-it.
I believe you completely !
Teddy Kennedy is COMPLETELY BLAMELESS !
And why was Ronald Reagan never questioned about his whereabouts ?
I am not saying that Ted Kennedy walked across the water to escape, but i’m not NOT saying it either !
I am not saying Ted Kennedy is THE God, but A god, why not ?
Amirite Sooke ?