NY Times Op-Ed Columnist Sparks Online Outrage For ‘Chappaquiddick’ Criticism
New York Times opinion columnist Neal Gabler caused an uproar over the weekend after the release of his most recent film critique titled, “‘Chappaquiddick’ Distorts a Tragedy.”
In the piece, Gabler – a left-leaning Kennedy biographer – calls John Curran’s film “character assassination” and claims “Chappaquiddick” unnecessarily smears Ted Kennedy.
“Damning it is; factual it is not,” Gabler writes. “Let’s set aside the fact that, despite the film’s advertisements claiming to tell the ‘untold true story’ of a ‘cover-up,’ the story has been told plenty, and no one but the most lunatic conspiracy theorists see this as anything but a tragic accident in which nothing much was covered up.”
He later claims the film skews from “dramatic interpretation to outright character assassination.”
Which is absolutely wild. I saw “Chappaquiddick” this weekend, and while the dramatic music, lengthy pauses, and slow motion flashbacks add a certain cinematic flair, I wouldn’t go as far as saying the film is a deliberate smear campaign.
It’s not “character assassination” to tell the story about how a sitting senator took his late brother’s former staffer out for a drive while he was inebriated, drove his car off a bridge, left her to drown, and waited 10 hours to report the accident. That’s not character assassination. That’s extreme negligence and self-importanc.
Not to mention, he wore an unnecessary neck brace for to appeal to the public’s sympathy.
I know, right? Ted was obviously the victim here. I mean, look at his neck brace and stuff. pic.twitter.com/MpPTRcTsuf
— paperplatemaskWokeAF (@PaperPlateMask3) April 6, 2018
Needless to say, some people were pretty upset at the notion that “Chappaquiddick” was embellished.
Real men don’t leave their dates to drown in a locked car. https://t.co/WbrHkQFWZs
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) April 7, 2018
The truth is finally told about arguably the greatest political cover up in US history….
… and Neal Gabler calls it ‘character assassination’
Neal, baby – you’ve had it your way for half a century. Its time the American people get it the right way.
— Tony Camatto (@tonycamatto) April 7, 2018
He left a woman to die. He was a cheat, a liar, and a coward. https://t.co/8WNf8CzOjO
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) April 6, 2018
Neal Gabler’s piece on Chappaquiddick was strikingly bereft of factual challenges for an argument that the movie has the facts wrong. Op-Ed pages are funny things.
— William Dailey, CSC (@wrdcsc) April 7, 2018
That’s an awfully hot take, even for Neal Gabler.
Seriously, Neal, it’s not like Mary Jo was the one who drove drunk into a pond and left him alive for up to two hours, all while worrying about her own image and political career.
— W.K. Westfall (@Captain_Kahuna) April 6, 2018
It’s not a good sign when a New York Times columnist and Kennedy biographer – somebody who claims to pursue the truth relentlessly – get his facts wrong. It’s one thing to have an opinion on historical events. It’s entirely another to rewrite history in the name of a political narrative. If Neal Gabler wants to change his title from Kennedy biographer to Kennedy fanboy, that’s fine. But it would probably be wise to give the New York Times a heads up before writing a misrepresentative hype piece about him.
Follow Jena on Twitter.