Can you believe the reaction of the press over the hunting accident Vice President Cheney was involved in? The media are outraged that they weren’t called immediately after Mr. Harry Whittington was accidentally peppered with bird shot. One reporter asked White House Spokesman Scott McClellan if Mr. Cheney was going to resign because of the shooting. Another wanted to know if the “accident was a crime.” I wonder why the Democrats, so far, are not calling for a full-scale investigation of the vice president since the accident’s been described as the “shot heard ’round the world” by the international press. There are even accusations of a possible cover-up. Surely the Democrats see an opportunity here to get rid of Cheney. Or do they?
In case you’ve forgotten or you’ve never heard the story, Mary Jo Kopechne was a “friend” of Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy at the time of his automobile accident in July 1969. Coming back from a cook-out for campaign workers on Chappaquiddick Island, Kennedy was accompanied by Kopechne, one of the “Boiler Room Girls,” who had worked for Robert Kennedy on his campaign before his assassination in 1968. Things went terribly wrong as they crossed a narrow bridge close to midnight. The car left the bridge and plunged into the deep pond and immediately filled with water. Kennedy got out. Mary Jo drowned.
It wasn’t until the next morning that Kennedy reported the accident. Kennedy, to use his words, “made an effort to call a family legal advisor” before he “belatedly reported the accident to the Martha’s Vineyard police.”1 If this had been anyone else, anyone but a Kennedy, he would have been forced to resign from the Senate. Officials who handled the investigation of the accident should have to release the investigative report on that fateful day in July of 1969 so we can finally learn what happened. Why did Sen. Kennedy wait so long before he reported the accident? We know what he said, but this is a new day in politics. Where’s the media on this one? In addition, we need to know if he or anyone associated with him paid off the Kopechne family. This would include an investigation into whether Kennedy and his lawyers, during the time he claimed he was in a state of shock and “a jumble of emotions,” transferred any of his assets into a Trust to avoid a possible civil lawsuit.
At the time of the accident, Kennedy was driving with an expired driver’s license. This would have been enough to prove negligence and bring a criminal charge against him. But the charge was never made. Somehow the expired license “problem” had been “fixed” by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Some might say that it’s too late to reopen the investigation and try Kennedy for negligent homicide. Tell that to Michael Skakel. Skakel, related to the Kennedy clan, is serving 20 years to life for the murder of Martha Moxley. The murder took place in 1975. Skakel was convicted in 2003. What about the statute of limitations? Skakel’s lawyers claimed that the statute of limitations ran out in 1980. The court disagreed.
The Cheney shooting accident caused some discomfort for Mr. Whittington. We’re thankful his injuries were not more serious. Unlike Mary Jo, he’s still alive. The latest huffing and puffing by the media is only more evidence that the press has lost its objectivity . . . and sanity.
 Kennedy’s speech to the nation about Chappaquiddick on July 25, 1969 can be read and heard at www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/tedkennedychappaquiddick.htm