History is rewritten by the survivors

ted kennedyWith the death of Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy, I predict we are going to see the best and the worst of the mainstream media, and we’re seeing the new-media powerhouse Wikipedia get tested as well.

There is little doubt the mainstream cable TV news channels will show their own bias in what they report and how they report the death of one of the last kings of Washington politics. It would be interesting to track how many times Fox News tries to bring up the name Mary Jo Kopechne, the young woman who died in 1969 after Kennedy crashed his car off a bridge in what’s now referred to as “The Chappaquiddick Incident” on Wikipedia. It also would be interesting to track how many times CNN and MSNBC go out of their way to avoid the subject or interview people trying to move everyone past one of the darkest chapters in Kennedy’s life.

Editing of the Wikipedia entry on Kopechne has been “disabled due to vandalism.” Wikipedia defines vandalism as “any addition, removal, or change of content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia. Common types of vandalism are the addition of obscenities or crude humor, page blanking, and the insertion of nonsense into articles.” I can only imagine what the Internet bottom feeders have been up to lately on the page as we all learned Kennedy’s battle with brain cancer was soon coming to an end.

Mary_Jo_KopechneThe number of edits to the Kopechne page are both well above average for the past month and the past year. The same is true of the edits for Kennedy’s page, which also is locked due to vandalism. Certainly the increase in edits is because Kennedy has been in the news more lately and we all knew it wasn’t going to be long before we’d hear the reports of his death.

The rash of edits has me thinking though, about a quote attributed to Winston Churchill: “History is written by the victors.” In this age of Wikipedia and biased news reporting reaching ridiculous levels, Churchill’s quote is rather poignant. If Churchill were alive today, however, I think his quote would have been, “History is written by the victors, and rewritten by the survivors.”