NY Times unleashes flood of backlash over 2 words in Chappaquiddick op-ed

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A New York Times opinion piece on the new Chappaquiddick film unleashed a flood of backlash against the writer who called it a “character assassination” of  the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

(Photo by Bill Brett/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The liberal writer and historian, Neal Gabler, wrote in the opinion piece that the film “distorts a tragedy,” referring to the July 1969 car accident involving the Democratic senator.

“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,” Gabler wrote about the film which opened in theaters Friday.

Kennedy waited 10 hours to report to authorities that he had driven off of a bridge in Massachusetts in the 1969 incident. Passenger and Robert Kennedy campaign aide Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in the deadly car crash.

“It has been heavily promoted by conservative media outlets, and reviewers across the political spectrum have praised what they deem its damning but factual approach. Damning it is; factual it is not,” Gabler, who is currently working on a biography of Kennedy, wrote about the film.

Kennedy was “a real man living out a real life,” the columnist wrote, pointing to some scenes in “Chappaquiddick” as crossing from “dramatic interpretation to outright character assassination.”

Running in the Times’ print editions Saturday, the piece and its author were slammed online.

“He left a woman to die,” actor James Woods tweeted. “He was a cheat, a liar, and a coward.”

Conservative commentator John Podhoretz blasted Gabler’s “wretched and unseemly opinions.”

The piece even generated a tweet from a priest in Dublin, Ireland.

The outrage on Twitter continued as many users called Gabler out for his take on the film.

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Frieda Powers

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