New Yorker writer on the official JFK story: ‘It beggars belief’

Who says journalists don’t get the JFK story?

Last month, John Cassidy, a staff writer for the New Yorker, broke ranks with his colleagues to explain why he doesn’t  buy the official lone gunman theory of JFK’s death.

from “A Word In Favor of J.F.K. Conspiracy Theories“.

Cassidy acknowledges the surfeit of implausible JFK theories.

“Much of what passes for historical analysis [about JFK's assassination] is reheated gossip or speculation, and it’s driven more by the exigencies of the publishing industry, and other arms of the media-entertainment complex, than by a sincere desire to pin down the truth ….”

“But having said all that, there’s another, more substantive reason why the conspiracy theories survive: the official version of events begs questions; in some aspects, it beggars belief.”

Read the complete article in the New Yorker.

9 comments

  1. Fearfaxer says:

    “Oswald was a withdrawn misanthrope, whose troubled childhood included being diagnosed as a schizoid personality. A leftist activist and one of life’s unhappy searchers, he fits the popular perception of lone nuts, and his training as a marksman in the U.S. Marine Corps suggests he had the wherewithal to shoot accurately. In the days before the assassination, he had been arguing with his wife, which may have pushed him over the edge.”

    There is no basis for any of these claims. I’m very tired of reading this nonsense repeated over and over. Oswald may not have been the most gregarious of people, but he enjoyed mixing with others and chatting them up. He was married, however unhappily, with two little girls that he doted on. He was never diagnosed as a schizoid personality, either as a child or as an adult. His alleged interest in Marxism may have been sincere, but there’s considerable reason to believe it was an act (please note that of the many people he was involved with after returning to the US, not a single one stood on the far left of the political spectrum). He was a lousy shot in the Marines, as everyone who served with him acknowledged. And if his marital problems did send him over the edge, why didn’t he do what other psychos do, and kill family members, co-workers, neighbors, etc.? Why on earth murder a President he apparently liked and respected?

    That, more than anything, is what doesn’t make sense in the Official Story.

    I suspect Cassidy had to include that Lone Nut Buff boilerplate to get his article published.

    • S.R. "Dusty" Rohde says:

      Fearfaxer…your description of Oswald is far more accurate then that normally put out by the MSM. Oswalds leaning toward public speaking, or mixing with the public to hand out “Hands Off Cuba” pamphlets or speaking on radio shows doesn’t fall into the category of introvert/loner. Oswald possessed a certain naivity that made him vulnerable to manipulation.

  2. Jonathan says:

    I dismiss Cassidy’s article as the product of an uninformed writer.

    For example, Cassidy characterizes Oswald as a misanthrope, part of the propaganda we’ve all been fed about Oswald. He had friends and associates and, according to Marina, was a loving father. Post-mortem, of course, most people who knew him distanced themselves from him, including Marina until recent years. Lots of kids have trouble in school, move around, have missing or cold parenta; that’s not an indictment. As an adult, Oswald bounced around, like a puppet being manipulated, but hardly displayed himself as a withdrawn misanthrope. As Cassidy uses the term, withdrawn misanthrope could apply to any introvert.

    As another example, Cassidy unquestioningly accepts the magic bullet theory. Even John J. McCloy had problems with this theory.

    As a third example, Cassidy asserts Oswald’s marksmanship training in the Marines equipped him to make the two shots he allegedly fired into Kennedy. He ignores that Oswald departed the Marines with the lowest rifle score, marksman; and that was with a superior U.S. military rifle, not a beat-up, corroded Carcano with a mis-aligned scope (which could not be traced to Oswald or placed in his hands on 11-22-63).

    But I guess an inch is better than nothing.

  3. George Simmons says:

    I think it is good that someone like Mr Cassidy is asking questions.
    However, he does choose his words very carefully. He still thinks Oswald did the shooting and states, “Frankly, I very much doubt that the Soviets, the Cuban government or the CIA hired Oswald to kill Kennedy”. As Fearfaxer states, maybe he had to approach it this way to get his article published which makes me think of the problems Mr Morley had when he was trying to get his Jane Roman article published.
    Mr Cassidy also states, “and his (LHO) simultaneous links to people active in the anti-castro movement, some of whom have connections to the Mafia”. Now, for me, the biggest revelations in the last 15 years or so have been the revelations that the DRE were CIA assets and heavily sponsored by the CIA leading on to the George Joannides revelations which shows that the CIA were prepared to lie to and mislead the HSCA ( ie committ a crime ) to keep this secret. Mr Cassidy does not really go into this angle of the case.
    Finally, Mr Cassidy states, “Since the 2007 publication of Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History….the respectable view has been that Earl Warren and his colleagues basically got it right”. Now, I dont know what Mr Cassidy means by the “respectable” view. But when people accept an incomplete investigation into the murder of a President, when they allow without question the CIA to illegally withold files related to the assassination, then that is not respectable. For me it is shameful.

    • Fearfaxer says:

      One thing I’ve notice about this article, the one by Adam Gopnik (whom Cassidy keeps praising in terms uncomfortably like a Moscow Trials defendant All-Hailing Comrade Stalin), and one by James Wolcott in Vanity Fair is that the authors seems to have paid no particular attention to the JFK assassination, except perhaps once a decade, every time Posner, Bugliosi, etc. publish one of their Warren Commission Redux volumes. At least Cassidy admits to having common sense skepticism about the Official Verdict.

      Another thing is that the 50th anniversary has seen a tremendous effort by the mainstream media to promote the Warren Report as Holy Writ. We’re back to square one, as far as that goes. But people aren’t buying it. It’s too absurd. And if people ever actually read the thing and then look at the testimony that supposedly supports it, things will get even worse for the Lone Nut Buffs. There is no case against Oswald in what the witnesses have to say. The Report’s conclusions do not logically arise from the testimony. Read the testimony of witnesses as disparate as Nelson Delgado, Michael Paine, and New Orleans police Lt. Martello, and Oswald, supposedly a fanatical Marxist lunatic, seems a perfectly calm, thoughtful person of above-average intelligence eager and able to express his mind and successfully argue his beliefs with other people. Then read the testimony of Howard Brennan, Helen Markham, and Mary Bledsoe, and consider that the Report depends so much on them. Brennan would have been ripped apart on cross-examination. The other two probably wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere hear the witness stand.

      Want to refute the Warren Report? READ THE TESTIMONY OF THE WITNESSES! It’s the Lone Nut Buff’s worst enemy.

  4. Tom says:

    “In this telling, it marks a wrenching transition from a calmer age of trusted verities to our vortex of post-modern angst.” John Cassidy, re: JFK assassination

    Okay sure in some sense this is true. Yet JFK himself seemed to be awake to a world on the brink and one facing “staggering problems” never before faced. There is a sense in which compared to the somnambulance of our contemporary time, the 60′s by comparison were not a calmer age.

  5. Ronnie Wayne says:

    This article to me, while touching on some important points in search for truth about JFK’s death seems to mock the title in many statements.
    “Double Indemnity ???…..post modern angst”. Well the article leaves me feeling a little cynical.
    “doubters of the WC…off their rockers” Those are real favorable words regarding any theory.
    “historical analysis…gossip or speculation…driven by…publishing industry…media entertainment complex,” You mean the mass media that wont touch the subject unless it supports the lone nut theory, or, they are poking fun at the “theories”?
    “It’s not a wholly unreasonable story.” (3 shots/SBT) The Single, Magic, back wound moved up (POTUS Ford), zig zag in the air, rib smashing, wrist breaking, Pristine bullet theory MORE than BEGGARS BELIF.
    “Oswald…withdrawn misanthrope…wherewithal to shoot accurately”.
    One who became fluent in Russian (ahem) on his own, radar operator at the super secret CIA U2 base, and who discreetly planned and carried out the assassination of the POTUS all by himself. As far as shoot accurately… “maggies drawers on 1st attempt to qualify, minimum score on second attempt, then with a loose scope and sticking bolt…..
    “WC interviewed numerous eyewitnesses…shots from the grassy hill”
    See the article on this website about “21 cops who heard shots from the grassy knoll”. The WC ignored many witness statements, intimidated others to change them, altered their statements, some witnesses were beaten, threatened, or died.
    “a Dictabelt worn by a Dallas cop,” ??? Does this statement illustrate the authors overall knowledge of the investigation?
    Does he know the waist size of the officer in question? A 36-38-40″ belt?
    “Robert K Tannenbaum…” Excellent point! (P.S. he was the Deputy chief Counsel for the HSCA and has never lost a Felony case).
    Read “The Last Investigation” by Gaeton Fonzi.
    “Oswald was the lone shooter” A word in favor of conspiracy theories?
    “Anthony Summers…CIA files pertaining to Oswald remain classified. If Oswald was a leftist loner who killed the President, and if that was all there was to it, why continue to conceal documents?” BRAVO! FREE THE FILES!!!
    “Ruby…he certainly wasn’t a member of the Mafia”. This is so frustrating. It is so well documented. No, not a “made” member, just like the Jewish Meyer Lansky. But the Mob never found a more willing suck up wanna be that would do Anything for them. Including paying off Dallas official and cops.
    “Oswald killed the President: we know that beyond a reasonable doubt>” Blakey”. Dallas Police chief Jesse Curry “Nobody’s yet been able to put him in the building (TSBD) with a gun in his hand”.
    (HSCA) “ruled out some of the usual suspects…the CIA”. No the did not. They did not investigate the CIA. Blakey reached an arrangement with them, per The Last Investigation.
    “Reclaiming History”
    http://ctka.net/bug_letters.html
    http://jfkaccountability.typepad.com/reclaiming_history/
    “Come 2017 another set of official documents will be released”
    I guess the author does not realize they can be pushed back further at that point.
    Do I hear a Mocking Bird?
    Please, FREE THE FILES NOW.

  6. roadrider says:

    Yawn. Another regurgitation of limited hangouts that ignore the actual evidence and postulate theories of a plot more fantastic than any of those the author looks down on. So the Mafia or anti-Castro Cubans hired a withdrawn, mentally disturbed misanthrope as a hit man to take down the POTUS? And the FBI couldn’t figure out the case or decided to cover it up because they’re favorably inclined towards those groups or scared of them?

    Someone should ask Cassidy how the Mob or the Cuban exiles arranged to have Kennedy’s body removed from the crime scene so an autopsy controlled by the highest military authorities in the nation could be performed. Ask him how the Mob or the exiles arranged to have the limousine scrubbed of evidence and refurnished before a real investigation could be performed or how the Mob or the exiles arranged to have the White House Situation Room announce Oswald’s guilt to the plane carrying the Cabinet officials before he had even been charged by the DPD?

    Don’t bother asking Cassidy how Oswald did the shooting if the nitrate test on his cheek was negative or if the rifle he allegedly used could not even be tested by government experts until it was repaired (and even then the alleged shooting could not be duplicated) because obviously he gets his information from Bugliosi’s completely discredited bible of disinformation (which he characterizes as a “massive take down” of conspiracy theories). Don’t bother asking him how the rifle photographed by the DPD in the TSBD is not the same as the one in the National Archives or the one depicted in the Warren Commission Report (http://worldwatchers.info/admin/jfk_lafreepress_opt.pdf – scroll down to the article entitled The Enchanted Rifle) because any exculpatory evidence must be ignored as per the Warren Commission because we’re afraid of where it will lead.

    Cassidy is just another example of the cowardly, incurious stance of 99.999% of all journalists in this case. They will drone on for countless hours about the Duck Dynasty controversy but anything that threatens the power structure is off limits and doesn’t deserve the same scrutiny they would give to the latest celebrity scandal. Their nothing better than courtiers to the PTB which grants them the all-important access to insiders who use them to spread disinformation and I’m not even including the acknowledged paid CIA assets like Max Holland in this assessment. I appreciate your efforts Mr. Morley but your colleagues are, by and large, a truly disgusting lot whom I distrust more than the worst used-car salesman. No wonder its been left to independent researchers to make the most progress in this case. You’re way too kind to Cassidy even if he is grudgingly acknowledging that the official story doesn’t add up.

  7. Colleen McGuire says:

    He’s got what Lisa Pease calls “the ABC Syndrome,” Anyone But the CIA. Who amongst the accused detractors (the Mob, right wing Cubans, LBJ, etc.) has the power, money and wherewithal to continue the media’s Lone Gunman propaganda machine. None of them. The inteligence working for the 1% of the 1% have the capacity and infinite tentacles to pull that off

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