While liberal news outlets have ignored the story so far, the conservative Fox News network (and a Fox News station in Bangor, Maine) are respectfully reporting that “Skeptics of JFK assassination official version say they’re barred from 50th anniversary.”
The Washington-based Committee on Political Assassinations (COPA) has held a vigil in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza every year on November 22. This year the City of Dallas says it will deny the group a permit for the vigil and turn the space where JFK was killed over to a civic group that is planning a ceremony that will avoid any mention of the causes of JFK’s death. COPA president John Judge says the city is denying the permit for political reasons.
In an unusually fair and balanced story, Fox reported
“This is content-based denial of free speech in a public park,” Judge wrote on his organization’s website. “Dealey Plaza belongs to history and to the American people, especially on the 50th anniversary.”
Fox identifies Judge and COPA as “skeptics of JFK assassination official version,” a more accurate and less pejorative term than “conspiracy theorists,” which the Wall Street Journal used in its headline on the story last week. Fox noted that COPA does not promote a single theory of JFK’s assassination.
This phrasing, I think, is the result of Fox’s populist worldview, which is inclined to respect the majoritarian view that JFK’s death was work of a political conspiracy. For liberal news editors, the fact that upwards of 70 percent of people believe in a JFK conspiracy is usually seen as a symptom of popular irrationality. For Fox News the popular belief in conspiracy is seen as a commonsensical rebuke of elite liberal news organizations, which generally endorse the official story that one man killed JFK for reasons known only to himself.
This headline is a reminder that the politics of the JFK assassination story do not break down along neat ideological lines.