The talismanic power that the JFK story holds for senior Washington journalists such as Chris Matthews and Brian Williams is evident in this NBC story that aired on Thursday. These mementos of Kennedy’s life are like the relics of saints, treasured as an expression of faith in an exemplary personality. Yet the very power of this faith seems to forbid mentioning a heretical fact.
The man who collected this material, JFK’s friend Dave Powers, described as “the keeper of the Kennedy flame,” was in the Dallas motorcade on Nov.22 1963. Powers agreed with his friend Ken O’Donnell that he heard gunshots from the so-called grassy knoll in front of the motorcade.
For some (like Williams and Matthews), reverence for JFK virtually rules out reporting such a fact. For others, respect for JFK’s legacy virtually requires it.
Why the difference?