Ignorance goes viral: Discredited JFK hoax spreads around the world

Malcolm Gladwell is not alone in endorsing a dumb JFK conspiracy theory.

The just-announced Reelz Channel JFK documentary, which peddles the long-since debunked conspiracy that a Secret Service man shot President Kennedy, is getting credulous attention from factually challenged news sites around the world.

Even the usually reliable Associated Press managed to report the bogus speculation without consulting with a single historian, journalist or former investigator of JFK’s assassination, any number of whom could have pointed out that there is NO photographic, eyewitness, or forensic evidence to support the fiction that a Secret Service agent named George Hickey Jr., now deceased, shot JFK.


But now Reelz Channel’s lie about the late and blameless Mr. Hickey has traveled around the world before the truth could get its boots on.

The Daily Mail in England, one of the world’s most popular websites, ran the story with a triple decker heavy breathing subhead. The Boston Globe and Christian Science Monitor, both of which should know better, picked it up. So did the New Zealand Herald.

Glenn Beck reported the story, calling it “controversial.” If the claim that the earth is flat is “controversial,” Beck has a point.

Debbie Lord of AL.com, a blogger for a news site of a number of Alabama newspapers, says the film makes a “startling claim.” No, Debbie. The claim at the heart of “JFK: The Smoking Gun” was startling when it was first made in a book, “Mortal Error,” 20 years ago. After the book’s thesis was definitively debunked, this JFK conspiracy theory is more accurately described as “discredited.”

Amanda Crum of WebProNews says this preposterous theory is “one of the most intriguing” JFK conspiracy theories to surface this year. Wrong, Amanda: It is is moldy and ridiculous. Ask any historian who has written about the subject.

Mark Zaid, a well-known national security litigator, successfully sued the promulgator of this fantasy on Hickey’s behalf when it first surfaced in the 1990s.

Zaid also sued St. Martin’s Press, which published the book, and Simon & Schuster, which released an audiobook version. “Settlements were reached in each case and the publisher apologized,” Zaid wrote on Facebook this week.

“I wish George Hickey, Jr. was still alive,” he went on. “I would have filed a lawsuit against this theorist and film company, as well as any media entity that gave his story any play.”

Zaid adds:

“I have been involved in research and issues involving the JFK assassination for almost 40 years, since I was seven years old. I have represented numerous JFK authors/researches, given numerous speeches and media appearances, and helped secure the declassification of thousands of records. This is one of the most BS theories that has ever been promoted and anyone who believes it is a complete moron (and I never use that word on a public message board so that should tell you something).”

For those who have any doubts, please consult the successful libel lawsuit against the original perpetrators of the hoax.






  1. Avinash says:

    Quite disgusting to see this disinfo get spread around by the media. Can’t journalists do some research?

    • Jeff Pascal says:

      I saw this nonsense in my local paper which hasn’t had any Assassination related articles in years.Not only is this getting massive coverage here and in Europe, but also there has been a troubling component that bothers me in how the JFK Assassination is handled in that the media can be objective and biased at the same time- for example this fall there are bound to be some big revelations with several major books to come out and the upcoming articles may be considered journalistically fair, however one can’t in good faith equate a shot from the grassy knoll which has a lot of evidence going for it, with this as equal theories.

  2. John Kirsch says:

    As a former journalist, I would say the answer to your question is “yes.” But I don’t know what a journalist is anymore. Maybe Snowden is, inadvertently, the most important journalist of our time. He is, I think, the most important truth-teller of our time and truth is what journalism is supposed to be about. At least that’s what the professors told me in journalism school.

  3. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Operation Paperclip in action.

  4. Andy Young says:

    I think it a case of getting people talking nonsense, deflecting minds from more fruitful questions.

    Question – why are the media covering this? might they be taking paynent for running it? Are all journalists lazy, and just reprinting a story?

    Possible answer – the media is not a true media.

    Maybe as the 22 nov approaches the 3 midgets will appear again!!1

    The media have continually and consistently ignored evidence and critics for 50 years, there is something wrong, very wrong.

  5. Nathaniel Heidenheimer says:

    NEGATIVE TEMPLATE: If it’s sewage theory the media will print it guaranteed. Look at what is best sourced, has the best references but they NEVER print: CIA. Negative Template, just like a photo negative. See Why JFK and the Unspeakable has never been reviewed> it unambiguously points to the CIA for the Coup of 1963.

  6. Nathaniel Heidenheimer says:

    “It is so important to understand that one of the primary means of immobilizing the American people politically today is to hold them in a state of confusion in which anything can be believed but nothing can be known, nothing of significance that is.

    And the American people are more than willing to be held in this state because to KNOW the truth–as opposed to only BELIEVE the truth– is to face an awful terror and to be no longer able to evade responsibility.”

    — Dr.E. Martin Schotz, History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian Control, Public Denial, & the Murder of President Kennedy

  7. Paul Arrighi says:

    I have seen all the documentaries re grassy knoll etc over the years and the new ‘JFK: The Smoking Gun’ is the only explanation of the three shots that appears plausible and based on fact. You say it is discredited – how?

    • Frankie Vegas says:

      You might want to do more research than just watching documentaries. In order to buy into the smoking gun/mortal error theory you first have to agree that the single bullet theory is correct. That alone has been discredited over the last 50 years. The original theory on this, Mortal Error as you can read above, was proven a sham in court.Hence the settlement to Agent Hickey.
      Here is a good link to check out on why The Smoking Gun is actually just a polished turd.

  8. Charles Vergados says:

    May watch the reelz show ,but i’ve discounted the theory for 20 years. I was a member of the Cambridge based AIB,founded by Bob Katz and the late Carl Ogelsby and have followed the case since the day it happened. I’ve discussed it with Carl,Paul Hoch, Bill Drenas and Gus Russo over the years. Still believe in conspiracy,but so many villains to choosefrom. JFK had accumulated many enemies, and I would say that most of his enemies ,domestic or foreign,were our enemies-inimical to the interests of the people of the United States.

  9. The problem with the media nowadays is that they spread news about this and that even though a large part of it is not true or it was fabricated just for the buzz and attention. We live in the age where everything that we see online or on the news should be verified because news outlets, for most of the time, are just making fools out of us.

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