(THE VIDEO REFERRED TO IN THIS PIECE HAS BEEN REMOVED FOR TECHNICAL REASONS)
Last year, Chris Vogner, movie critic for the Dallas Morning News, reminded us how the first broadcast of Abraham Zapruder’s film of JFK’s assassination on ABC TV in March 1975 changed American popular culture.
The beautifully illustrated video that accompanies the piece reminds us why the impact of Geraldo Rivera’s journalism is so hard to acknowledge.
The piece mercifully never shows the Zapruder film itself. (It has been seen so often, it need not be shown again.) Less forgiveably, the video presents a version of the Warren Commission’s theory of the crime as the truth with barely any explanation of why the broadcast of Zapruder’s film so powerfully undermined it. The words “Back and to the left” flit across the screen, but that’s about it. To examine the issue in any more detail would detract from the elegance of the presentation.
And here we see the mechanics of cognitive dissonance as they shape media presentations of the JFK story. When the journalist’s professional imperative for factual certainty collides with the imagery that destroyed certainty, the professional imperative prevails over the evidence itself.