The spirit of Dallas: Let’s plant an ‘uplifting’ message near the spot where JFK was killed.
The city of fathers of Dallas plan to plant a memorial plaque to President John F. Kennedy near the spot where he was shot dead 50 years ago, reports the Dallas Morning News.
This foolhardly but revealing proposal captures Dallas civic culture at is most clueless. Whatever its intentions, the idea of an “uplifting” plaque in the place where John F. Kennedy — a man, a husband, a father, a veteran of war, a visionary liberal, and a leader — died in a hail of bullets is not only in supremely bad taste. It also probably violates of National Park Service regulations requiring that the area be preserved as it appeared 50 years ago.
The South Tampa Tribune rebukes the Associated Press for its recent story on the JFK anniversary. An editorialist for the newspaper Web site noted that the reporter gave credence the “buffoon theorized that Kennedy’s limo driver shot him, as part of an effort to cover up proof of an alien invasion.”
“Shame on the AP for trafficking in such drivel and thus trivializing those who don’t support a lone-assassin theory,” said the Tampa news site. “It was awful timing for bad editing.”
Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil who were both in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
“Why did I run up the grassy knoll? Because cops ran up there,” veteran journalist Robert MacNeil told an audience of approximately 500 people at the Newseum in Washington DC Tuesday night.
MacNeil was alluding to his actions in Dallas on November 22, 1963, when he was the White House reporter for NBC. He was joined at the Newseum by his longtime partner Jim Lehrer — they co-anchored The MacNeil/Lehrer Report for two decades — as part of the Newseum’s retrospective on the JFK assassination on its 50th anniversary.
In reponse to a poignant HuffPo piece, Jean Davison says the late Paul Mandel of Life magazine was wrong, but not necessarily lying, when he mistated some facts about JFK’s assassination. Read more
Peter Mandel, author of children’s books, has a sad piece in the Huffington Post about how happy memories of his father who died when he was eight have been clouded by JFK conspiracy theorists. One can only sympathize. The sins of the father should never be visited upon the son.
Mandel’s father, Paul Mandel, was a Life magazine staff reporter who wrote an erroneous story about Abraham Zapruder’s film of JFK’s assassination in 1963. Some unprofessional writers jumped his mistake and published stupid, unsubstantiated claims about him and even stupider claims about his death from cancer in 1965. Megan Knuth usefully picks apart this rubbish at John McAdams’ JFK Web site.
David Mamet, provocateur
The cinema of assassination continues to flourish.
Variety reports that Cate Blanchett will star in feature film about the assassination of JFK called “Blackbird,” directed by David Mamet. The film joins Tom Hanks’ “Parkland” and Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Legacy of Secrecy” as coming big-screen interpretations of the tragedy in Dallas 50 years ago.
Based on the description in Variety, “Blackbird” sounds like “Argo” meets Oliver Stone:
Dealey Plaza is not just the place where President Kennedy was killed 50 years ago. It is also the site of an ongoing struggle over the meaning of the First Amendment in 2013. And nobody has covered the story better than Dallas Observer blogger Jim Schutze.
In his latest dispatch he asks, “Who Died and Made the Sixth Floor Museum the King of Dealey Plaza?
Billy Sol Estes, cover boy for complex crimes
Billy Sol Estes, the infamous Texan con man who made multiple visits to prison after his complex web of mortgage fraud and agriculture swindles came to light in the early 1960s, died May 14, in Granbury, Texas, at age 88. (As if on cue, Mother Nature unleashed a tornado on Granbury the very next day, killing six people.)
Among Estes’ legacies: the allegation that Lyndon Johnson orchestrated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
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Roger Stone, right-wing conspiracy theorist
Roger Stone, a Republican political operative famed for his hardball tactics, is publishing a book arguing that Lyndon Johnson organized the assassination of President Kennedy. And he claims he has evidence to prove it. We’ve heard that line before, so I’m skeptical.
The most interesting disclosure Stone has made so far concern his conversations with former President Richard Nixon. As the Daily Beast reported:
“According to Stone, Nixon “never flatly said who was responsible [for Kennedy’s death]. But he would say, ‘Both Johnson and I wanted to be president, but the only difference was I wouldn’t kill for it.”
“STATION WOULD APPRECIATE EFFORT TO DELETE PHOTO FROM PUBLICATION.”
— Mexico City CIA Station, Sept. 25, 1964, asking that CIA HQ attempt to convince the Warren Commission not to publish the photograph of the Mexico City “mystery man.”
The Obama administration has declassified 175 batches of long-secret government records, the National Declassification Center announced last week, a milestone in a government-wide push to make public 404 million documents that have been deemed unnecessarily classified.
Yet the NDC effort will not make public a handful of long-suppressed CIA records related to the assassination of President Kennedy. Why not?
“Mr. Marcus, sometimes we get caught up in things that are bigger than we are.”
Where did the truth go?
According to the Associated Press, a lucrative conspiracy theory industry is keeping alive a non-existent controversy about the assassination of President Kennedy.
“Best-selling books and blockbuster movies have raked in massive profits since 1963. And now, with the 50th anniversary of that horrible day in Dallas looming, a new generation is set to cash in,” writes reporter Allen Breed in a story republished online by the New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere.
This is the reassuring point of view that holds there’s nothing to worry about in the JFK story. Confronted with continuing public doubt, Breed does not assess the latest facts or interview the best informed experts about their implications. He presents his opinion — the minority view — as fact and casts aspersions on those who disagree without much discussion of the facts of the case.
This is the kind of un-journalism that too often issues from major news organizations frustrated by the intractable and contradictory evidence in the JFK assassination story.
Another sign of how deeply the assassination of President Kennedy is etched into the American imagination is a new opera, “Requiem” that debuted on Friday in Baltimore.