Fact check: ABC’s Marquardt fumbles JFK facts

ABC News correspondent Alexander Marquardt made two factual mistakes in his Good Morning America report today on Robert Kennedy Jr.’s remarks that his father believed “rogue CIA agents” may have been involved in uncle’s assassination. (h/t Curt Cultice)

ABC News correspondent Alex Marquardt

ABC’s Alex Marquardt fumbles JFK facts

Marquardt stated, “Now for the first time ever we’re learning that JFK’s own brother and Attorney General RFK was quote ‘fairly convinced’ that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone.”

That is not accurate. RFK’s views had been reported twice previously by credible sources.

In his 2007 book “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years,” David Talbot, founding editor of Salon.com, reported in detail on RFK’s belief that his brother had been ambushed in Dallas. As Talbot wrote on the first page of the book, a New York Times best-seller, published by Simon & Schuster

Robert Kennedy did not resign himself to the lone gunman theory, the official version of his brother’s death. On the contrary he immediately suspected that President Kennedy was the victim of a powerful conspiracy. And he spent he rest of his life secret searching for the truth about his brother’s murder.

Talbot backed up that assertion with interviews In 1999, presidential historian Timothy Naftali wrote in his book One Hell of a Gamble, (co-authored with Russian historia Alexsandr Furskenko) that RFK and former First Lady Jackie Kennedy sent a message to the leadership of the Soviet Union in late November 1963 saying that they believed JFK was the victim of a domestic conspiracy. Naftali is the director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California.

ABC News then erred by quoting historian Robert Dallek about the JFK assassination controversy without context. On camera the UCLA historian said that the assassination has been “investigated, re-investigated, investigated again and again and no one’s ever come up with highly credible evidence” to contradict the theory that Oswald acted alone.

In fact, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded in 1979 Kennedy was “probably” killed by a conspiracy whose perpetrators could not be identified. Dallke disagrees with the HSCA’s findings but for ABC to report on the various investigations of the JFK case without mentioning the results of a two-year congressional investigation was a mistake. In his 2007 book, The Road to Dallas, published by Harvard University Press, diplomatic historian David Kaiser concluded that the HSCA’s conclusion was correct.

As the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination approaches, ABC needs to get up to speed on the facts of the case.


  1. Len Kurtz says:

    That is what you get when the mainstream media is corporate.

  2. Brian LeCloux says:

    The Warren Commission came up with piles of evidence of conspiracy. It’s in their 26 volumes of published material as well as their unpublished files:
    Shots coming from more than one direction, Dr. Joseph Dolce telling Specter his single bullet theory was false and then ballistics experiments for the Commission supporting Dolce, Oswald not being on the 6th floor of the TSBD at the time of the shooting (see Barry Ernst’s excellent volume on this) and much, much more.
    As Weisberg always maintained, the official story wasn’t true and those who issued it knew it wasn’t true.

  3. greg parker says:

    Not to deter you from trying, but if you’re going to keep the media honest in its reportage during the 50th year, you’re probably going to need to clone yourself about 100 times over.

    Regarding the HSCA final report – I was just reading a very astute observation at the Ed Forum.

    Their was the use of qualifying language in reporting the likelihood of Soviet, Cuban, LCN, or Cuban exile involement.

    But when it came to the CIA, FBI and Secret Service… all qualifying language disappears and it reads like a simple statement of fact that none of those agencies were involved.

    I think that is quite telling.

    • “But when it came to the CIA, FBI and Secret Service… all qualifying language disappears and it reads like a simple statement of fact that none of those agencies were involved.”

      And I don’t think the possible role of LBJ was ever even commented on by the HSCA and the reason for that is the most damaging stuff on LBJ did not come out until the 1980’s with the revelations of Madeleine Brown, Billie Sol Estes, Barr McClellan, later Charles Crenshaw, then Hoover’s memo on the KGB was made public in 1997, then in the 2000’s books by Barr McClellan, Billie Sol Estes and the 2007 revelations of E. Howard Hunt were made public.

      Yes, the HSCA’s silence on all those *governmental* suspects is quite telling.

  4. Robert Dallek’s view on the JFK assassination is just tragic for such a prominent historian. It is like being the chairman of the “Flat Earth Society” in the time of Galileo Galilei.

    Robert Kennedy immediately suspected a conspiracy in the JFK assassination and one of the first things he did on 11/22/63 was call CIA head John McCone and ask did our people murder JFK? RFK was very aware of the kind of rage that CIA operatives and many anti-Castro Cubans held towards JFK. So did Evelyn Lincoln and she mentioned CIA rage over Bay of Pigs fiasco in one of her top 7 suspects in the JFK assassination. #1 at the top of her list was Lyndon Johnson. (CIA and LBJ are not mutually exclusive suspects.)


    Arthur Schlesinger: “We tried to perpetuate the myth by convincing ourselves that we were good and that LBJ was evil. I remember one time Bobby telling me he was convinced that Lyndon was behind his brother’s death. ‘Come on Bob. Get real.’ I said. His other theory had it that Richard Nixon and Howard Hughes were somehow involved. He hated them both. ‘Nixon’s a true slimebucket,’ he said. ‘And I should have investigated Hughes years ago.'” [C. David Heymann, “RFK,” p. 365]

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