New York Times publishes an erroneous letter about the JFK medical evidence by a libelous reporter

Grassy knoll aftermath
A cop runs toward the grassy knoll moments after President Kennedy was shot.

Last month the New York Times published a letter that seriously misstated the JFK medical evidence. Harris Meyer, senior report for Modern Healthcare, called out the Times with a call for a correction. Meyer’s letter contains important information that Dennis Breo, the author of the letter (and the newspaper of record) chose to omit, perhaps because the information calls into question Breo’s reporting on the subject.

Here’s Breo’s letter, “Mysteries, Solved and Unsolved,” in which he claims that he and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) had definitely resolved questions about JFK’s autopsy in 1992

Meyer responds:

What Breo’s letter leaves out is that the accuracy and ethics of Breo’s reporting in JAMA have been credibly called into question by me and others, as you can read in this March 1999 article in the Chicago Reader.

In the original article, Breo wrote that Dr. Charles Crenshaw, a Parkland Hospital physician who wrote a book about the efforts to save JFK’s life, was not present at the JFK resuscitation efforts. In his book, Crenshaw said Kennedy’s wounds indicated he had been hit by gunfire from two directions. Breo described Crenshaw as a “defamer of truth.” In fact, Crenshaw was present at the resuscitation. Breo had made no effort to interview him. Crenshaw sued for libel successfully and won a six-figure settlement from the American Medical Association.

Harris notes that Breo’s letter in the Times fails to mention his own failure of professionalism.

I challenged Breo’s story on the grounds that Breo in his reporting failed to contact Crenshaw, whose competence and honesty were maligned in the article, and the article failed to give the doctor fair treatment. That doctor filed a libel suit against Breo and the AMA, which the AMA settled.

Breo’s letter also fails to mention the most significant new development in JFK medical evidence: the testimony of the late Dr. Robert, McClelland, who observed JFK’s wounds from a distance of less than two feet for more than ten minutes. McClelland said he was fairly certain Kennedy had been hit by a gunshot from the front.

Dr. Gary Aguilar wrote a letter to JAMA that gives more detail about the serious errors in Breo’s reporting that defamed Crenshaw.

Those who scoff at the idea of a shot from the front need to do better than exhume fallacious claims of the past. Breo et al have to explain the testimony of Bill Newman, the behavior of at least 21 law enforcement officers at the scene, the Zapruder film, and Dr. McClelland’s testimony. It is a high evidentiary bar. Breo’s letter doesn’t come close to clearing it.

The Times did not publish Meyer’s letter.

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