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.


  1. William DuBritz says:

    I have read all the information pertaining to the ER attendings at Parkland and the eye/ear witnesses in Dealey Plaza. The fact remains the fracture patterns shown in JFK’s skull x-rays indicate a shot from the rear. Unless the x-rays were changed, a shot from the front missed it’s mark.

    • Mark Groves says:

      You can’t ignore Zapuda’s film. XRays can easily be misleading. Ask anyone who has used them for long enough knows. You are responding to one piece of evidence that supports your view and ignoring the rest.
      That’s bias. I don’t believe you. Where was George Bush Snr when JFK died? Who was J Edgar Hoover referring to? Too many inconsistencies. The silver bullet! Are you kidding me?? No attempt to have a real expert commission of enquiry. Just a whitewash that continues to this day with letters to NY Times that mislead and are clear propaganda.

  2. Russ Tarby says:

    The New York Times should be ashamed of itself!

  3. Michael McDonald says:

    Don’t be discouraged, “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident,
    nor anything secret that will not become known and come to light.”
    Luke 8:17

    Happy New Year to Jefferson and everyone here.

  4. Michael McDonald says:

    Sorry Mr. DuBritz, not so. You surely don’t fellow threads on this site and
    several others dedicated to President Kennedy’s assassination. If you read as widely as you say,
    you’d be aware of the large number of witnesses at Dealy Plaza (at least 50 persons) who pointed at and ran toward the wooden fence behind the so-called grassy knoll next to the traffic underpass. None of them were interviewed by the Warren Commission. Dr. Crenshaw wrote a book about Kennedy’s wounds in the emergency room. He and other doctors attending the President felt sure he had been shot from the front. Their testimony does not appear in the Warren Report. These are expert witnesses regarding trauma and had seen the President’s wounds immediately. How in the world could the WC fail to inquire about their judgment concerning the President’s wounds? A high velocity rifle shot enters a body with a hole about the size of the diameter of the bullet, it typically exits leaving a large massive wound. Nearly the entire lower right rear of Kennedy’s skull was blown out, that was the exit area. This agrees with numerous witnesses who saw/heard evidence of a shooter
    in front of and somewhat to right side.

  5. Dick Mullaney says:

    JM, can you print or link Meyer’s recent letter / response that you reference.

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