Malcolm Gladwell is not alone in endorsing a dumb JFK conspiracy theory.
The just-announced Reelz Channel JFK documentary, which peddles the long-since debunked conspiracy that a Secret Service man shot President Kennedy, is getting credulous attention from factually challenged news sites around the world.
Even the usually reliable Associated Press managed to report the bogus speculation without consulting with a single historian, journalist or former investigator of JFK’s assassination, any number of whom could have pointed out that there is NO photographic, eyewitness, or forensic evidence to support the fiction that a Secret Service agent named George Hickey Jr., now deceased, shot JFK.
But now Reelz Channel’s lie about the late and blameless Mr. Hickey has traveled around the world before the truth could get its boots on.
The Daily Mail in England, one of the world’s most popular websites, ran the story with a triple decker heavy breathing subhead. The Boston Globe and Christian Science Monitor, both of which should know better, picked it up. So did the New Zealand Herald.
Glenn Beck reported the story, calling it “controversial.” If the claim that the earth is flat is “controversial,” Beck has a point.
Debbie Lord of AL.com, a blogger for a news site of a number of Alabama newspapers, says the film makes a “startling claim.” No, Debbie. The claim at the heart of “JFK: The Smoking Gun” was startling when it was first made in a book, “Mortal Error,” 20 years ago. After the book’s thesis was definitively debunked, this JFK conspiracy theory is more accurately described as “discredited.”
Amanda Crum of WebProNews says this preposterous theory is “one of the most intriguing” JFK conspiracy theories to surface this year. Wrong, Amanda: It is is moldy and ridiculous. Ask any historian who has written about the subject.
Mark Zaid, a well-known national security litigator, successfully sued the promulgator of this fantasy on Hickey’s behalf when it first surfaced in the 1990s.
Zaid also sued St. Martin’s Press, which published the book, and Simon & Schuster, which released an audiobook version. “Settlements were reached in each case and the publisher apologized,” Zaid wrote on Facebook this week.
“I wish George Hickey, Jr. was still alive,” he went on. “I would have filed a lawsuit against this theorist and film company, as well as any media entity that gave his story any play.”
“I have been involved in research and issues involving the JFK assassination for almost 40 years, since I was seven years old. I have represented numerous JFK authors/researches, given numerous speeches and media appearances, and helped secure the declassification of thousands of records. This is one of the most BS theories that has ever been promoted and anyone who believes it is a complete moron (and I never use that word on a public message board so that should tell you something).”
For those who have any doubts, please consult the successful libel lawsuit against the original perpetrators of the hoax.