As another anniversary approaches of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963, the average TV viewer is bound to be bombarded with historical revision of the assassination. But the public has largely not been fooled, as past polls suggest.
The cover-up began before the president’s body had hardly cooled.
Death Before Trial
Lee Harvey Oswald, the self-described “patsy,” a former Marine and supposed Russian defector, was already in custody, but would not survive long enough to be brought to trial. Oswald would be shot while in police custody by local nightclub owner and police/mafia associate Jack Ruby, on live television. Ruby himself would die in Dallas before he could tell his whole story, claiming he’d been injected with cancer cells. Ruby was set to be given a second trial for Oswald’s murder, and had repeatedly begged the Warren Commission to bring him to Washington D.C. and given protection. Ruby told psychiatrist Werner Teuter that the assassination was “an act of overthrowing the government.”
The Official Cover-Up
Eager to convince the American public that there was no conspiracy or coup afoot, the newly crowned President Johnson would establish the infamous Warren Commission to “investigate,” his predecessor’s murder, though critics point out its bizarre “magic bullet theory” to explain multiple wounds in the president and Texas Governor John Connally, the omission of key evidence, lack of relevant witnesses, and suspicious tampering of evidence and the selective questioning of witnesses. Adding to the suspicious nature of the Commission was the inclusion of former CIA director Allen Dulles, who’d been fired by the late president, and future president Gerald Ford and future senator Arlen Specter. At the funeral of Ford, fellow former president George H. W. Bush proclaimed the validity of the government investigation. For students of the assassination, the Warren Commission is thoroughly discredited, even by members of the Commission itself.
Dissent and Death
Oddly enough, Warren Commission member and congressman Hale Boggs became one of the Commission’s harshest critics, being one of three dissenters from the “magic bullet theory,” posed by then-staffer Arlen Specter. Boggs was aboard a twin-engine Cessna which “disappeared,” over Alaska in 1972.
Others on the Commission who refused to believe the absurd “single bullet theory” were senators Richard Russell and Sherman Cooper.
The Media Cover-Up
Each year, some in media persist in the theory that Oswald shot the president to “get attention,” although Oswald himself denied shooting anyone, telling reporters he was “just a patsy.”
After comedian Mort Sahl appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and asked the audience if they’d like to see New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who’d launched a probe of the assassination, as a guest on The Tonight Show so they could hear his side of the story, they replied enthusiastically, and NBC was compelled to have Garrison on. Carson’s hostile treatment of Garrison, and his refusal to allow Garrison to show evidentiary photographs on TV, aroused greater suspicion by the public, and prompted an apology by NBC to its viewers. Garrison and Carson’s unfriendly exchange can be found here: