One of the things that I have followed avidly for the last 47 years is the continuing controversy over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
That also means that I have followed the media's obsession with furthering the cover-up of what really happened.
While I have had, a lot of the time, an enormous amount of admiration and respect for the work of Dan Rather and CBS News -- especially Rather's coverage of the Nixon debacle and the George W. Bush military service fabrication -- that respect has always been tempered by his lapdog service to the Powers that Be when it comes to a critical examination of the actual evidence of a conspiracy when it comes to what forever will be known to my generation as The Assassination.
One of my favorite blogs on this topic is the kind-of-oddly-named but chock-full-of-invaluable-information blog, Oswald's Mother, and George Bailey, the blog owner, has a recent post that pulls together the various strains of media complicity in the assassination coverup The Sum of All Things, and the lack of journalistic integrity when it comes to reporting on the assassination.
However, one thing that he regrettably doesn't touch on in his post, and one which I would like to expand on in this post, is the craven behavior of Dan Rather.
Back in the early days, before the Warren Report was issued -- before it was even written, but not before Lee Oswald was convicted of the crime by the FBI, the White House and the Media -- back when Time-Life Inc., owned the Zapruder film and had no reason to suspect that it would EVER become public, and the never-resolved question about the wound to the front of Kennedy's throat -- was it an exit wound, was it an entry wound, and if it was an entry wound, how could a gunman who was above and behind the president shoot him there? -- was still unresolved, Dan Rather, later star of CBS News and then a local stringer and self-important nabob, went public after a viewing of the film and stated that the throat wound was an entry wound because the president had turned around to his far right to wave at someone behind him. He also "reported" that Kennedy's head was "thrown forward" by the fatal head shot.
Okay, fair enough. If it really happened, then Rather was on safe ground with his statements that JFK had first turned around to wave, and then was violently thrown forward.
But wait, before we accept Rather at face value, let's look at all the evidence. And what's better evidence than the actual Zapruder film?
Okay, do you see him turning around nearly 180 degrees during that disturbing sequence? Do you see him violently thrown forward by that fatal head shot? No, me neither.
So does that tar Dan Rather forever in the minds of the American people, the paying consumers of network news, the people that sheepishly eat the media fodder fed to them daily?
You'd think so, but no, in 1966 he's a media superstar, and goes on national television with a CBS "microstudy" of the assassination which, despite its charge to "get to the bottom" of the assassination, comes down solidly on the side of the Warren Report.
Two of the things that have stuck with me all these years are the CBS "News" statements about Lee Oswald (only assholes who consider him guilty call him Lee Harvey Oswald) during the course of this broadcast:
1. Rather reminds viewers -- with that "ominous" tone of voice of his -- that "Lee Harvey Oswald" was awarded the second highest award for rifle marksmanship during his stint in the Marine Corps. That sounds all impressive and shit, until someone who has actually been in the military (your humble correspondent, for example) brings up the point that there only three awards for rifle prowess in the whole military establishment: Marksman, Sharpshooter, and Expert. You could just as easily -- and just as accurately -- claim that Oswald had the second-lowest award...
2. Even Uncle Walter (a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Cronkite">Walter Cronkite, the "most trusted man in America") gets into the act and he has to -- reluctantly, it seemed -- admit that it was nearly impossible, under normal circumstances, to make the infamously-inaccurate Mannlicher-Carcano rifle hit what it was aimed at during the tiny time frame available -- but, he says, "these were not normal circumstances -- Oswald was shooting at a president". Yeah, like that was gonna make a difference on the side of accuracy. Jesus Christ, Walter, a former war correspondent like you oughta fucken know better!
So, will we ever know what happened -- what really happened -- in Dallas on November 22, 1963? At this point I'd have to say that it's extremely unlikely. Even a deathbed confession like that of E. Howard Hunt (your remember him, don't you? CIA Agent, Watergate burglar, Bay of Pigs leader, etc. etc.) get exactly zero traction in the MSM.
Whattaya gonna do? I'm reminded of Jack Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men: "The truth? You can't handle the truth!"
No, apparently not.