JFK & the Anti-Conspiracy Conspiracy

The official investigation of JFK’s murder left many loose ends in a rush to dispel suspicions of a conspiracy, but the major U.S. news media has been even more negligent over the past half century in denouncing anyone who dares pull on those loose ends, JP Sottile writes.

By JP Sottile

Every day, people are charged with criminal conspiracy in courtrooms around the country. In those cases, a “conspiracy” merely describes a criminal act involving two or more individuals. Also every day, the establishment media reports on various criminal conspiracies — including racketeering, insider trading, political corruption, sex scandals and murder plots.

Murder plots are their favorite, particularly when a husband or wife or crazed lover hires an assassin to knock off a troublesome or inconvenient spouse for personal gain. The details and facts of those conspiracies attract a great deal of attention from journalists and news personalities who pore over police blotters, always looking for a good hook to a shocking story with “legs” and, therefore, a long life with lots of details and great ratings.

A frame from the Zapruder film capturing the first shot that struck President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.

A frame from the Zapruder film capturing the first shot that struck President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.

Yet, over the last 50 years, the simple, descriptive word “conspiracy” has taken on a double life. On one hand, a feverish “true crime” obsession has spread around the news business, turning newsmagazine shows into banal police procedurals, and transforming entire cable broadcasts into tabloid mimics fixated upon mysteries, cover-ups and conspiracies.

The media literally spent years on the case of Chandra Levy and never stopped asking “Who killed JonBenét Ramsey?” They’ve obsessed on Amanda Knox’s convoluted story and eagerly entertained various theories about the death of Princess Diana. And they even jumped headfirst into the feeding frenzy around the murder of J.R. Ewing!

On the other hand, when faced with the crime of the 20th Century — the murder of President John F. Kennedy — those selfsame establishment mediacrats have relentlessly and effectively mutated the term “conspiracy” into a dismissive, all-purpose epithet: the “conspiracy theory.”

Instead of handling JFK’s murder like a criminal case, they’ve treated it like an urban legend. Rather than examining eyewitness accounts or reporting on the facts and notable names associated with the murder, they’ve become a pool of official stenographers. They simply ignore conspiracy facts and make offhanded remarks about conspiracy theories.

Take note that it is always the plural: “theories.” It colors every critique or suspicion of the official story with the taint of alien autopsies, Bigfoot sightings and faked moon landings. Even worse, they’ve established a blockade around experts and researchers and best-selling authors who have — over the last 50 years — uncovered reams of new information and documents relating to the case.

No, the establishment media prefers to consult with news personalities and pulp-trade historians who opine about the “myth” and “legend” and psychological “meaning” of JFK’s life and death. This is an interesting, self-serving distraction. It avoids tough questions, replacing them with predictable intonations on the tragic fall of Camelot, with epic paeans to JFK’s charisma and Jackie’s panache, and with somber reflections on a nation’s shock and awe.

And it is all punctuated with the perennial question of “What if?” “What if Jack had lived?” Alas, it is no replacement for the far more relevant question of “How did Jack die?”

Ironically, the establishment media incessantly theorizes about “what ifs” and groans about conspiracy theories while the people they accuse in absentia of being “theorists” dutifully, often heroically, gather and share conspiracy facts.

Tune into CBS or NBC or ABC or anywhere around the dial, and you do not see James DiEugenio or David Talbot or James Douglass. Instead you get Chris Matthews and Rob Lowe and, most disappointingly of all, Ken Burns. They speak like people who haven’t read. They embrace a theory they haven’t questioned. And they explain away “the people” who believe in conspiracy theories with callow psychobabble.

In spite of all their talk, they literally say nothing. There is no mention of the House Select Committee on Assassination’s determination that JFK was likely killed by a conspiracy or the invaluable book by Committee investigator Gaeton Fonzi. There is no mention of the information uncovered by the Assassination Records Review Board or that it was established because Oliver Stone did what many “journalists” and “mainline historians” refused to do. And, perhaps most significantly, completely absent is Jim Garrison’s prosecutorial dismantling of the Warren Commission.

It is as if none of it happened.

Just imagine if the blood, hair and brain tissue splattered and still preserved on Jackie’s pink dress elicited the same scrutiny and attention as did that tiresome little semen stain left on Monica’s blue dress. Perhaps then the New York Times would ask why, if Oswald shot JFK from the rear with a non-exploding bullet, the woman sitting to the left of him was so thoroughly sprayed by the fatal shot.

Alas, after leading with “Let them see what they’ve done” — Mrs. Kennedy’s famous response to the suggestion that she clean up prior to LBJ’s hasty inauguration — the Times’ story blathers on about fashion, archival ethics and, of course, “the rifle used by Lee Harvey Oswald.” The reporter never mentions, if only to dispute it, that it has been shown repeatedly that neither the rifle nor the bullet could have created those “iconic” stains in the first place.

America heard often about Bill Clinton’s crooked member. But it is strictly verboten to mention the Mannlicher-Carcano’s notoriously skewed gun-sight. Instead, the murder is treated like a moment frozen in time and consecrated by some preternatural force beyond the power of mortal men.

On ”Face the Nation,” a recalcitrant and almost fanatical Bob Schieffer pronounces that Kennedy was killed by a “madman.” On “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Rob Lowe compares criticism of the Warren Commission with Charlie Sheen’s belief that the moon is hollow. And the New York Times’ Executive Editor Jill Abramson takes over the Sunday Book Review to declare JFK’s life and death to be “elusive” without mentioning a single book detailing the facts that are, of course, elusive to those who choose to ignore them.

In this case, the use of the word “elusive” is a stark example of psychological projection. As David Talbot points out, it is exactly what the establishment media have been over the last 50 years. They’re elusive about their bungled reporting on a sloppy criminal conspiracy of epic proportions.

It is a failure that has metastasized over the five decades since, with those entrenched behind the privileged walls of network news, major newspapers and sanitized pulp-history continually doubling-down on a discredited theory that has them perpetually out of step with the majority of Americans who, not coincidentally, also distrust them.

Perhaps it is forgivable that many reporters and editors didn’t ask questions when faced with the rapid-fire public executions of a sitting president and his accused killer. The Cold War was hot. The Cuban Missile Crisis was fresh in the minds of many. Everything seemed dangerous and tenuous. It’s even reasonable to sympathize with Chief Justice Earl Warren, who LBJ forced — practically against his will — into an untenable situation.

But that was then. And this is now. Now there is no excuse for what journalist Jefferson Morley calls “JFK denialism,” or for the establishment’s growing track record of repeated “failures” just like it, with the lead-up to the Iraq War standing out in a crowded field of errors and supposed ignorance.

Perhaps the anniversary of JFK’s death is also the anniversary of a birth — of the establishment media’s ultimate cover-story for ignorance and complicity. By dismissing “conspiracy theories” it is instantly possible to elude conspiracy facts. Ultimately, the real conspiracy may be the criminal contempt our media elites have for open inquiry and how it allows others to get away with murder.

JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, radio co-host, documentary filmmaker and former broadcast news producer in Washington, D.C. His weekly show, Inside the Headlines w/ The Newsvandal, co-hosted by James Moore, airs every Friday on KRUU-FM in Fairfield, Iowa and is available online. He blogs at Newsvandal.com.

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13 comments on “JFK & the Anti-Conspiracy Conspiracy

  1. bobmaginnis on said:

    Thanks JP, I notice the same dismissive attitude about JFK shooting, while the MSM is spending the most attention on the crack smoking Canadian mayor.

  2. Tom O'Neill on said:

    Thank goodness for Consortiumnews and this excellent piece! Shortly before I saw it, I was watching CBS News with Scott Pelley. On this, the day before the 50th anniversary of the public murder of JFK, Scott referred several times to “Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of Kennedy.” As one who has read James Douglass’s careful history of the way the CIA and and the FBI were handling Oswald long before November 22, 1963, I knew immediately that Scott spoke in disregard of files still extent on Oswald in the archives of the CIA and the FBI. This disregard is quite possibly willful. Willful or not, it works greatly to the discredit of Scott Pelley, his colleague Bob Schieffer, and CBS News. While the files leave open questions of all kinds about Oswald, no one acquainted with them could easily let the phrase “Oswald, the assassin of Kennedy” trip from their tongue as Pelley and Schieffer do. Either they haven’t done their homework on this, or they have, and have thought it best to lie. Either way, I’m grateful to JP and Consortiumnews for calling the likes off them on this misreporting of the news.

  3. F. G. Sanford on said:

    Try the whole story with George Carlin’s accent: “How’s dis fer a conspiracy theery, haaah?”

    Dis guy George shows up in New York, in like, 1938, see? He’s a petroleum geologist wid a Ph.D. and he’s a Nazi sympathizer. But he’s Russian, and he hates da Commies. But his brudder turns out to be a U.S. intelligence type, a guy dat works fer OSS, Radio Liberty and later da CIA. Dimitri is his name. Idn’t dat nice? Dimitri?

    Next ting ya know, dis guy is friends wit da Bouvier family. You know, Jackie Kennedy’s family? Turns out dis guy even bounces little Jackie on his knee when she’s just a kid, not even a gleam in da Jackster’s eye yet. But den, he has to leave Long Island and travel all around da world to strange places for years and years. But he never has a real job, see? All dis travel money just, you know, appears outta nowhere.

    Den, dis chicken-neck loser dat speaks Russian and works on radar fer da U-2 project about da time Gary Powers gets shot down in Russia decides to defect…to RUSSIA! How ’bout dat, haaah? Did I mention da guy is a Marine? Da Russians give him a job in a radio factory, he meets a nice girl, dey get married, and waddya know – out of a clear blue sky, dey come back to America, no questions asked!

    When dis chicken-neck loser is looking fer a job, his wife stays at da Paine’s house – rich people from an important family, and da guy is a physicist wid a security clearance at a defense plant and his wife speaks Russian! And den George shows up! While George was traveling around, he met George. George H.W. Bush. Different George, but dey become great friends and exchange letters. Phone numbers, too. Dat’s important, ya know. Probably just struck up a friendship. Havin’ da same name and all, ya know? George is friends wit da chicken-neck, too. Dat’s REAL important.

    So den, da first George skips town, and da chicken-neck loser shoots da Jackster. At least, dat’s what dey say. So den, dis guy dat used to work for Trickie Dick Nixon shoots da chicken-neck loser, even dough dey used to hang out together. How’s dat fer friendship, haaah? Ting of da past, ain’t it?

    Den a few years later, Svetlana Stalin – you know, Uncle Joe Stalin’s daughter, defects to the United States. Guess who she stays with? Da Paine family! Small world, ain’t it? But all these suspicious bastards seem to think dat George was hiding something, and dey want him to testify. So, like two hours before he has to testify, he blows his brains out wid a shotgun. Nuttin like waiting’ till da last minute, haaah? Move on, folks, nuttin suspicious here. Just a coincidence. Just a fukkin’ coincidence.

    Even George Carlin knew where to draw the line.

  4. Vesuvius on said:

    There are two important studies of the assassination of JFK, uncovering the plot:
    1. “Conspiracy. Who killed President Kennedy?”, by Anthony Summers, 1980.
    2. “The Mafia killed President Kennedy”, by David E. Scheim, 1988.
    Having established the Mafia’s role, there are two more studies giving extra insight to the plot:
    3. “Double Cross”, by Samuel M. Giancana and Chuck Giancana, 2010 (originally published in1991).
    4. “JFK and Sam”, by Antoinette Giancana, John R. Hughes and Thomas H. Jobe, 2005.

    These studies also explain the successful cover-up, which is still holding the ground. All questions are still being brushed away under the silly mantra of “Conspiracy industry”.

    The truth of this tragic assassination will never be revealed to the public by authorities in charge. Only private investigations, like the studies mentioned above, will tell the truth. However, anyone interested can read for him/herself, in awe.

    • F. G. Sanford on said:

      Ever hear of “poisoning the well”? This is a naive attempt at doing exactly that. In order to believe Sam Giancana or any of his mafia thugs could have masterminded any of this, you would also have to explain how they managed to manipulate and tamp down the Warren Commission’s most active member, ex-CIA Director Allen Dulles and two of his closest Agency aides, James Jesus Angleton and Richard Helms, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, FBI Director Hoover, the State Department, the FBI and the CIA, Naval intelligence and the autopsy doctors at Bethesda. You would have to presume that the assassinations of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, General Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic and the overthrow of President Salvador Allende of Chile could not have been accomplished without the assistance of a bunch of low-life hoods from Chicago, Miami and New Orleans. Fat chance. You would also have to assume that they continue to be the force preventing the disclosure of information mandated for release by the JFK Records Act of 1992, in contravention of United States Public Law.
      Pretty childish, if I say so myself. Somebody once said, “I prefer to believe the Warren Commission did a poor job rather than a dishonest one”. The accumulated evidence to date demolishes any such wishful thinking. Jim Garrison got it right, and to date, his is the only narrative that has been immune to subversion. Unless you believe fairytales about heavy breathing knuckle-draggers calling the shots while the boys from Harvard, Yale, Wall Street and Langley suck up and do as they’re told.

  5. Hillary on said:

    The Elephant in the room exposed by Michael Collins Piper in his book “Final Judgment”
    ….
    The missing link and the convincing motive in the JFK assassination conspiracy..
    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Assassinations_page/Israel%27s_Central_Role_FJ.html

    • Vesuvius on said:

      Hillary, Thank you, ever so much!

    • Yes, I have that book by Mr Piper.
      Funny thing, when ever there is a murder investigation, the first thing the cops ask is; “Did he have any enemies”?
      JFK had big problems with Ben Gurion and Israel, because he did not want Israel to get nukes.

  6. “Well”, to quote Raygun, they owe their soul to the Bush Company store. And to paraphrase “deep throat”, Follow The POPPY!

  7. Frances in California on said:

    I totally bailed on Lamestream Media JFK Assassination programming. KPFK had excellent programming all day – Oliver Stone, Russ Baker, Waldron. None of it came as a surprise, really.

  8. JFK’s Vision of Peace by RFK, Jr.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/john-f-kennedys-vision-of-peace-20131120

    Bobby’s son puts the cat among the pigeons. Take that, lying media shills.

    I just copied and pasted this into a document and subscribed to Rolling Stone in appreciation for them providing a forum for this article.

  9. jfiddle on said:

    KPFK also had an interesting interview with Peter Janney who wrote “Mary’s Mosaic”. Mary Pinchot Meyer was reputedly JFK’s last lover. She was mysteriously murdered (still unsolved) in Washington DC just three weeks after the release of the Warren Report. Was this because she was going to blow the whistle? Fascinating historical reporting, with a few leaps of faith.

  10. The assassination of JFK remains a taboo subject for serious public discussion and introspection because the American people are still largely in denial about why JFK was murdered and the profound implications about who really wields power in this country. George Orwell’s novel 1984 could not be more accurate in terms of the systemic corruption of our corporate-owned news media and its place in our society and its incestuous relationship to the national security state.

    The assassination was a coup d’etat and military take-over by the national security state / military-industrial complex. For if Oswald was deluded with notions of grandeur and to make a name for himself, as many Warren Commission Report supporters claim, he should have proudly proclaimed himself to be the assassin rather than publicly denying it, saying instead that he was a “patsy” and requesting public assistance in obtaining legal counsel.

    People have difficulty accepting the awful truth staring them in the face: that our president (nominally, the “commander-in-chief”) was brazenly murdered in a military-style ambush worthy of a banana republic, with shots being fired from multiple directions by a highly trained sniper team.

    The well-known story by Hans Christian Andersen, The Emporer’s New Clothes, is very analogous to the situation. Many Americans do not want to overturn the flattering self-image we have of ourselves as morally and intellectually superior to all others on the planet. We do not want to face the reality that the people who rule over us are just as corrupt as any other country’s. The American empire has been exposed for what it truly is: a monstrously violent, destructive, and dishonest system that must be overthrown and replaced with something far more just to all of the world’s peoples.