How CBS News Aided the JFK Cover-up

Special Report: With the Warren Report on JFK’s assassination under attack in the mid-1960s, there was a chance to correct the errors and reassess the findings, but CBS News intervened to silence the critics, reports James DiEugenio.

By James DiEugenio

In the mid-1960s, amid growing skepticism about the Warren Commission’s lone-gunman findings on John F. Kennedy’s assassination, there was a struggle inside CBS News about whether to allow the critics a fair public hearing at the then-dominant news network. Some CBS producers pushed for a debate between believers and doubters and one even submitted a proposal to put the Warren Report “on trial,” according to internal CBS documents.

But CBS executives, who were staunch supporters of the Warren findings and had personal ties to some commission members, spiked those plans and instead insisted on presenting a defense of the lone-gunman theory while dismissing doubts as baseless conspiracy theories, the documents show.john-f-kennedy-35

Though it may be hard to remember – amid today’s proliferation of cable channels and Internet sites – CBS, along with NBC and ABC, wielded powerful control over what the American people got to see, hear and take seriously in the 1960s. By slapping down any criticism of the Warren Commission, CBS executives effectively prevented the case surrounding the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy from ever receiving the full airing that it deserved.

Beyond that historical significance, the internal documents – compiled by onetime CBS News assistant producer Roger Feinman – show how a major mainstream news organization green-lights one approach to presenting sensitive national security news while blocking another. The documents also shed light on how senior news executives, who have bought into one interpretation of the facts, are highly resistant to revisit the evidence.

Buying In

CBS News jumped onboard the blue-ribbon Warren Commission’s findings as soon as they were released on Sept. 27, 1964, just over 10 months after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963. In a special report, CBS and its anchor Walter Cronkite preempted regular programming and, with the assistance of reporter Dan Rather, devoted two commercial-free hours to endorsing the main tenets of that report.

However, despite Cronkite and Rather giving the Warren Report their public embrace, other people, who were not in the employ of the mainstream media, examined critically the report and the accompanying 26 volumes. Some of these citizens were lawyers and others were professors, the likes of Vincent Salandria and Richard Popkin. They came to the conclusion that CBS had been less than rigorous in its examination.

By 1967, the analyses challenging the Warren Report’s conclusions had become widespread, including popular books by Edward Epstein, Mark Lane, Sylvia Meagher and Josiah Thompson. Thompson’s book, Six Seconds in Dallas, was excerpted and placed on the cover of the wide-circulation magazine Saturday Evening Post. Lane was appearing on talk shows. Prosecutor Jim Garrison had announced a reopening of the JFK case in New Orleans. The dam was threatening to break.

The doubts about the Warren Report had even spread into the ranks at CBS News, where correspondent Daniel Schorr and Washington Bureau chief Bill Small recommended a fair and critical look at the report’s methodology and findings. Top prime-time producer Les Midgley later joined the effort.

CBS News vice president Gordon Manning sent the proposal on to CBS News president Richard Salant in August 1966, but it was declined. Manning tried again in October, suggesting an open debate between the critics of the Warren Report and former Commission counsels, moderated by a law school dean or the president of the American Bar Association. The idea was to give the two sides a chance to make their best points before the viewing public.

Zapruder Evidence

One month after Manning’s debate proposal, Life Magazine published a front-page story in which the Warren Commission’s verdict was questioned by photographic evidence from the Zapruder film (which the magazine owned). Life also interviewed Texas Gov. John Connally who disagreed that he and Kennedy had been hit by the same shot, a claim that undercut the “single bullet theory” at the heart of the Warren Report.

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. Texas Gov. John Connally, who was also wounded, is seated in front of Kennedy..

Without the assertion that a single bullet inflicted multiple wounds on Kennedy and Connally, who was riding in front of the President, the commission’s verdict collapses. The magazine story ended with a call to reopen the case. Indeed, Life had put together a small journalistic team to do its own internal investigation.

A few days after this issue appeared, Manning again pressed for a CBS special. This time he suggested the title “The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald,” with a panel of law school deans reviewing the evidence against Oswald in a mock trial, including evidence that the Warren Commission had not included. In other words, there would be a chance for American “jurors” to weigh the evidence that might have been presented against Oswald if he had lived and to make a judgment on his guilt. Again, this approach offered the potential for a reasonably balanced examination of the Kennedy assassination.

At this point, Manning was joined by producer Midgley, who had produced the two-hour 1964 CBS special. Midgley’s suggestion differed from Manning’s in that he wanted to title the show “The Warren Report on Trial.” Midgley suggested a three-night, three-hour series with one night given over to the commission defenders, one night including all the witnesses that the commission overlooked or discounted, and the last night including a verdict produced by legal experts. But the title itself suggested a level of skepticism that had not been part of the earlier proposals.

The Higher-ups Intervene

However, then CBS senior executives began to intervene. On Dec. 1, 1966, Salant wrote a memo to John Schneider, president of CBS Broadcast Group, telling him that he might refer the proposal to the CBS News Executive Committee (CNEC). According to information that a former CBS assistant producer Roger Feinman obtained during a legal hearing against CBS, plus secondary sources, CNEC was a secretive group that was created in the wake of Edward R. Murrow’s departure from CBS.

Murrow was a true investigative reporter who became famous through his reports on Sen. Joe McCarthy’s abuses and the mistreatment of migrant farm workers. The upper management at CBS did not like the controversies that these reports generated among influential segments of the American power structure. There was a perceived need to tamp down on such wide-ranging and independent-minded investigations. After all, the CBS executives were part of that power structure.

CBS News president Salant epitomized that blurring of high-level corporate journalism and America’s ruling class. Salant had gone to Exeter Academy, Harvard, and then Harvard Law School. He was handpicked from the network’s Manhattan legal firm by CBS President Frank Stanton to join his management team.

CBS News president Richard Salant

CBS News president Richard Salant

During World War II, Stanton had worked in the Office of War Information, the psychological warfare branch. In the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower had appointed Stanton to a small committee to organize how the United States would survive a nuclear attack. From 1961-67, Stanton was chairman of Rand Corporation, a CIA-associated think tank.

The other two members of CNEC were Sig Mickelson, who had preceded Salant as CBS News president and then became a director of Time-Life Broadcasting, and CBS founder Bill Paley, who had also served in the World War II psy-war  branch of the Office of War Information and – after the war – let CIA Director Allen Dulles have the spy agency informally debrief CBS overseas correspondents.

When Salant turned the Warren Commission issue over to CNEC, the prospects for any objective or skeptical treatment of the JFK case faded. “The establishment of CNEC effectively curtailed the news division’s independence,” Feinman later wrote about his discoveries.

Further, Salant had no journalistic experience and was in almost daily communication with Stanton, whose background was in government propaganda.

Scaling Back

The day after Salant informed CNEC about the proposed JFK assassination special, Salant told CBS News vice president Manning that he was wavering on the mock trial concept. Salant’s next move was even more ominous. He sent both Manning and prime-time news producer Midgley to California to talk to two lawyers about the project.

One of the attorneys was Edwin Huddleson, a partner in the San Francisco firm of Cooley, Godward, Castro and Huddleson. Huddleson attended Harvard Law with Salant and, like Stanton, was on the board of the Rand Corporation. The other lawyer was Bayless Manning, Dean of Stanford Law School. They told the CBS representatives that they were against the network undertaking the project on the grounds of “the national interest” and because of the topic’s “political implications.”

CBS News vice president Manning reported that both attorneys advised the CBS team to ignore the critics of the Warren Commission or to appoint a special panel to critique their books, in other words, to put the critics on trial. Huddleson also steered the CBS team to cooperative scientists who would counter the critics.

On his return to CBS headquarters, Manning saw the writing on the wall. He knew what his CBS superiors really wanted and it wasn’t some no-holds-barred examination of the Warren Commission’s flaws. So, he suggested a new title for the series, “In Defense of the Warren Report,” and wrote that CBS should dismiss “the inane, irresponsible, and hare-brained challenges of Mark Lane and others of that stripe.”

Out on a Limb

Manning’s defection from an open-minded treatment of the evidence to a one-sided Warren Commission defense left producer Midgley out on a limb. However, unaware of what Salant was up to, on Dec. 14, 1966, Midgley circulated a memo about how he planned on approaching the Warren Report project. He proposed running experiments that were more scientific than “the ridiculous ones run by the FBI.” He still wanted a mock trial to show how the operation of the Commission was “almost incredibly inadequate.”

In response, Salant circulated an anonymous, undated, paragraph-by-paragraph rebuttal to Midgley’s plan, which Feinman’s later investigation determined was written by Warren Commissioner John McCloy, then Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and the father of Ellen McCloy, Salant’s administrative assistant.

John J. McCloy, one of the Warren Commission members.

John J. McCloy, one of the Warren Commission members.

In this memo, McCloy wrote that “the chief evidence that Oswald acted alone and shot alone is not to be found in the ballistics and pathology of the assassination, but in the fact of his loner life.” As many Warren Commission critics have noted, it was this approach – discounting or ignoring the medical and ballistics evidence, but concentrating on Oswald’s alleged social life – that was a fatal flaw of the Warren Report.

Despite the familial conflict of interest, Ellen McCloy was added to the distribution list for almost all memos related to the Kennedy assassination project and thus could serve as a secret back-channel between CBS and her father.

A Stonewall Defense

Clearly, the original idea for a fresh examination of the Warren Commission and the evidence that had arisen since its report was published in 1964 had been turned on its head. The CBS brass wanted a defense, not a critique.

Salant asked producer Midgley, “Is the question whether Oswald was a CIA or FBI informant really so substantial that we have to deal with it?” Midgley, increasingly alone out on the limb, replied, “Yes, we must treat it.”

As the initial plan for a forthright examination of the Warren Commission’s shortcomings was transformed into a stonewall defense of the official findings, there was still the problem of Midgley, the last holdout. But eventually his head was turned, too.

While the four-night special was in production, Midgley became engaged to Betty Furness, a former actress-turned-television-commercial pitchwoman whom President Lyndon Johnson appointed as his special assistant for consumer affairs, even though her only experience in the field had been selling Westinghouse appliances for 11 years on television. She was sworn in on April 27, 1967, which was about two months before the CBS production aired. Two weeks after it was broadcast, Midgley and Furness were married.

As Kai Bird’s biography of McCloy, The Chairman, makes clear, Johnson and McCloy were friends and colleagues. But there is another point about how Midgley was convinced to go along with McCloy’s view of the Warren Commission. Around the same time he married Furness, he received a significant promotion, elevated to executive editor of the network’s flagship news program, “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.” This made him, in essence, the top news editor at CBS, a decision that required the consultation and approval of Salant, Cronkite and Stanton – and very likely the CNEC.

So, instead of a serious investigation into the murder of President Kennedy – at a time when there was the possibility of effective national action to get at the truth – CBS News delivered a stalwart defense of the Warren Commission’s conclusions and heaped ridicule on anyone who dared question those findings.

Shaping that approach was not only the influence of Warren Commission member John McCloy, an icon of the Establishment, but the carrots and sticks applied to senior CBS producers, such as Gordon Manning and Les Midgley, who initially favored a more skeptical approach but were convinced to abandon that goal.

Curious Consultants

Once McCloy was brought onboard, the complexion of CBS’s treatment of the JFK assassination changed. CBS hired consultants who were rabidly pro-Warren Report to appear as on-air experts while others would be hidden in the shadows. In addition to the clandestine role of McCloy, some of these consultants included Dallas police officer Gerald Hill, physicist Luis Alvarez and reporter Lawrence Schiller.

Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

Officer Hill was just about everywhere in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. He was at the Texas School Book Depository where Oswald worked and allegedly shot the President from the sixth floor; Hill was at the murder scene of Officer J. D Tippit, who was allegedly shot by Oswald after he fled Dealey Plaza; and he was at the Texas Theater where Oswald was arrested.

Hill appeared in the CBS 1967 program show as a speaker. But Roger Feinman found out that Hill also was paid for six weeks work on the show as a consultant. During his consulting, Hill revealed that the police did a “fast frisk” on Oswald while in the theater. They found nothing in his pockets at the time, which begs the question of where the bullets the police said they found in his pockets later at the station came from. That question did not arise during the program since CBS never revealed the contradiction. (Click here and go to page 20 of the transcript.)

Physicist Luis Alvarez, who had a served as an adviser to the CIA and to the U.S. military in the Vietnam War, spent a considerable amount of time lending his name to articles supporting the Warren Report and conducting questionable experiments supporting its findings. As demonstrated by authors Josiah Thompson (in 2013) and Gary Aguilar (in 2014), Alvarez misrepresented some data in some of his JFK experiments. (Click here and go to the 37:00 mark for Aguilar’s presentation.)

Making Fun

The same year of the 1967 CBS broadcast, reporter Lawrence Schiller had co-written a book entitled The Scavengers and Critics of the Warren Report, a picaresque journey through America where Schiller interviewed some of the prominent – and not so prominent – critics of the report and caricatured them hideously.

Secretly, he had been an informant for the FBI for many years keeping an eye on people like Mark Lane and Jim Garrison, whom Schiller attacked despite discovering witnesses who attested to Garrison’s suspect Clay Shaw using the alias Clay Bertrand, a key point in Garrison’s case. The relevant documents were not declassified until the Assassination Records and Reviews Board was set up in the 1990s. [See Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition, by James DiEugenio, p. 388]

This cast of consultants – along with McCloy – influenced the direction of the 1967 CBS Special Report. The last thing these consultants wanted to do was to expose the faulty methodology that the Warren Commission had employed.

Longtime CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite.

Longtime CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite.

As in 1964, Walter Cronkite manned the anchor desk and Dan Rather was the main field reporter. Again, CBS could find no serious problems with the Warren Report.  The critics were misguided, CBS said. After all, Cronkite and Rather had done a seven-month inquiry.

‘Unimpeachable Credentials’ 

In the broadcast, Cronkite names the men on the Warren Commission as their pictures appear on screen. He calls them “men of unimpeachable credentials” but left out the fact that President Kennedy fired Commissioner Allen Dulles from the CIA in 1961 for lying to him about the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

When Cronkite got to the crux of the program, he said the Warren Commission assured the American people that they would get the most searching investigation in history. Then, Cronkite showed books and articles critical of the commission and mentioned that polls showed that a majority of Americans had lost faith in the Warren Report.

At that point, the network special revealed its purpose, to discredit the critics and reassure the public that these people could not be trusted.

Cronkite went through a list of points that the critics had raised, including key issues such as how many shots were fired and how quickly they could be discharged from the suspect rifle. On each point, Cronkite took the Warren Commission’s side, saying Oswald fired three shots from the sixth floor with the rifle attributed to him by the Warren Commission. Two of three were direct hits – to Kennedy’s head and shoulder area – within six seconds.

One way that CBS fortified the case for just three shots was Alvarez’s examination of the Zapruder film, Abraham Zapruder’s 26-second film of Kennedy’s assassination taken from Zapruder’s position in Dealey Plaza, a sequence that CBS did not actually show.

Alvarez proclaimed that by doing something called a “jiggle analysis,” he computed that there were three shots fired during the film. What the jiggle amounted to was a blurring of frames on the film (presumably because Zapruder would have flinched at the sound of gunshots).

Dan Rather took this Alvarez idea to Charles Wyckoff, a professional photo analyst in Massachusetts. Agreeing with Alvarez, at least on camera, Wyckoff mapped out the three areas of “jiggles.” The Alvarez/Wyckoff formula was simple: three jiggles, three shots.

But as Feinman found out through his legal discovery and hearings, there was a big problem with this declaration. Wyckoff had actually discovered four jiggles, not three. Therefore, by the Alvarez formula, there was a second gunman and thus a conspiracy.

President John F. Kennedy's motorcade enters Dealey Plaza in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, shortly before his assassination. (Zapruder film)

President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade enters Dealey Plaza in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, shortly before his assassination. (Zapruder film)

Wyckoff’s on-camera discussion of this was cut out and not included in the official transcript. But it is interesting to note just how committed Wyckoff was to the CBS agenda, for he tried to explain the fourth jiggle as Zapruder’s reaction to a siren. As Feinman noted, how Wyckoff could determine this from a silent 8 mm film is puzzling. But the point is, this analysis did not support the commission. It undermined the Warren Report and was left on the cutting-room floor.

There were other problems with the Alverez-Wyckoff “jiggle” theory, since the first jiggle was at around Zapruder frame 190, or a few frames previous to that, which would have meant that Oswald would have had to be firing through the branches of an oak tree, which is why the Warren Commission moved this shot up to frame 210.

But CBS left itself an out, claiming  there was an opening in the tree branches at frame 186 and Oswald could have fired at that point. But that is patently ridiculous, since the opening at frame 186 lasted for 1/18th of a second. To say that Oswald anticipated a less than split-second opening, and then steeled himself in a flash to align the target, aim, and fire is all stuff from the realm of comic books super heroes. Yet, in its blind obeisance to the Warren Report, this is what CBS had reduced itself to.

Another way that CBS tried to bolster the Warren Report was to have Wyckoff purchase other Bell and Howell movie cameras (since CBS was not allowed to handle the actual Zapruder camera.) After winding up these cameras, CBS hypothesized that Zapruder’s camera might have been running a little slow, giving Oswald a longer firing sequence.

The problem with this theory, however, was that both the FBI and Bell and Howell had tested the speed of Zapruder’s actual camera. Even Dick Salant commented that this was “logically inconclusive and unpersuasive,” but it stayed in the program.

The Shot Sequence

But why did Rather and Wyckoff have to stoop this low? The answer is because of the results of their rifle firing tests. As the critics of the Warren Report had pointed out, the commission had used two tests to see if Oswald could have gotten off three shots in the allotted 5.6 seconds indicated by the Zapruder film.

These tests ended up as failing to prove Oswald could have performed this feat of marksmanship. What made it worse is that the commission had used very proficient rifleman to try and duplicate what the commission said Oswald had done. [See Sylvia Meagher, Accessories After the Fact, p. 108]

So CBS tried again. This time they set up a track with a sled on it to simulate the back of Kennedy’s head. They then elevated a firing point to simulate the sixth floor “sniper’s nest,” though there were differences from Dealey Plaza including the oak tree and a rise in the street in the real crime scene. Nevertheless, the CBS experimenters released the target on its sled and had a marksman named Ed Crossman fire his three shots.

Crossman had a considerable reputation in the field, but – even though he was given a week to practice with a version of the Mannlicher Carcano rifle – his results were not up to snuff. According to a report by producer Midgley, Crossman never broke 6.25 seconds (longer than Oswald’s purported 5.6 seconds) and – even with an enlarged target – he got only two of three hits in about 50 percent of his attempts.

Crossman explained that the rifle had a sticky bolt action and a faulty viewing scope. But what the professional sniper did not know is that the actual rifle in evidence was even harder to work. Crossman said that to perform such a feat on the first time out would require a lot of luck.

The Mannlicher-Carcano rifle allegedly used to murder President John F. Kennedy.

The Mannlicher-Carcano rifle allegedly used to murder President John F. Kennedy.

However, since that evidence did not fit the show’s agenda, it was discarded, both the test and the comments. To resolve that problem, CBS called in 11 professional marksmen who first went to an indoor firing range and practiced to their heart’s content, though the Warren Commission could find no evidence that Oswald practiced.

The 11 men then took 37 runs at duplicating what Oswald was supposed to have done. There were three instances where two out of three hits were recorded in 5.6 seconds. The best time was achieved by Howard Donahue on his third attempt after his first two attempts were complete failures.

But CBS claimed that the average recorded time was 5.6 seconds, without including the 17 attempts that were thrown out because of mechanical failure. CBS also didn’t tell the public the surviving average was 1.2 hits out of three with an enlarged target.

The truly striking characteristic of these trials was the amount of instances where the shooter could not get any result at all. More often than not, once the clip was loaded, the bolt action jammed. The sniper had to realign the target and fire again. According to the Warren Report, that could not have happened with Oswald.

There is also the anomaly of James Tague, who was struck by one bullet that the Warren Commission said had ricocheted off the curb of a different street, about 260 feet away from the limousine. But how could Oswald have missed by that much if he was so accurate on his other two shots? That was another discrepancy deleted by the CBS editors.

The Autopsy Disputes

CBS also obscured what was said by the two chief medical witnesses after the assassination by Dr. Malcolm Perry from Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where Kennedy was taken after he was hit, and James Humes, the chief pathologist at the autopsy examination at Bethesda Medical Center that evening.

In their research for the series, CBS had discovered a transcript of Dr. Perry’s press conference that the Warren Commission did not have. But CBS camouflaged what Perry said on Nov. 22, 1963, specifically about Kennedy’s anterior neck wound. Perry said it had the appearance to him of being an entrance wound, and he said this three times.

Cronkite tried to characterize the conference as Perry being rushed out to the press and badgered. But that wasn’t true, since the press conference was about two hours after Perry had done a tracheotomy over the front neck wound. The performance of that incision had given Perry the closest and most deliberate look at that wound.

Perry therefore had the time to recover from the pressure of the operation and there was no badgering of Perry. Newsmen were simply asking him questions about the wounds he saw. Perry had the opportunity to answer the questions on his own terms. Again, CBS seemed intent on concealing evidence of a possible second assassin — because Oswald could not have fired at Kennedy from the front.

Commander James Humes, the pathologist, did not want to appear on the program, but was pressured by Attorney General Ramsey Clark, possibly with McCloy’s assistance. As Feinman discovered, the preliminary talks with Humes were done through a friend of his at the church he attended.

There were two things that Humes said in these early discussions that were bracing. First, he said that he recalled an x-ray of the President, which showed a malleable probe connecting the rear back wound with the front neck wound. Second, he said that he had orders not to do a complete autopsy. He would not reveal who gave him these orders, except to say that it was not Robert Kennedy. [Charles Crenshaw, Trauma Room One, p. 182]

The significance of the malleable probe is that, if Humes was correct, the front and back wounds would have come from the same bullet. However, we learned almost 30 years later from the Assassination Records Review Board that other witnesses also saw a malleable probe go through Kennedy’s back, but said the probe did not go through the body since the wounds did not connect. However, x-rays that might confirm the presence of the probe are missing. [DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, pgs. 116-18]

Location of the Wounds

On camera, Humes also said the posterior body wound was at the base of the neck. Dan Rather then showed Humes the drawings made of the wound in the back as depicted by medical illustrator Harold Rydberg for the Warren Commission, also depicting the wound as being in the neck, which Humes agreed with on camera. He added that they had reviewed the photos and referred to measurements and this all indicated the wound was in the neck.

Even for CBS — and Warren Commissioner John McCloy — this must have been surprising since the autopsy photos do not reveal the wound to be at the base of the neck but clearly in the back. (Click here and scroll down.) CBS should have sent its own independent expert to the archive because Humes clearly had a vested interest in seeing his autopsy report bolstered, especially since it was under attack by more than one critic.

Autopsy photo of President John F. Kennedy.

Autopsy photo of President John F. Kennedy.

The second point that makes Humes’s interview curious is his comments on the Rydberg drawings’ accuracy. These do not coincide with what Rydberg said later, not understanding why he was chosen to make these drawings for the Warren Commission since he was only 22 and had been drawing for only one year. There were many other veteran illustrators in the area the Warren Commission could have called upon, but Rydberg came to believe that it was his inexperience that caused the commission to pick him.

When Humes and Dr. Thornton Boswell appeared before him, they had nothing with them: no photos, no x-rays, no official measurements, speaking only from memory, nearly four months after the autopsy, Rydberg said. [DiEugenio, Reclaiming Parkland, pgs. 119-22] The Rydberg drawings have become infamous for not corresponding to the pictures, measurements, or the Zapruder film.

For Humes to endorse these on national television – and for CBS to allow this without any fact-checking – shows what a case of false journalism the special had become.

Limiting Access

CBS also knew that Humes said he had been limited in what he was allowed to do in the Kennedy autopsy, a potentially big scoop if CBS had followed it. Instead, the public had to wait another two years for the story to surface at Garrison’s trial of Clay Shaw when autopsy doctor Pierre Finck took the stand in Shaw’s defense. Finck said the same thing: that Dr. Humes was limited in his autopsy practice on Kennedy. [ibid, p. 115]

The difference was that this disclosure would have had much more exposure, impact and vibrancy if CBS had broken it in 1967 rather than having the fact come up during Garrison’s prosecution, in part, because the press corps’ hostility toward Garrison distorted the trial coverage.

So, in the summer of 1967, CBS again had come to the defense of the official story with a four-hour, four-night extravaganza that again endorsed the findings of the Warren Commission.

At the time of broadcast, it was the most expensive documentary CBS ever produced. It concluded: Acting alone, Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy. Acting alone, Jack Ruby killed Oswald. And Oswald and Ruby did not know each other. All the controversy was Much Ado about Nothing.

Unwinding the Back Story

In 1967, the clandestine relationship between CBS News President Salant and Warren Commissioner McCloy was known to very few people. In fact, as assistant producer Roger Feinman later deduced, it was likely known only to the very small circle in the memo distribution chain. That Salant deliberately wished to keep it hidden is indicated by the fact that he allowed McCloy to write these early memos anonymously.

As Feinman concluded, McCloy’s influence over the program was almost certainly a violation of the network’s own guidelines, which prohibit conflicts of interest in the news production, probably another reason Salant kept McCloy’s connection hidden.

In the 1970s, after Feinman was fired over a later dispute regarding another example of CBS News’ highhanded handling of the JFK assassination – and then obtained internal documents as part of a legal hearing on his dismissal – he briefly thought of publicizing the whole affair (which he eventually decided against doing).

But Feinman wrote to Warren Commissioner McCloy in March 1977 about the ex-commissioner’s clandestine role in the four-night special a decade earlier. McCloy declined to be interviewed on the subject, but added that he did not recall any contribution he made to the special.

But Feinman persisted. On April 4, 1977, he wrote McCloy again. This time he revealed that he had written evidence that McCloy had participated extensively in the production of the four-night series. Very quickly, McCloy got in contact with Salant and wrote that he did not recall any such back-channel relationship.

In turn, Salant contacted Midgley and told the producer to check his files to see if there was any evidence that would reveal a CBS secret collaboration with McCloy. Salant then wrote back to McCloy saying that at no time did Ellen McCloy ever act as a conduit between CBS News and her father.

However, in 1992 in an article for The Village Voice, both Ellen McCloy and Salant were confronted with memos that revealed Salant was lying in 1977. McCloy’s daughter admitted to the clandestine courier relationship. Salant finally admitted it also, but he tried to say there was nothing unusual about it. [See]

Reassuring Americans

So, in 1967, CBS News had again reassured the American people that there was no conspiracy in President Kennedy’s murder, just a misguided lone gunman who had done it all by himself. Anyone who thought otherwise was confused, deceptive or delusional.

However, in 1975, eight years after the broadcast, two events revived interest in the JFK case again. First, the Church Committee was formed in Congress to explore the crimes of the CIA and FBI, revealing that before Kennedy was killed, the CIA had farmed out the assassination of Fidel Castro to the Mafia, a fact that was kept from the Warren Commission even though one of its members, Allen Dulles, had been CIA director when the plots were formulated.

Longtime CBS anchor Dan Rather

Longtime CBS anchor Dan Rather

Secondly, in the summer of 1975, in prime time, ABC broadcast the Zapruder film, the first time that the American public had seen the shocking image of President Kennedy’s head being knocked back and to the left by what appeared to be a shot from his front and right, a shot Oswald could not have fired.

The confluence of these two events caused a furor in Washington and the creation of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) to reopen the JFK case.

Having become a chief defender of the original Warren Commission findings, CBS News moved preemptively to influence the new investigation by planning another special about the JFK case.

CBS’s Sixty Minutes decided to do a story on whether or not Jack Ruby and Lee Oswald knew each other. After several months of research, Salant killed the project with the investigative files turned over to senior producer Les Midgley before becoming the basis for the 1975 CBS special, which was entitled The American Assassins.

Originally this was planned as a four-night special. One night each on the JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King and the George Wallace shootings. But at the last moment, in a very late press release, CBS announced that the first two nights would be devoted to the JFK case. Midgley was the producer, but this time Cronkite was absent. Rather took his place behind the desk.

In general terms, it was more of the same. The photographic consultant was Itek Corporation, a company that was very close to the CIA, having helped build the CORONA spy satellite system. Itek’s CEO in the mid-1960s, Franklin Lindsay, was a former CIA officer. With Itek’s help, CBS did everything they could to move their Magic Bullet shot from about frame 190 to about frames 223-226.

Yet, Josiah Thompson, who appeared on the show, had written there was no evidence Gov. Connally was hit before frames 230-236. Further, there are indications that President Kennedy is clearly hit as he disappears behind the Stemmons Freeway sign at about frame 190, e.g., his head seems to collapse both sideways and forward in a buckling motion.

But with Itek in hand, this became the scenario for the CBS version of the “single bullet theory.” It differed from the Warren Commission’s in that it did not rely upon a “delayed reaction” on Connally’s part to the same bullet.

Ballistics Tests

CBS also employed Alfred Olivier, a research veterinarian who worked for Army wound ballistics branch and did tests with the alleged rifle used in the assassination. He was a chief witness for junior counsel Arlen Specter before the Warren Commission. [See Warren Commission, Volume V, pgs. 74ff]

For CBS in 1975, Olivier said that the Magic Bullet, CE 399, was not actually “pristine.” For CBS and Dan Rather, this made the “single bullet theory” not impossible, just hard to believe.

Apparently, no one explained to Rather that the only deformation on the bullet is a slight flattening at the base, which would occur as the bullet is blasted through the barrel of a rifle. There is no deformation at its tip where it would have struck its multiple targets. There is only a tiny amount of mass missing from the bullet.

In other words, as more than one author has written, it has all the indications of being fired into a carton of water or a bale of cotton. If CBS had interviewed the legendary medical examiner Milton Helpern of New York — not far from CBS headquarters — that is pretty much what he would have said. [Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt, p. 69.]

Rather realized, without being explicit, that something was wrong with Kennedy’s autopsy. He called the autopsy below par and reversed field on his opinion about pathologist Humes, whose experience Rather had praised in 1967. In the 1975 broadcast, Rather said that neither Humes nor Boswell were qualified to perform Kennedy’s autopsy and that parts of it were botched.

But let us make no mistake about what CBS was up to here. The entire corporate upper structure — Salant, Stanton, Paley — had overrun the working producers and journalists, including Midgley, Manning and Schorr. And those subordinates decided not to utter a peep to the outside world about what had happened.

Not only Cronkite and Rather participated in this appalling exercise, so too did Eric Sevareid, appearing at the end of the last show and saying that there are always those who believe in conspiracies, whether it be about Yalta, China or Pearl Harbor. He then poured it on by saying some people still think Hitler is alive and concluding that it would be impossible to cover up the assassination of a President.

But simply in examining how a major news outlet like CBS handled the evidence shows precisely how something as dreadful and significant as the murder of a President could be covered up.

Much of this history also would have remained unknown, except that Roger Feinman, an assistant producer at CBS News, had become a friend and follower of the estimable Warren Commission critic Sylvia Meagher. So, Feinman knew that the Warren Commission was a deeply flawed report and that CBS had employed some very questionable methods in the 1967 special in order to conceal those flaws.

When the assassination issue returned in the mid-1970s, Feinman began to write some memoranda to those in charge of the renewed CBS investigation warning that they shouldn’t repeat their 1967 performance. His first memo went to CBS president Dick Salant. Many of the other memos were directed to the Office of Standards and Practices.

In preparing these memos, Feinman researched some of the odd methodologies that CBS used in 1967. Since he had been at CBS for three years, he got to know some of the people who had worked on that series. They supplied him with documents and information which revealed that what Cronkite and Rather were telling the audience had been arrived at through a process that was as flawed as the one the Warren Commission had used.

Feinman requested a formal review of the process by which CBS had arrived at its forensic conclusions. He felt the documentary had violated company guidelines in doing so.

Establishment Strikes Back

As Feinman’s memos began to circulate through the executive and management suites – including Salant’s and Vice-President Bill Small’s – it was made clear to him that he should cease and desist from his one-man campaign. When he wouldn’t let up, CBS moved to terminate its dissident employee.

Roger Feinman

Roger Feinman

But since Feinman was working under a union contract, he had certain administrative rights to a fair hearing, including the process of discovery through which he could request certain documents to make his case. His research allowed him to pinpoint where these documents would be and who prepared them.

On Sept. 7, 1976, CBS succeeded in terminating Feinman. But the collection of documents he secured through his hearing was extraordinary, allowing outsiders for the first time to see how the 1967 series was conceived and executed. Further, the documents took us into the group psychology of a large media corporation when it collides with controversial matters involving national security.

Only Roger Feinman, who was not at the top of CBS or anywhere near it, had the guts to try to get to the bottom of the whole internal scandal.

And Feinman paid a high personal price for doing so. Feinman’s contribution to American history did not help him get his journalistic career back on track. When he passed away in the fall of 2011, he was freelancing as a computer programmer.

[This article is largely based on the script for the documentary film Roger Feinman was in the process of reediting at the time of his death in 2011. The reader can view that here.]

James DiEugenio is a researcher and writer on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and other mysteries of that era. His most recent book is Reclaiming Parkland.

61 comments for “How CBS News Aided the JFK Cover-up

  1. May 2, 2016 at 10:45

    Thanks Nathaniel.

    You are a sterling example of and model for what we should all be doing in the nature of activism.

  2. Nathaniel Heidenheimer
    April 30, 2016 at 21:20

    People MUST read DiEgenio’s Destiny Betrayed Second Edition. IMO it’s one of the three best books on the JFK Assassination. Unfortunately not nearly enough have read it.

    I am glad to see this article getting a lot of visibility. When it first came out at CTKA I spread it onto about 25 Facebook groups fast. This Consortium version I have only just begun to spread.

    We need to do the spreading. This material is verboten by BOTH MSM and faux Alternative Media, because it’s Replacement media and not “Alternative Media” and foundations just don’t go for that.

    We have to…. YOU have to spread Replacement media. Help me post this article everywhere.

  3. April 28, 2016 at 11:57

    I just said above, this essay is not about Bugliosi, and neither is about these other two authors, Lane or Janney.

    Its about how a media corporate structure could not find the ethical courage to do the right thing. It shows in detail how the men at the top steamrolled the professional instincts of those below them. And how the only guy in the whole building who wanted to do the right thing, Roger Feinman, lost his career over it.

    • April 30, 2016 at 17:16

      I am aware of that. And CBS is not the only one which failed the public or having been dishonest to put it mildly.
      Many others lost their jobs and their lives because they “stubbornly” stuck to the truth . These figures are astounding.

      Why not mentioning Jim Garrison’s On the Trail of the Assassins again? Skyhorse 2012. Possibly one of the future JFK ” Bibles” if the US public will ever mature

  4. April 28, 2016 at 11:06

    You might forget about Bugliosi, Posner, Max Holland, and the likes (some with “interesting” CIA connections)….

    I would suggest reading a l l the books by Mark Lane, from early 1966!
    His latest: Last Word. My Indictment of the CIA in the Murder of JFK. Introd. by Robert K. Tanenbaum, with a chapter by Oliver Stone, Skyhorse Publishing 2012, 300 pages
    Devastating, for example, on Sidney Gottlieb of MKULTRA “fame” who provided the fake Secret Service badges for Dealey Plaza etc.

    Also interesting: Peter Janney, Mary’s Mosaic. The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace. Foreword by Dick Russell. Second ed. Skyhorse 2014 about 590 pages
    P.J. found after endless efforts and interviewed Meyer’s (CIA connected) murderer who moved in academic circles!
    And, surprisingly, survived.

  5. April 28, 2016 at 01:55


    This is not about Vincent Bugliosi–who’s name you spelled wrong.

    Its about an internal censorship scandal at CBS, which they lied about, and then a young man lost his career over.

    I do not have to be lectured about Bugliosi–as I wrote a book exposing his work in detail. See my signature line above.

  6. Mike Gentile
    April 27, 2016 at 22:31

    You can talk about conspiracy all you want. But once some one say’s that Oswald was not the shooter or not one of the shooters than your nuts! Vincent Buguisoi book totally nails Oswald!

  7. April 25, 2016 at 06:58

    Everybody helped with the JFK coverup. No wonder his son went crackers in his plane. His widow, isolated and lost. We all helped to bury him while still alive.

  8. April 24, 2016 at 14:08

    I’d like to suggest you revisit the notion of CBS uniquely censoring the arguably superficial work of the Warren Commission.

    Starting with Eisenhower, the press developed a far cozier relationship with the White House than would become acceptable after 1968. Before Cronkite came out against Vietnam, the press was more willing to cooperate, if LBJ or JFK asked them to leave a story alone. The press was willing to do almost anything reasonable to avoid another Cuban Crisis. Thus, a deal was reached to avoid mandatory military censorship in exchange for a voluntary code. The press was deeply involved in all aspects of war planning and war mobilization censorship.

    We look in retrospect at Vietnam as a tragic conventional war. But the press and the White House fully expected a world war mobilization. By 1966, the Office of Defense Resources and National News Center were both based out of the OEP Classified Location. Former ABC and NBC Pres. Kintner was hired to run ODR’s massive planning commitment. The classified emergency news center would work directly with censors to implement a voluntary code. These organizations would draw upon National Defense Executive Reservists, many of whom were active or former news professionals.

    If LBJ asked news executives to quash as story because (he thought) it could lead to nuclear war, newsmen listened. If he asked them to undertake classified duties, they often did. They fully expected Vietnam could get very hot, very quick, and lead to full war mobilization on short notice. Most of the White House Press were briefed all through the Cold War. They were ready to go right along with cabinet secretaries to report (albeit censored) news and to die along with politicians at classified sites, if attacked.

    What remains of Jack Rosenthal’s planning is the Emergency Alert System National Information Center. We don’t know what current news persons are involved.

  9. Vesuvius
    April 24, 2016 at 12:29

    Joe Tedesky, THANK YOU for bringing up Dr James W. Douglass’ excellent book “JFK and the Unspeakable” here, not mentioned by author DiEugenio. Dr Douglass’ book is what you must read to get the whole Picture of this Crime of the Century.

  10. R.Fischer
    April 24, 2016 at 06:44

    I normaly would not comment on the articels on this site. However, I realize that even here the elefant in the room is mostly left out. Even Dave Talbot in his new book on Allan Dulles leaves it out – You cannot discuss the Kennedy-assassination without mentioning Michael Collins Pipers “Final jugdement”, regardless of the value you give to his thesis. In fact, I found his opinions about the Holocaust disturbing, but his argument to see Israel behind the assassination is quite strong (you could even argue that JFK trying to hinder Israels nuclear program made him a rightfull target – I would not see it that way but the argument is possible). The way even alternative media leave this perspective out, lends huge credibility to it.

  11. portia2
    April 23, 2016 at 21:23

    When you have a citizenry that you have in America who 97% are socialized, controlled, consuming, self-deluded, never-had-an-original-thought, patriotic(conditioned), tyranny-embracing, self-policing, no-integried, non-principled, apathetic, know-nothing, need-to-be-told-what-to-do-including-think, never-read-a-book, fake-laughter-sitcom-watching, worthless, morons, you will have a government that is a 100% corrupt, instutionalized-inverted-totalitarian, police-state, owned/controlled by 10% of 1% to the oppression, impoverishment, and murdering of everyone else. Duh.

    • April 24, 2016 at 17:23

      When you have a citizenry that you have in America who 97% are socialized, controlled, consuming, self-deluded, never-had-an-original-thought, patriotic(conditioned), tyranny-embracing, self-policing, no-integried, non-principled, apathetic, know-nothing, need-to-be-told-what-to-do-including-think, never-read-a-book, fake-laughter-sitcom-watching, worthless, morons …

      You sound very smug and superior in your attitude, and like you think you are better than everyone else. I take it that you think that YOU are not any of the things that you attribute to 97% of the American people.

  12. portia2
    April 23, 2016 at 20:41

    ThenUS Government is a horrendous cancerous-blight on humanity. You could add all of the world’s evil leaders and all of the world’s most oppressive, corrupt governments since their inception to this point, and they would not come near the negative impact that the US Government foments upon humanity.

    • Andreas Wirsén
      April 24, 2016 at 04:20

      You’re being a bit U.S.-centric here – think the devastation wrecked on civilizations by Genghis Khan, think the GULAG:s.
      The U.S. Government, however, has managed to make a few technological leaps, making it, for a period, the world’s first truly global empire, which is mighty. If only they would continue leading by example, as was the main thrust of JFK:s policy, rather than by coercion.

  13. Mt
    April 23, 2016 at 17:28

    Yep, I always felt Rather’s professional demise was poetic justice. The most difficult problem though is the lower level people who are content to prop up the system to keep their jobs and mortgages. Follow orders, no questions asked, and persuade yourself everything above is in the “right” hands. I watched the “Unlawful Killing” documentary by Keith Allen from 2011 (which was banned in the UK) and a good part of it follows these journalists observing the inquiry on Diana in 2008 (the filmmakers had a plant in the room) and how they came in with a set of assumptions they chose to believe was true and no matter how many questions were raised, their story remained the same. Textbook Big Media. It’s the wilful ignorance of these people that provides the most effective buffer and spin for those at the top who create the narrative. The hardest part is trying to break through that level to expose what’s actually going on. There’s some slow success online (inspite of predictable misinfo campaigns) but that growing questioning is why sooner than later the Internet will be redefined. It’s inevitable. They tried it from the very beginning with AOL but independent programmers changed the game. Now they doing it by stealth, economically, with companies like Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Tablets and smart phones pushing everyone into “the Cloud” which could not be a more appropriate Orwellianism. Hardware is changing and creating less freedom and more dependency. And TED talks telling you how great it all is. That’s why the just-is system has been so obscenely hard on hacker kids who have gone to trial rather than work for deep government. They are the only ones that can find the light switch in the ever increasing darkness. The future is becoming binary in more ways than one for programmers, when people like Snowden are being put under the War on Terror – you’re either with them or you’re the enemy. I suggest investing in a ham radio set and a printing press. I wish I was kiddin.

    • portia2
      April 23, 2016 at 21:48

      The only chance for future is Guerilla Warfare!

      • April 24, 2016 at 17:35

        Physical guerilla warfare (and physical violence)?

        You are absolutely certain that there is no other and no better alternative?

  14. David Smith
    April 23, 2016 at 14:46

    There is one certainty in the murder of JFK: Oswald did not do it. However arguing over details merely serves the interest of the coverup. I use The Clincher Method, the one fact that cannot be argued away. The Zapruder film was troubling for the coverup, but disinformation agents have argued, tenditiously, it shows JFK was shot from behind(it does not). The Clincher is the peice of JFK’s skull recovered on the street/sidewalk. It was found to the rear of the limo’s position and comes from the back of JFK’s head lower right, just above the hairline. Therefore, JFK was shot from the front. Additionally, and critically, that shot came from above in order to exit lower right(yes it was an exit wound). There is only one location from which that shot could have come: on top of the Triple Underpass. My reconstruction as follows: from the Grassy Knoll a diversion team sets off devices that sound like gunshots to 1) cause onlookers to pay attention to the Grassy Knoll, 2) a signal for the limo driver to stop briefly, to give a stationary target for the shootist on top of the Triple Underpass. The Triple Underpass is the best location as the target is coming straight toward the shootist, simplifying aim, and the slight downward angle gives a clear line of sight without obstructions. It is still a very difficult shot even for an expert. The top of the Triple Underpass gives a clean escape route to parking lots close by(in opposite direction to Grassy Knoll). The several rapid shots indicate a semi-auto rifle, likely an M14(used by snipers in Nam). This rifle had a short barrel plus suppressor(silencer). The M14 was designed for the 308 NATO cartridge which is very amenable for “sub-sonic” powder charges necessary for the “silencer” effect, as well recoil would be nothing, aiding accuracy(from the small subsonic powder charge and suppressor). The shootist had several helpers, a spotter left and right a guy to pick up ejected cases, and others. The shootist was sitting, with rifle down until seconds before taking the shot, using the guardrail as a rest, like at a range. The M14 was likely rechambered for a 6.5mm-08 wildcat cartridge, to match the “Patsy’s” Carcano rifle, and could have been a “takedown” type for easy concealment going in and getting out, with “quick detach” low power scope(German made). Shootist was older, 50+ yrs.(so no bragging later), known for reliability, ex-military, perhaps with experience in Battue hunts in Europe. Rehearsal at a “Dealy Plaza” mockup. Doubters of my reconstruction can check it with an experienced rifle shootist.

  15. April 23, 2016 at 09:42

    The German writer Joachim Joesten (1907-1975, in the US since 1941) wrote a couple of books on the subject between 1964 and 1968, possibly being the first who “viciously” attacked the Warren Commission and its (CIA) chronies in the press and elsewhere.
    1964 two editions in New York and London (enlarged): Oswald – Assassin or Fall Guy?
    Devastating his 1968 book on LBJ, reprinted last year. A Texas University has parts of his critical Truth Letters online.
    Joesten’s WIKIPEDIA entry seems purged some time ago. His last years are somehow filled with gaps and mystery (Switzerland/Munich), maybe deliberately to derail historians.
    FBI tried to smear his name – a very common practice.

    Today there is no secret any more that Oswald (although still very young) worked for “all of them”, ONI, CIA, FBI and the mob; of course he knew Ruby (yes,yes Rubenstein), and Banister, and Ferrie and Clay Shaw (of Permindex “fame”)….
    He was sent (probably by the CIA) to Russia as a “defector” which was not uncommon at the time etc….
    Documentation is widely available these days (TrineDay publishers for example or Skyhorse)…

  16. Truth
    April 23, 2016 at 07:27

    Jack Ruby’s real last name is Jacob Leonard Rubenstein. That is cover up #1.

  17. Douglas Baker
    April 23, 2016 at 02:39

    Oh, Zachary your comment reminds me of the basket cases with fruit and nut offerings that knocked on Iconoclast’s door in Dallas with their offerings on the murder of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963. You have the same free flowing loose sputter with truth, coming to it once in a while, with thoughts emerging from your head like Medusa’s snakes with fangs bared going in all directions with bites on “Holocaust Denial”, “Vaccination”, “Evolution Denial”, begging the question on “fair and equal treatment”on climate change or Noah’s Ark, Chemtrails or the faked Apollo Moon landing–all interesting or fun to put down; but not the same as a serious inquiry into “the President’s Commission on The Assassination of President Kennedy” organized by President Kennedy’s fired C.I.A. Director, Allen Dulles, as an alternative to President Johnson’s wanting to grub stake a Texas inquiry. Where ever he is now, dutifully and smugly Ex-Director Dulles would surely agree with you, “that the Kennedy assassination has had a masterful coverup….the coverup was too long in the past and too well executed.” But he and you are wrong, although sharing the same party line. Sure in his time Dr. Lois Alvarez knew physics; but he misapplied it when taking measure of the Kennedy murder. For those with inquiring minds, know much more now about the death of a President in Dallas than when CBS continued to retread a worn flat tire, and inflate again and again and again. Zachary, history matters as Santayana noted in “the Life of Reason”, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Had the Kennedy brothers remembered the Roman Republic and what happened to the brothers Gracchi or Gaius Julius Caesar Junior when going against the controlling class of Rome in their day, their lives might have been longer. And an examination of world Empires show historically they rot and fail from within as those that control America strive for the day it can be said of the nation’s flag the Sun never sets on the “red, white and blue.” with bombs bursting in air and drones on the fly.

  18. Zachary Smith
    April 23, 2016 at 00:26

    In the mid-1960s, amid growing skepticism about the Warren Commission’s lone-gunman findings on John F. Kennedy’s assassination, there was a struggle inside CBS News about whether to allow the critics a fair public hearing at the then-dominant news network.

    I could paraphrase that in almost any direction. Holocaust Denial started about fifteen years after WW2. Evolution Denial has grown continuously despite the ever-mounting evidence. Vaccination for deadly diseases has saved more lives than any other medical treatment in human history, but the ability of yammerheads to communicate via the internet has crimped the use of even that tool. So why don’t we do the “fair and equal” treatment on climate change or Noah’s Ark and all that other stuff? Because it does nothing more than muddy the water. Ditto for Chemtrails or the Faked Apollo Moon Landing. The public is already way too ignorant, and there is no point at all in assisting this ignorance with faux “debates”. Just because a fellow is a “critic” doesn’t rule out his also being a clueless idiot.

    I’ll agree that the Kennedy assassination has had a masterful coverup, but the refusal of CBS to “debate” some of the Denier theories wasn’t going to change anything.

    I watched some of the” Dr. Gary Aguilar – Junk Science and the Death of JFK” video. First of all, the thing is over an hour. Even zipping to the indicated section at minute 37 wasted too much of my time. Dr. Gary Aguilar is a crank, and in my opinion Dr. Louis Alvarez knew a hell of a lot more about physics than the good pathologist. I’ve no idea whether Oswald acted alone or had three backups – and at this stage of the game it doesn’t matter the least little bit. The coverup was too long in the past and too well executed.

    • JMW
      April 23, 2016 at 09:11

      So some people will question anything, therefore we should question nothing?

      Criticism of the Warren Commission occurred almost immediately after its release by very credible people (Lane, Meagher, etc.) , so I don’t think your comparisons in the first paragraph are valid.

      PS – Didn’t see the more detailed response below by D. Baker.

    • April 23, 2016 at 11:54


      The Scopes Trial happened in 1925. The Wannsee Conference in 1942.

      CBS had planned on doing an objective series on the JFK case less than four years after Kennedy was murdered.

      At that time, summer of 1967, Johnson had sent 525,000 combat troops into Vietnam.

      In 1963, when JFK was killed, there were none there. So, yes, it does matter a little bit in view of what happened in Indochina. And several other places, including the Middle East.

      • Paul May
        April 23, 2016 at 17:18

        As he usually does, DiEugenio delves into revisionist history. RFK in his oral history in 1964 stated JFK had no plans to give up Vietnam. It was JFK who in the early 1950’s as a Senator pilloried Harry Truman for losing China to the communists. JFK campaigned in 1960 on the phony missile gap with Russia. JFK, once in office spent more on the MIC than any president in history. JFK told Americans to build bomb shelters. In the Trademart speech never heard, JFK recommitted to Vietnam and its importance. Those such as DiEugenio who believe JFK had a paradigm shift and hence his American University speech is a devout conspiracy theorist who through his dark paranoid personality is incapable of objectivity. Really people, any individual believing Jim Garrison to be an honorable man, is selling you opinion, not fact.

        • April 23, 2016 at 19:23

          Not revisionist at all Photon/Paul. Its simple arithmetic, declassified files and witness testimony.

          When Kennedy was killed, there was not one American combat troop in Vietnam. By the summer of 1967, when the CBS special aired, there were 525,000 in theater. It would peak out at 540,000. It was only after Tet, that Johnson began to see it was hopeless. Kennedy would simply not commit combat troops there.

          And we have that from the three most important witnesses: McGeorge Bundy, Bob McNamara, and Max Taylor, respectively, the National Security Advisor, Sec. of Defense, and Chair of the JCS. Further, the notes of the Sec Def Conference of May 1963 were declassified in 1997 by the ARRB. McNamara was actually hurrying up the withdrawal plan. That document even convinced the MSM of what Kennedy’s intent was eg. Philadelphia Enquirer, NY TImes.

          FInally, last year, Kennedy’s evacuation plan for Vietnam was found by Malcolm Blunt. As Major John Newman has noted, Kennedy was worried the whole country could collapse before the withdrawal was complete.

          Last witness: General Giap. When he was in hospital, his son talked to him and told interviewer Mani Kang, that yes, Giap knew JFK was going to withdraw from Vietnam before he was killed. Case Closed.

          May/Photon should go back to JFK Facts.That’s his romper room–and his knowledge base shows that.

          • Joe Tedesky
            April 23, 2016 at 21:02

            Let me add, that Kennedy had issued NSAM263 in October 1963 which was a plan for reducing the U.S. Forces in Vietnam towards an exit by the end of 1965. LBJ reversed that decision two days after Kennedy’s murder with NSAM273. James W Douglas; JFK and the Unspeakable, Why He Died and Why It Matters, goes into to how JFK struggled with our country’s involvement in Vietnam to a very high degree. Mr Douglas’s book talks a lot about how JFK publicly did or said one thing, while at the same time he was back channeling with Kruschev and Pope John the 23rd. John F Kennedy in his day, was considered by the Washington elite to be a traitor. While some fine JFK to have been reckless and loose, I mourn for the man, for having died for his higher beliefs. We all truly loss a great person for peace on 11/22/63.

    • david thurman
      April 23, 2016 at 17:54

      In Re: Zachary Smith April, 23, 2016 Oswald didn’t act alone or along with three backups, he didn’t act at all. Go back and watch what he says while in police custody, “I didn’t shoot anyone, I’m a Patsy!” After studying this case at length, I believe him.

      I beg to differ, that “”at this stage of the game it doesn’t matter the least little bit.” Every president since JFK has had some previous connection to the intelligence agencies. Obama worked for Business International (a cia front) his first two years after Columbia, his mother worked for the Ford foundation, his grandmother managed several funds at the Honolulu bank (on the way to Vietnam) where she was a VP. I voted for Obama twice, and had great hopes for his time in office, but I can’t explain the drone killing program (where common sense dictates we’re making more long term enemies than we’re eliminating!), nor the current beginning of what will be a 30 year re-vamping of our entire nuclear arsenal (including new tactical, small easier to use weapons), when it would have been our best opportunity to eliminate them altogether. Neither can I explain his lust for secretive trade deals benefiting corporate clients or his half-baked financial reform, not to mention his pulling the ‘public option’ from health care reform. Obama had the opportunity to be an FDR, but perhaps if he had been such a change-ling the outcome would have been what some claimed of Kennedy, that he was changing things too fast. JFK was the last president to think he could take power, he said something to the effect, he represented the rest of the people, who couldn’t afford lobbyists.

      ps: an excellent video by this same author is, “Motive 4 Murder – Kennedy’s Foreign Policy.”

      • Paul May
        April 23, 2016 at 18:43

        David, why do conspiracy types never quote Oswald correctly? My guess is you don’t want to. He gave his reason for the patsy statement which you conveniently omit. He actually said:’ “They’ve taken me in because of the fact I lived in the Soviet Union. I’m just a patsy!”

        • April 23, 2016 at 19:33

          David: May/Photon is a troll from all over the internet on the JFK case.

          You are right, Oswald said he was just a patsy, and we have that in Seth Kantor’s notes.

          And he was. If CBS had to do what it did, as Roger Feinman’s documents exposed, then the Warren Report was a cover up. And it was.

        • David Smith
          April 23, 2016 at 22:05

          PaulPhotonTroll, it is obvious from the video the two sentences are not connected. And he said it TWICE. Seth Kantor, reporter at lineup for witness J.D. Davis, notes Oswald loudly yelled “I am only a patsy!!!”, and did not mention Russia. Oswald was shown the famous backyard photo and denounced it as a forgery. Ruth Paine was present at Dealy Plaza. Sheriff Roger Craig, 15 minutes after assassination, observed Oswald getting into a white station wagon, driven by a woman. Capt. Fritz inquired of Oswald, who confirmed the report was accurate, and the vehicle belonged to Ruth Paine. Strangely, Oswald later states he left by bus and taxi. Both stories can’t be true but one has a Sheriff as witness, confirmed by Oswald.

          • April 24, 2016 at 14:05

            David and Joe T, I have to step in here a bit to straighten out a couple of points. If I don’t then it just becomes their boilerplate versus our boilerplate, and we do not want that. Our side is always for the facts, or if we cannot ascertain them, as close as we can get.

            First, NSAM 273 did not actually reverse NSAM 263. It altered it by making possible direct American naval involvement. (Newman, JFK and Vietnam, p. 446) The actual reversal of 263 came in March, with NSAM 288 in which Johnson mapped out a whole battle campaign for the north. Something which Kennedy never contemplated. (DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition, p. 369)

            Secondly, Ruth Paine was not in Dealey Plaza after the assassination. She was at her home with Marina. The Nash Rambler David Smith refers to above is similar to the Paine car but not the same. And the reports were that a dark skinned male was driving it when a man looking like Oswald, jumped in. (Josiah Thompson, Six Seconds in Dallas,p. 243)

          • David Smith
            April 24, 2016 at 16:23

            Mr. DiEugenio, thanks for the correction. I misspoke myself on the sinister Ruth Paine, shouldn’t do that, confusion helps the coverup. Apologies.

      • portia2
        April 23, 2016 at 21:40

        It’s easy to explain. There is a heirarchy to the power and money concentration in the world. It’s been in play way before the US was a country. At it’s apex is the Zionist Crime Factory; right below that is a few trillionaires and governments that they own; the next layer down are the international player banks, most of them, if not all are of the Rothschild Family; Then there are multi-national corporations(corpocracy); the governments are controlled through corrupt bought and paid for mouthpieces, an example, Obama, Hilary Clinton, etc. Someone like Obama, Clinton, any President since JFK, are only mouthpieces. They do not make any decisions. They don’t even get to make the decision on what suit or tie to wear on any given day.

    • portia2
      April 23, 2016 at 22:02

      You are partially right concerning the ignorance, etc. of the public. What difference does it make who assasinated JFK? The only thing this public is going to do at most is bitch and quote Jefferson on media blogsites, not overthrow the government by way of guerilla warfare that would be the moral imperative.

      • April 24, 2016 at 17:32

        … not overthrow the government by way of guerilla warfare that would be the moral imperative

        I take it that you mean physical guerilla warfare and physical violence; is that correct?

        You are absolutely certain that there is no other alternative?

  19. John
    April 22, 2016 at 20:13

    I have shot target with very similar rifles. The recoil of these rifles are wicked hard, coupled with the fact that the scope used in the event has a very small eye relief. By the time you recover the rifle from recoil and find the target with that scope, a second accurate shot from that distance is 1 in 1000. Listen folks there are long term agendas that have taken over the State Department and Pentagon. If you meddle in their agenda you too will be lying on a corner’s table….It was too late even in JFK’s day…Today with the pressure on a US citizen’s right to firearms and also the so called “assault rifles” is the last stand of…… “land of the free and home of the brave” . I have children and grandchildren……How I wish it were different……

  20. JWalters
    April 22, 2016 at 18:48

    Thanks for this excellent report detailing how the oligarchy controls the news that Americans see. As usual in deception, omitting evidence is a key tactic. To anyone willing to do their own investigation today, the evidence is overwhelming that the Warren Commission Report is severely flawed. And we now know why. Justice Warren was told that any other verdict risked a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, and potentially millions of American deaths. It’s clear the same gang controls America’s media today, undoubtedly operating in much the same way.

  21. April 22, 2016 at 18:05


    That was the 1967 special. I agree, it was ludicrous.

  22. Gene Coyle
    April 22, 2016 at 17:01

    I recall a CBS special with Walter Cronkite. Not sure if it was of the 1967 or 1975 programs you mention. The dim memory is that Cronkite described “scientific” tests that they ran, and announced CBS’ conclusion after each. One test concerned whether the kind of bullet used by the alleged shooter could have penetrated what the Warren Commission claimed. CBS used a block of jello, green as I remember it, with the appropriate thickness and density to equal the actual body. They tried shooting a bullet more than once and each time it could NOT penetrate the material. Cronkite reported all this and then said “CBS concludes … ” that it could penetrate the object. That seemed odd to me.
    Thanks very much for this essay.

  23. Cassandra Dee
    April 22, 2016 at 16:59

    There were multiple plots to assassinate Kennedy, which made it difficult to conduct an investigation on a laymen’s budget, or even Garrison’s level of cash. You are following a set of tracks and get pulled off onto a different set of tracks, both belonging to wannabe Kennedy assassins. So many Mafia capos confessing. So many volunteer ‘false flags.’

    It’s reminiscent of the ending of Philip Roth’s wonderful and unforgettable “Our Gang.”

  24. Skip Edwards
    April 22, 2016 at 16:24

    Nothing has changed and the MSM (NPR included) remain what the vast majority of Americans rely on for their news. To think we have been duped all these years. To think I felt for Dan Rather when he was fired amd disgraced for outing GW Bush’s military record. If he had it in him to out CBS and it’s cover-up of the Warren Commission cover-up and the later Senate investigation of the Kennedy assaination he would not have lost his job over Bush and would be an American hero today. Kennedy’s assaination and the resulting cover-us will be shown by history to be the start of the collapse of the United States of America. An event all of us reading this will likely witness.

  25. Skip Edwards
    April 22, 2016 at 16:09

    “Though it may be hard to remember – amid today’s proliferation of cable channels and Internet sites – CBS, along with NBC and ABC, wielded powerful control over what the American people got to see, hear and take seriously in the 1960s. By slapping down any criticism of the Warren Commission, CBS executives effectively prevented the case surrounding the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy from ever receiving the full airing that it deserved.”

  26. Joe Tedesky
    April 22, 2016 at 15:42

    I agree wholeheartedly Dr Soudy, the 9/11 Commission Report is an insult, without a doubt. Although, in our modern era I think it safe to say, that the Warren Report was the template for how to script a false flag, and especially how to cover it up. I also believe that within every major news bureau that there are certain people assigned to specialized segments of various cover up teams. This article exemplifies just the type of executive action in play here, towards successfully getting one over on the naive public. I don’t know which is more evil, the actual implementation of the crime, or the all to clever cover up. Either way, it is all wrong, and it would also be wrong to accept it as the truth.

    • Dosamuno
      April 23, 2016 at 17:07


  27. charles goldberg
    April 22, 2016 at 13:31

    the murder and cover up of j.f.k. are the rosetta stone of understanding what amerika has become.
    thank god for people like jim dieugenio
    as long as there are such people still willing to give witness we still can have hope for our future generations.

    • Brad Benson
      April 22, 2016 at 20:03

      When Nixon started babbling about the Watergate Burglars and how E. Howard Hunt was trying to blackmail him from jail, his Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman, heard him say, “He’ll open up that whole Bay of Pigs thing again!”

      Haldeman wrote in his memoirs that he had been confused at the time, but that Nixon’s Remark was “the rosetta stone of the Kennedy Assassination”.

  28. Regina Schulte
    April 22, 2016 at 11:37

    Another riveting and well-documented account of
    Kennedy’s assassination, reinforcing this one, is by
    James w. Douglass: “JFK and the unspeakable.”

    “Where’s there smoke, there’s fire.”

    • Penny Marin-Watkins
      April 22, 2016 at 18:18

      Regina, I just finished reading JFK and the unspeakable! I could barely put it down! Holy Mackerel!! A coup, right in front of our own eyes! I think this book should be mandatory reading in all the schools! It made me enlightened, validated, angry and then frightened! The book is so well referenced, I have started reading the reference books now…..
      This book made me drop my jaw on SO many pages! I couldn’t read it at night as I couldn’t go to sleep… just thinking of the other “issues” we don’t even have a clue about!

      • Brad Benson
        April 22, 2016 at 19:59

        Well if you liked that one, I have two more for you. Read Jim Garrison’s “On the Trail of the Assassins” and Mark Lane’s “Plausible Denial”. Both look at the assassination from a unique perspective–Garrison as the guy who really had nailed down part of the conspiracy and Lane, the conspiracy writer, who was asked to make an appeal on behalf of a small magazine, which had been sued by E. Howard Hunt, of Watergate Fame, and had been saddled with a judgment that would have put them out of business. The magazine had claimed that Hunt had been the bagman carrying the money for the professional assassins. Lane reluctantly took the case and it became one of his best books. It is absolutely fascinating, but I won’t spoil the end..

        • Dosamuno
          April 23, 2016 at 17:07

          Penny, Regina, and Brad:

          I have read all the books mentioned and have been equally impressed.
          David Talbot’s book, THE DEVIL’S CHESSBOARD revisits the theme with an emphasis on the role played by Allen Dulles. It offers an appalling picture of the appalling career of this appalling man.

          • May 1, 2016 at 15:06

            One very interesting fact in “The Devil’s Chessboard” was the connection between Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer and CIA Chief Allen Dulles that went way back to their 1940s, Operation Sunrise days. They knew each other through their connection in saving the skins of Nazi war criminal, and both were demoted (or fired, in the case of Dulles) by JFK and both have been mentioned among the suspects in his death (Lemnitzer as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff).

            If you ask me, these are the 60s generation of American fascists who were key in maneuvering our country into the state it is in today. Everything Robert Parry talks about – ever major scandal in the US starting with the JFK Assassination leading all the way to todays war in Ukraine and Syria – emerges from ideology planted by this network all those many decades ago.

  29. ignasi orobitg gene
    April 22, 2016 at 11:21

    The brain at autopsy disappeared.
    A blunder of gigantic hoax citizens.

  30. Bob Loblaw
    April 22, 2016 at 10:44

    It’s obscene how CBS lied over and over again.
    Every major “news” organization is guilty today and cannot be trusted beyond celebrity eulogies and sports scores.

  31. Paul
    April 22, 2016 at 10:38

    The thing about history, about the past, is that it usually describes the present as well.

  32. Joe Tedesky
    April 22, 2016 at 10:26

    Once again Mr DiEugenio gives us a sharper view of the JFK assassination. Mr DiEugenio’s reporting here shows how a media managed cover up did occur. Further, how a media cover up management was put in place, for possible future events worthy for obscured reporting of the truth. Considering all of the terrible events that we have all witnessed since the JFK murder, is it any wonder to why such an executive cover up structure may be required. Why, with the killings of MLK, RFK, Macolm X, others, and the many false flag events of the last half of the 20th century up to now, is it not reasonable to assume that any employment covering up these crimes is a full time job? I can see an article like this being published in and around say fifty years from now, whereas the readers will learn to what really happened in conjunction to 9/11. But not to worry, for today we can all look forward to another Clinton to enter into the Oval Office, and tell America what it wants to hear.

    • Helen Marshall
      April 22, 2016 at 18:18

      If Clinton enters the Oval Office in January 2017, there is more than a slight chance that she and her neocon associates will precipitate a major war and fifty years from now who knows what will be left.

    • Cal Lash
      April 22, 2016 at 20:26

      U got that right Joe!

Comments are closed.