Tag Archives: Warren Commission

The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #87

The CIA’s use of closely-affiliated executives overseeing top US journalistic outlets combined with its own media assets in newsrooms throughout the country strongly contributed to laying the groundwork for propelling the Warren Commission’s conspiracy theory of Lee Harvey Oswald acting as the “lone gunman”.

“The press could learn a good deal about the assassination, and about its own failure to pursue the story independently, by reviewing its own initial reporting out of Dallas,” argues Jerry Policoff. “Those early reports stand in stark contrast to what is officially alleged to have transpired. The infamous ‘grass knoll,’ for example, was no concoction of the Warren Commission critics. ‘The shots apparently came from a grassy knoll in the area,’ reported the Associated Press in its initial dispatches.”

News coverage throughout that afternoon preceded official enforcement of the government-sanctioned narrative comprised in the President Lyndon Johnson-endorsed study headed by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren.

Words of shots from the front dominated early reports from the site (witnesses interviewed by the press seemed to be nearly unanimous on this point), but these reports were forgotten by the press within several hours, as Dallas authorities began to make it clear that a local “communist” by the name of Lee Harvey Oswald had fired all of the shots from a sniper’s nest constructed on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository to the rear of the presidential limousine. Leaked biographical data depicting the “erratic” nature of the “political malcontent” Oswald began to flood the media almost immediately.

“By the time Oswald himself was assassinated,” Policoff continues,  “all pretense had disappeared. The press had found Oswald guilty without the benefit of trial. ‘President’s Assassin Shot…,” proclaimed the New York Times. Life profiled the ‘Assassin: The Man Held–And Killed–For Murder.” Time’s combination biography/obituary was titled simply ‘The Man Who Killed Kennedy.'” The press’ fawning acceptance of the government’s storyline set the stage for its almost thoroughly uncritical acceptance and in certain instances ardent defense of the Warren Report’s “lone gunman” conclusion.

The Kennedy assassination cover-up has survived so long only because the press, confronted with the choice of believing what it was told or examining the facts independently, chose the former. Unless and until the press repudiates that choice, it is unlikely that we shall ever know the truth.

Jerry Policoff, “The Media and the Murder of John Kennedy,” in The Assassination: Dallas and Beyond: A Guide to Cover-Ups and Assassinations, Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch and Russell Stetler, eds., New York: Vintage Books, 1976, 263, 271.

0

The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #67

In 1967 public opinion polls indicated that two-thirds of the American public rejected the Warren Commission Report’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of President Kennedy. Nevertheless top CIA officials were assured they could depend on US news media to assuage such widespread public skepticism.

According to historian David Talbot, “An exchange of letters between CBS news director William Small and (CIA founder Allen) Dulles in July 1967 summed up the media’s lockstep allegiance to the officials story, no matter how many holes were punched in it by new research.” ’I hope you had a chance to view the four-part series on the Warren Commission,’ wrote Small, referring to his TV network’s massive apologia for the Warren Report. ‘We are very proud of them and I hope you found them a proper display of what television journalism can do.’ … After reviewing transcripts of the entire series that Small had obligingly provided him, Dulles assured the CBS news executive, ‘ If I have any nitpicking to pass on to you, I shall do so as soon as I have read them.’ The spymaster,” Talbot concludes, “was always happy to offer guidance to his media friends, down to the smallest details.”

David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, New York: Harper Perennial, 2015, 597-598.

0

The CIA and the Media: Historical Fact #66

In the mid-to-late 1960s the CIA initiated concerted efforts to defame independent researchers of the Kennedy assassination that contested the Warren Commission’s findings, seeking to suppress their message at every turn. By 1966 the most prominent of these researchers was New York-based attorney Mark Lane. “As part of the campaign to smear Warren Report critics,” writes historian David Talbot, former CIA Director Allen Dulles “compiled dirt on Mark Lane, whom he considered a particularly ‘terrible nuisance’ because of his growing media visibility and his influence overseas, where he was often invited to speak.” One of Dulles’ moles claimed to have located photos of Lane engaging in “’obscene acts’” with minors. “’He is supposedly Jewish,’” the informant wrote, “’but there are those who claim he is half Negro or at least has Negro blood. He is very dark complexioned, wears horn-rimmed glasses and he’s always in a hurry. My own personal opinion is that he’s deranged.’”

As Lane’s popularity developed the CIA “pressured TV and Radio programs to cancel interviews with him. When he traveled to foreign countries to speak about the Kennedy assassination, the agency sent bulletins to the U.S. embassies there announcing that Lane’s local appearances had been cancelled.”

David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, New York: Harper Perennial, 2015, 594, 595.

0