Note from the Author
My new book "Burying the Lead: The Media and the JFK Assassination" explores how the power elite worked with the media--from the murder until today. Three days after the assassination, just after Ruby killed Oswald, the FBI and the Deputy Attorney General issued a memo stating that "the public must be convinced that Oswald is the lone assassin and that he does not have confederates." The mass media followed compliantly, and in essence, drove the getaway car. We learned from the Senate Intelligence Committee, after Watergate, that the media had between 400-600 reporters cooperating in one way or another with the CIA.
The media was banned from the Warren Commission hearings, yet on the day that the 888 page Warren Report was released, it was unanimously supported by the mainstream media. The NYT called it "exhaustive", while those who disagreed were called "witch-hunters". CBS broadcast a two hour "illustration" of the Report on that day. Yet the 26 volumes of hearings and exhibits that the Report was based on were not released for another 2 months.
It was primarily the public along with the alternative media which steadily clarified the contradictions and oversights in the Report and prodded the fourth estate. When New Orleans DA Jim Garrison reopened the investigation, he confronted psychological warfare from the CIA and FBI as well as elements of the mass media. Well-known columnist Jack Anderson served as a hostile liaison to the FBI by interviewing Garrison at length and then reporting to the FBI.
When the House Select Committee on Assassinations was set up to reopen the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. they did not get cooperation from the CIA and the military. HSCA Chief Counsel Robert Blakey declared "My position about the agency is that they did not cooperate with us,, and therefore everything they told us was a lie...We were had." The chair of the HSCA Congressman Richardson Preyer, told me in 1989 that he was deeply frustrated that the military destroyed many of their files, and that his committee needed more time, money and government cooperation.
By 1991 the media, government, and academia had let the case drift into history, until Oliver Stone's movie JFK. The public uproar pushed congress to pass the JFK Act to declassify the remaining documents. They released more than 4 million pages that congress had not yet seen. The law mandated that all of the documents be released by October 2017, yet thousands of files still remain classified.
As Kennedy aide and historian Arthur Schlesinger declared,"we were at war with the national security people." JFK was planning to withdraw combat troops from Vietnam, he proposed a joint space shot with the Soviets, he stopped nuclear testing above ground and was moving to ban all nuclear testing, he was trying to control the CIA, he was exploring diplomacy with Cuba, he pushed through the Alliance for Progress, he was influencing conditions on World Bank loans, he was vigorously prosecuting the mafia, he was pushing to end the oil depletion allowance, he pressed to close 77 military bases and would have retired J. Edgar Hoover. All of that changed after his death.
John Kennedy's challenge to Eastern Europe in 1962 through Voice of America remains vital today, "We seek a free flow of information, for a nation that is afraid to judge truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
About the Author
Mal Hyman has taught for 42 years in public schools, a medium security prison, and at Coker College as a professor of sociology. He has done human rights work in eight countries, monitored foreign elections with the UN, and was the Democratic candidate for the US Congress in SC 7th. He is exploring another run for Congress.
You can purchase the book here