Media Deception in the JFK Assassination

Note: This article was written in October of 2013 on the approach to the 50th anniversary of the murder of John Kennedy.
With the 50th anniversary of the murder of John Kennedy approaching all forms of media are grabbing for their share of the Kennedy mystique.  Mainstream media stories on the JFK Assassination are, however, restricted to certain rules that have the net effect of deceiving readers about John Kennedy's murder.  Here, mainstream media is generally meant to be the main broadcast networks and, for the most part, the newspapers and magazines that reach the biggest audiences.  If you want to write a story about JFK's murder and have it published or broadcast in mainstream media you must abide by the following rules:
Condescend
Always use the condescending term "conspiracy theorist" to refer to assassination researchers.  The word "theorist" perpetuates the idea to the uninformed reader that there is no real evidence of conspiracy and that the researchers are just touting unsupported speculation.
Deny Conspiracy
The unstated implication in everything you say should be that no reasonable person seriously believes there's any proof of conspiracy.  You can talk about a particular conspiracy theory as long as it can be disproven and preferably shown to be naïve or ridiculous.  So, for example, you can bring up the crazy idea of the umbrella man shooting at the president with a specially-designed shooting umbrella.  You cannot bring up the fact that Dallas police officers testified that they encountered a man on the grassy knoll showing Secret Service credentials and 2 men behind the book depository claiming to be Secret Service agents despite the fact that the Secret Service had no such agents in those locations when these men were encountered.
Knock Down Straw Men
Set up straw men and knock 'em down.  That is, tell trivial stories with connections to the assassination that nobody really cares about but make it sound like "conspiracy theorists" do.  So, for example, a recent story on the internet solves the mystery of who's name is on the gravestone next to that of JFK's accused killer before it was ever a mystery.  This type of article serves several purposes:
  1. It gives the appearance that the media is reporting on all the conspiracy theories out there.
  2. It leaves the uninformed reader with the impression that this story is typical of all conspiracy theories.
  3. It leaves the impression that assassination researchers, oops, I mean conspiracy theorists, are obsessed with trivial conspiracy theories.
  4. It wastes the readers' time and distracts them from reading serious treatments of the murder that might lead to a meaningful understanding of the historical context of the murder and how justice might be brought in the same way that Nazi hunters have brought people to justice decades after the Holocaust.
  5. Knocking down a straw man has the effect of once again disappointing the reader/viewer by giving them another dose of that disappointing experience of getting excited by the revelation of new evidence only to realize it turns to be a false lead.  This will hopefully undermine any desire they might get to look into the subject themselves expecting it would be a waste of time.
Only Discuss Certain Books
If you review a book it must be 1 of the following types of books:
  1. A book that tells about the troubling life of a lone assassin which led to the murder.
  2. A book that talks about the myth, the mystery or the turbulent life of JFK and doesn't spend time on his murder.
  3. A conspiracy book that promotes a preposterous theory that most viewers will reject immediately - such as claiming that the Secret Service agent in the front seat shot the president.
  4. A conspiracy book that points blame at organized crime or a foreign power (Cuba, U.S.S.R.), but never, NEVER domestic right wing forces or rogue actors within the U.S. government.
  5. A book that makes sensational claims, but is really meaningless and a waste of time.   So, for example, PBS is promoting a novel by Jim Lehrer with the promotion "Jim Lehrer returns to haunting 'What if' in novel on the JFK assassination."  Never try to answer a meaningful 'What if' such as "What if JFK's murderers had been brought to justice?  How different would America be today?"  This, after all, would also violate the rule about giving serious consideration to evidence of a conspiracy.
Never mention the well-researched books written by researchers and investigators like Jim Garrison, Robert Groden, Harold Wesiberg, Mark Lane, Anthony Summers, John Newman, Gerald McKnight, Sylvia Meagher, James Douglas or Dick Russell who went out on their own and recorded historical interviews with witnesses that the Warren Commission and the FBI  studiously avoided.  (The FBI was the Warren Comission's investigative arm).  Definitely avoid federal investigator Gaeton Fonzi's book, "The Last Investigation" which tells the dramatic story of interviewing a Cuban exile who saw JFK's accused killer in the company of an intelligence officer a month before the murder.  If uninformed readers find out that there are really intelligent, well-written assassination research books out there they might go read them and who knows what could happen.
Pretend Psychological Expertise
A nice wrap up to any interview with a lone assassin theorist is to warn the reader or viewer that to entertain thoughts of conspiracy would place them in the class of the mentally-weak who want to believe there was a conspiracy only because they refuse to believe that something so significant as a presidential assassination could be carried out by a lone gunman.  Presenting this argument doesn't require any qualifications in mass psychology and doesn't violate any copyright - it's open source.  Every lone assassin theorist uses it when afforded the opportunity.  Ignore that fact that flipping the argument on it's head would actually make more sense - that we might want to believe in a lone gunman because we can't accept the fact that a sophisticated conspiracy took the life of the president. 
Promote False Debate
In all cases, always talk about the killing as if the debate was whether or not there was a conspiracy.  This has the effect of keeping the debate focused on that question rather than the more important questions that serious researchers moved onto decades ago - "Who did it?" & "Why?"
Never question involvement of U.S. intelligence agencies or the U.S. military
Leave U.S. Intelligence Agencies out of any lists of possible conspirators.  It's OK to mention Cuba,  the USSR or the Mob but never even hint at questions of CIA or military involvement or Secret Service or FBI cover-up or, if you do, dismiss them immediately even though, for example, military conduct at Mr. Kennedy's autopsy raises some serious questions.
Cash in Your Credibility

Many people have the false sense that if the mainstream media says it's so, then it must be so.  It's called credibility.  If you're  a well-known news anchor, now's the time to cash in that perceived credibility with confident, assuming statements that a single gunman killed the president. 

A good example to follow is that of Bob Schieffer who recently on CBS This Morning after promoting a useless book on the Warren Commission, mustered all of his grandfatherly trustworthiness and added a touch of the mild ridicule one might have toward the grandchildren when he confidently stated, "There's no evidence of conspiracy".  A nice touch was Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose dutifully smiling back with Charlie Rose showing his respect for the elder by failing to tell Mr. Schieffer that he, Rose, recently interviewed Robert F. Kennedy's adult son who revealed that RFK thought that "rogue CIA" might be behind the assassination.

Deny the Original FBI Investigation
Never mention that the Warren Commission rejected the FBI's initial report on the assassination when they later realized that the FBI assertion stating JFK & Governor Connally were hit by separated bullets 1.6 seconds apart combined with the fact that the rifle they found could only be fired every 2.3 seconds meant there had to be 2 snipers behind the president.
Deny the House Select Committee
Never mention the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) which convened 13 years after the Warren Commission.  Then you won't have to point out the fact that the HSCA had all of the information the Warren Commission had plus additional government research plus more research provided by the research community which forced it to admit in its final report that a conspiracy murdered the president of the United States of America.  You also then won't have to explain why there was no interest in following up with the question "Who?"
Deny Wikipedia
Wikipedia presents assassination researchers in a fairly even light so don't mention it.  This might have the unintended effect of warming readers/viewers to information shunned by the mainstream media which would cause them the discomfort of having to address some troubling questions in their minds.
Deny the Witnesses
Dismiss or, better yet, never even mention specific witnesses whose testimony contradicts the Warren Report.  Don't bring up eye witness Ed Hoffman who was in a position to see behind the grassy knoll fence during the shooting and reported one man handing a rifle to another man who dismantled it, put it in a bag and walked slowly away.  Don't tell them about Victoria Adams whose testimony precludes the accused assassin of being in the assassin's lair when the shots were fired.  Don’t mention how Rose Cheramie claimed to have been in the company of men on their way to Dallas to murder the president and warned of the president's impending murder 2 days before it happened.  Ignore Abraham Zapruder's impression that a gunshot came from behind him on the grassy knoll while he shot the famous film of the assassination.  And leave out the fact that President Kennedy's personal physician who was with the president immediately after the shooting all the way through the autopsy had information that "others besides Oswald must have participated" and yet, oddly, was never interviewed by either the Warren Commission or the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
Don't Question the Structure of Warren Commission
Never point out that the Warren Commission was not an adversarial proceeding in the tradition of American justice because it didn't allow anyone to defend the accused assassin's interests by being able to challenge the evidence being put up against him.  Don't speculate what might have happened if the accused had been given a fair trial as Walt Brown's book 'The People vs Lee Harvey Oswald'  does.  
Deny Dealey Plaza Gatherings
Flat out lie about annual gatherings on the Grassy Knoll as one major network did one anniversary after showing Ted Kennedy putting flowers on his brother's grave at Arlington National Cemetery.  The news anchor then stated that no events took place in Dallas that day despite the fact that on that anniversary like every one of the previous anniversaries, citizens, researchers & students have held a moment of silence at the scene of the shooting in Dealey Plaza preceded and followed by speakers calling for justice in the case.
Deny Serious Research
Never mention the very-serious, regular and open-to-the-public gatherings of serious researchers and the very meaningful information that comes out at these conferences.   They don't lack for drama, either, such as the conference in Pittsburgh at Duquesne University on the 40th anniversary where Senator & Single Bullet Theory author Arlen Specter renewed his confidence in his single bullet "fact" while Mark Lane stood off to the side waiting for his turn to tear Senator Specter's theory apart.
Deny Researchers on the 50th
On the 50th anniversary, don't mention the serious researchers whose annual gathering on the knoll was hijacked by the Sixth Floor Museum and the Mayor of Dallas who illegally preempted the Coalition on Political Assassinations' (COPA's) annual permit application knowing that COPA did not have the resources to challenge them.  Ignore the gathering of researchers at their exiled location 2 blocks away or, at best, show them in a ridiculous or condescending way with narration that portrays them as "conspiracy theorists" with pretensions that have no real substance.
Overall Goals
The overall goal of these rules is to discourage honest, patriotic Americans from taking responsibility for their own history and their own democracy by picking up and reading a book or listening to the story of a witness like Ed Hoffman on YouTube.  That might cause them to decide for themselves whether or not there was a conspiracy to kill the president which could have the unintended consequence of them moving to the real questions  that need to be answered: "Who?", "Why?" and "What do we do about it?"