(WMR)—Today, carefully crafted media spin can obliterate the facts of a news story. Although spin has today reached the stage whereby facts of a news story may never emerge, things were a little different on November 22, 1963. The myriad of media sources, including multiple morning and evening edition newspapers with different ownership in various cities, meant that sometimes important news would leak out.
The Dallas Times Herald, an evening paper that served the greater Dallas area and competed with the Dallas Morning News, contains some interesting tidbits in its November 22, 1963 edition, a reprint of which was recently obtained by this editor at the souvenir shop of the “Little White House” in Key West, Florida. It should be noted that one of the reporters for the Times Herald was launched into greater prominence as a result of his coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He is Jim Lehrer, later host of the News Hour on PBS and the moderator of the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The Times Herald, also employed the late Molly Ivins as a columnist from 1981 to 1991 when the paper ceased publication.
The large above-the-fold headline in the Times Herald of November 22, 1963 reads: PRESIDENT DEAD, CONNALLY SHOT,” with the sub-headline: “Johnson Assumes Office.” A lead-in headline reads: “JFK Ambushed in Dallas.”
The paper contains reports that have been largely forgotten, such as the following found on the front page: “There were unconfirmed reports that a Secret Service agent was also killed by gunfire. A spokesman at the Secret Service headquarters at Dallas said could not [sic] confirm or deny the report. ‘All I’ve heard,’ he told newsmen, ‘is the same reports you’ve heard.’”
Lehrer’s story dealt with the security arrangements at the Trade Mart, the venue where President John F. Kennedy was to have spoken. Lehrer wrote: “The Order was issued on the food. The President and his party would receive the same kind of steak as everyone else at the luncheon, his steak selected at random from all the others. The whole crowd would have to be poisoned that way to ensure the death of the President.” The rest of the article praised the Secret Service’s attention to detail, regardless of the fact that the Secret Service’s ineptness or culpability had just permitted the President’s brains to be scattered all over Houston Street.
The following eyewitness report contains some little known items from the assassination scene: “A Dallas woman snapped a candid picture of President Kennedy—then heard the scream, ‘My God, he’s been shot.’ The Polaroid snapshot taken by Mary Moorman, 2832 Ripplewood, shows the President of the United States slumped over the seat of his limousine. His young wife was leaning toward him.
Standing in the street at the triangle west of the Houston and Main Street intersection, Jean Hill, of 9402 Bluff Creek, and her companion were eyewitnesses to the shooting of President Kennedy in Dallas Friday.
Both heard a sequence of shots, saw the President slump over toward his wife, and heard the piercing scream of Mrs. Kennedy. They glanced up to see a man run up the hill across the street from them and another (near the motorcade) pepper bullets at the running figure . . .
‘The President and his wife were looking at a little dog on the seat between them as I looked down on them,’ said Jean Hill.”
From another report in the paper: “A sobbing carpet salesman told police minutes after the shooting the President appeared to be hit twice.”The first time he slumped and the second one really blasted him.” These were the words of Charles Drehm, 38, of 1619 Kings Highway . . . The witness Drehm was shaking uncontrollably as he further described the shooting. ‘The first shot must not have been too solid, because he just slumped. Then on the second shot he seemed to fall back.’ Drehm seemed to think the shots came from in front or beside the President. He explained the President did not slump forward as if he would have after being shot from the rear. The book depository building stands in the rear of the President’s location at the time of the shooting . . .
Although most of the law officers present felt the bullets came from the Texas School Book Depository Building, which towers above the underpass at Houston and Main Streets, a large number of the crowd could not say for sure where the shots came from or how many shots were fired.”
The report continues: “Patrolman W. E. Barker saw workers in the Texas School Book Depository pecking on a window from the third floor and pointing to a man wearing horn-rimmed glasses, a plaid coat and rain coat. The officer immediately arrested the man for questioning and placed him in a roomful of witnesses in Sheriff Bill Decker’s office across the street from the depository. With the young man protesting, the crowd all along the way jeered at him as he was escorted across the street. One woman said to the man, ‘I hope you die.’ Another screamed hysterically, ‘Is that him? Is that him?’ An unidentified photographer shot a picture of the arrested man and then said bitterly, ‘I hope you burn.’ Officers on the case would not explain what connection the man might have with the shooting nor would they identify him.”
It should be noted that Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged lone gunman accused of killing Kennedy, was not arrested until 2:10 pm at the Texas Theater in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. Recently deceased Arlen Specter maintained that Oswald acted alone and that he was not part of a wider conspiracy.
The forefathers of the present-day Tea Party and Mitt Romney supporters were also present on the streets of Dallas. According to the paper, ” . . . on Cedar Springs a young man held up a sign that said, “Because of a high regard for the presidency I hold you and your blind socialist policies in contempt.”
And in a fateful story buried within the Times Herald’s pages on the assassination of Kennedy came this news, which would later adversely affect the way people would obtain their information: “Zenith Radio Corporation . . . has developed a transistorized system of remote tuning that is built into the television set as a convenience for the viewer . . . Using a push-button control box held in the hand, Space Command permits the set owner to turn the receiver on, change channels, adjust volume to low, medium and high, shit off sound from any volume level while the picture stays, and turn off picture and sound completely from an easy chair across the room.”
In another ironic twist, the Times Herald reported on the postponement of the Dallas Civic Opera’s opening performance for the evening of November 22. The postponement was announced by the president of the Dallas Civic Opera, James Bond.
The news reports from the Times Herald stand in stark contrast to a spate of new books, non-fiction and fiction, by Bill O’Reilly, Stephen King, and others that repeat the old worn out mantra that Oswald was a lone deranged gunman who killed Kennedy.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2012 WayneMadenReport.com
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).