Recently PBS aired a documentary on how the news media -- print and
TV -- covered the Kennedy visit to Dallas, the subsequent assasinations,
and follow up.
They showed reporters broadcasting considerable utterly wrong
information because they were in such a hurry to put anything out over
the air. They interviewed upset bystanders who gave notoriously
That remains one of the big problems of "instant" TV journalism, such
as the cable news channels. They're in such a hurry to get something
out over the air they fail to check the story and get the TOTAL
picture. Partial pictures are very misleadings. Don't report an
"explosion" until you know exactly what exploded and the severity.
I remember all local stations in my city suspended normal broadcasts
(at a juicy time) to show a gas main break. The first few seconds
were interesting as the flames were shooting high into the air. But
after that it was meaningless. As it turned out, there were no
injuries to anyone and very little properly damage (the fire was in
the middle of an intersection). Certainly a news story, but not worth
pre-empting other shows for. Obviously the news directors jumped on
the pictorial aspect, rather than the _journalistic_ aspect. That's
what scary about TV news -- it focuses on the PICTURE, not the STORY.
In the 1960s, street protesters learned to create good TV pictures
that made them appear to be far more influential than they really
were. Great propaganda.
As to all the theories about the killings, one of my co-workers
insists I (as a child) was clearly visible standing in the background
in Dallas and obviously had some part. That makes about as much sense
as any other theory.
A few years ago Newsweek did a feature story on this. While the
official version doesn't have the elements of conspiracy and intrigue
that the theories have, Newsweek demonstrated that the official story
was very thoroughly substantiated by the evidence.
I do feel, however, that had Kennedy lived, his legacy would be far
different than the beloved place he occupies in our history. He was
gone and Johnson was the one to escalate in Vietnam, push through
civil rights legislation and massive social spending. It was
Kennedy's "best and brightest" who stayed on under Johnson, and I
think Kennedy would've pushed as hard in Vietnam as Johnson did, with
the same domestic turmoil.