Dallas Diminishes JFK, His Legacy, and Those Who Care About Democracy

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Welcome to the JFK Assassination Cover-up, Chapter 20.

The Dallas Morning News, notoriously uninterested in real journalism about the most infamous event ever to take place in its city, recently ran a JFK-related piece in its entertainment section. One of a flood of stories purporting to provide insight into the event as we head toward the 50th anniversary, it was headlined:

Looking for fiction about the JFK assassination? Choose carefully

Now, why would we need fiction about the JFK assassination, when most of the purported u201Cfactu201D put out by the establishment is, as any serious researcher will tell you, straight from someone's imagination? Nevertheless, here is this article on what to look for among offerings that openly proclaim themselves fanciful accounts.

Before the author of the Morning News piece gets to his favorite novels, however, he must show obeisance to the mandatory establishment line on the event itself:

With next year's 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination in sight, Dallas is about to experience a torrent of books revisiting Nov. 22, 1963, and its long aftermath.

There will be memoirs such as the recent one by Secret Service agent Clint Hill. There will be self-published u201CI saw three Guatemalan midget shooters on the grassy knollu201D conspiracy books. There will be several charging that LBJ was behind it all. (LBJ is currently a growth industry in conspiracy circles.)

There will be books claiming that Oswald, or whoever, ended the reign of Camelot (see Bill O'Reilly's Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot, published this October). No matter that the idea of the Kennedy years as an incarnation of a golden age in American history was a whole-cloth fantasy concocted by a shell-shocked Jackie Kennedy two weeks after her husband was killed. [snip]

Many might find these opening paragraphs deeply offensive, with their snide, even vicious references to hallucinating losers seeing u201CGuatemalan midget shootersu201D; gullible fools feeding a u201Cgrowth industry;u201D and Jackie, all alone, u201Cconcoctingu201D a u201Cwhole-cloth fantasyu201D that John F. Kennedy was actually doing important things when he was cut down.

Now, why would a u201Crespectableu201D newspaper publish this kind of thing? And who would write it?

At the bottom of the essay, we learn that u201CSpecial Contributoru201D Don Graham

u201Cis the J. Frank Dobie Regents professor of American and English literature at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is teaching a course on the history of the Kennedy assassination. He's the author of several books on Texas culture, including State of Minds: Texas Culture & Its Discontents and Kings of Texas: The 150-Year Saga of an American Ranching Empire.

It's amazing that in a liberal city like Austin, a formidable university would have an endowed chair occupied by someone willing to write such an article. Or is it? Is it any coincidence that a school largely funded by people who have little use for JFK and his attempt to change the tax structure for oil interests would have a person u201Cteaching a course on the history of the Kennedy assassinationu201D who is capable of ignoring the many books by serious researchers that present evidence of an organized hit? Prof. Graham apparently cannot fathom that long-time fans, enablers and perpetrators of violent coups against democratically elected leaders abroad could possibly support or cover up yet another coup, albeit a domestic one, against a man they deemed a threat. The professor is also content to ignore the final report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (1979), which concluded that Kennedy was most likely killed as the result of a conspiracy.

But the Morning News does not stop there. It publishes a letter in reply, from another professor, declaring that students at Dallas-based Southern Methodist University are being taught the truth about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The headline on the Letter to the Editor is bold:

You want to talk JFK assassination? Bring it on.

Now, a reasonable person, having read Prof. Graham's essay, might reasonably assume that the Morning News would seek to create some balance by publishing letters from those who disagree. And the headline would seem to confirm that this letter presents another perspective. But does it? Let's take a look.

No reader of serious fiction inclined to tackle Libra, Don DeLillo's challenging but deeply rewarding novel about the events leading up to the assassination of President Kennedy, should be deterred by the essayist's facile and reductive synopsis of its plot. DeLillo has about as much in common with Oliver Stone as does a fine wine with a Bud Lite.

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Russ Baker is an award-winning investigative reporter. He has written for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Village Voice and Esquire and dozens of other major domestic and foreign publications. He has also served as a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. Baker received a 2005 Deadline Club award for his exclusive reporting on George W. Bush's military record. He is the author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America (Bloomsbury Press, 2009); it was released in paperback as Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. For more information on Russ's work, see his sites, and