History documentary: Most don’t believe official report on JFK assassination

Fort Worth Star-TelegramNovember 9, 2013 


President John F. Kennedy is seen riding in a motorcade approximately one minute before he was shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. During the 50 years since the assassination, more than 300 different conspiracy theories have been proposed to explain what “really” happened.


  • JFK TV specials

    There seem to be as many specials commemorating the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death this month as there are conspiracy theories.

    “Killing Kennedy” (8 p.m. Sunday, National Geographic Channel): Rob Lowe stars as Kennedy in a film based on the best-selling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. The all-star cast includes Ginnifer Goodwin as Jacqueline Kennedy and Michelle Trachtenberg as Marina Oswald.

    “Capturing Oswald” (10 p.m. Tuesday, Military Channel): Retired Dallas Police Department homicide detectives and officers provide a detailed account of the investigation that had JFK’s alleged assassin in custody within 90 minutes of the shooting.

    “Cold Case JFK” (9 p.m. Wednesday, PBS): Experts use new technology to review the evidence. This includes testing the controversial single-bullet theory, with a team of firearms and ballistics experts using Doppler radar to study a reconstruction of the shooting.

    “Kennedy’s Suicide Bomber” (8 p.m. Nov. 17, Smithsonian Channel): Rare manuscripts, court documents and eyewitnesses reveal the largely untold story of Richard Pavlick, who stalked and plotted to kill President-elect Kennedy in 1960.

    “The Day Kennedy Died” (9 p.m. Nov. 17, Smithsonian Channel): This documentary, narrated by Kevin Spacey, chronicles the tragic day.

    “Dan Rather Reports” (8 p.m. Nov. 18, AXS TV): Rather, who was first to report the president’s death and also to describe the Zapruder film to his TV audience, discusses his recollections of the assassination.

    “JFK: The Lost Tapes” (7 p.m. Nov. 21, Discovery Channel): Newly released government tapes from Air Force One, combined with digitally remastered audio from the Dallas police force and radio recordings of on-site reporters, offer an intimate account of everything that happened after the assassination.

    “Faces of November” (11:45 p.m. Nov. 21, Turner Classic Movies): The last of documentary filmmaker Robert Drew’s films about Kennedy. TCM opens the evening at 8 p.m. with Drew’s earlier JFK documentaries ( “Primary,” “Adventures on the New Frontier” and “Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment”). Following “Faces of November” is Mel Stuart’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Four Days in November” (1964) and the 1963 movie “PT 109,” starring Cliff Robertson.

    “Lee Harvey Oswald: 48 Hours to Live” (10 p.m. Nov. 22, History): A minute-by-minute account of the final two days of Oswald’s life.

During the 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, more than 300 different conspiracy theories have been proposed to explain what “really” happened.

The finger of blame has been pointed at 42 groups, 82 assassins and 214 people.

No one, it seems, can agree on anything regarding the events in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Except for this: Most Americans believe that gunman Lee Harvey Oswald was the only person telling the truth. Which is to say that 4 in 5 four out of five Americans, an overwhelming 80 percent, believe that Oswald was, as he claimed after his arrest, a “patsy” and not the mastermind behind planning the crime.

This revelation comes from a national survey conducted by History channel, the results from which went into making “JFK Assassination: The Definitive Guide,” premiering at 8 p.m. Nov. 22.

It’s one of a multitude of Kennedy / Oswald / assassination / conspiracy-themed documentary specials airing this month.

History polled thousands of Americans to learn exactly what the country does and doesn’t believe.

The survey shows that public skepticism of the “Lone Gunman Theory,” supported by the Warren Commission in 1964, has never been higher. A total of 71 percent of Americans polled reject the “official” explanation.

“With the Kennedy assassination, every American armed with a keyboard and Internet access can get online, selectively pull from the hundreds of shreds of often contradictory evidence, discover the facts that suit their theory and then ‘solve’ the greatest murder mystery of the 20th century,” says Steven Gillon, scholar in residence for the History Channel.

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