| JFK AND THE MEDIA / Censorship
All the News that Wasn't "Fit to Print"
in THE NEW YORK TIMES*
[Editor's Note: Jerry Policoff has achieved a distinctive niche
in American journalism for his courageous and intelligent critiques
of the failure of the Fourth Estate to provide competent and informed
coverage of the assassinations that have so profoundly affected
the history of this country. This classic bears reading again and
again for the perspective it provides on a chronic problem.]
Since the publication of the Pentagon Papers, The New York Times,
America's most prestigious newspaper, has been the recipient of what
may be an unparalleled stream of tributes and awards for its
dedication to the principles of a free press and the people's right
Unfortunately the Pentagon Papers represent something of a
departure -- if that is, in fact, what they are -- for the paper whose
image of its role was described by Gay Talese in his critically
acclaimed biography of the Times, The Kingdom and the Power, as
the "responsible spokesman for the system."
For the Times often
places secondary importance upon its responsibility to inform the
public when that responsibility conflicts with its own concept of
that ominous and all-encompassing enigma known as "the national
The example of the Bay of Pigs is well known. The Times had
deduced by evaluating various published accounts that a United
States trained and financed group of Cuban exiles was about to
invade Cuba. The story was to be a major exclusive featured on
the front page. Instead the management of the Times decided to
play down the story and strip it of its revelations. It appeared
inside the paper under the deliberately misleading subhead, "Quick
Action Opposed." Thus
a major diplomatic and strategic blunder
which might otherwise have been averted was not.
In 1966 when Dean Rusk protested to the Times that an impending
news series on the CIA was not in the national interest,
the Times responded by sending the completed series to John
McCone, former head of the CIA, for editing. Turner Catledge,
then Managing Editor, wrote a placating memo to his concerned boss,
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, the Publisher of the Times. "I don't
know of any other series in my time," wrote Catledge, "which has
been prepared with greater care and with such remarkable attention
to the views of the agency involved as this one."
There is little wonder that Talese described the relationship
between the highest levels of the U.S. Government and The New
York Times as "a hard alliance" which, in any large
showdown, "would undoubtedly close ranks and stand together."
The 1960s represented a dark decade for many millions of Americans
who saw their hopes and aspirations for the future dashed amid the
blaze of guns that struck down President John F. Kennedy, the
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. In
all three cases the official verdict was swift: lone assassin; no
conspiracy. In all three cases serious doubts remain -- doubts that
have encountered little more than official silence and denial.
The political assassinations of the '60s seem to have given rise to
a most peculiar policy at The New York Times, a policy that
maintains that the "official" line is the only line. In the process
the Times has subjected its readers to distortion,
misrepresentation, and outright deception.
Harrison E. Salisbury, Assistant Managing Editor of the Times,
described the Times performance in the wake of the President's
assassination thusly: "The Times by principle and by habit
considers itself a `newspaper of record' [which] consciously
seeks to present all of the facts required by a public spirited
citizen to formulate an intelligent opinion. Clearly the shooting
of the President would require an extraordinary record -- detailed,
accurate, clear, complete.
"Thus the initial responsibility of the Times is to provide an
intimate, detailed, accurate chronology of events. . . . The
Times record must be the one that will enable the reader to
pick his way, fairly well, through fact, fiction, and rumor."
Salisbury's prose made good reading, but it hardly describes the
true nature of the Times coverage, epitomized by the definitive
headline of November 25, 1963, "President's Assassin Shot to
Death in Jail Corridor by a Dallas Citizen." Thus
the Times required no Warren Commission to tell it what it
had already assumed three days after the President's
assassination: that Lee Harvey Oswald, the official
suspect, was the assassin.
Nor were Jack Ruby's motives any mystery to the Times as
was demonstrated the same day by the headline, "Kennedy Admirer
Fired One Bullet." Other stories, e.g. "Doctors Question
Oswald's Sanity," and "Lone Assassin the Rule in U.S.: Plotting
More Prevalent Abroad," tended to reinforce the erratic
nature of the "assassin" and the notion that conspiracies are
foreign to the American political scene.
Once the Warren Commission was formed the Times acted as
little less than a press agent for it. On March 30, 1964 -- a
mere twelve days after the Warren Commission had begun its
field investigation in Dallas  -- the Times carried an AP story
reporting that the Commission had "found no evidence that the
crime was anything but the irrational act of an individual,
according to knowledgeable sources."
On June 1, the Times ran a Page One exclusive, "Panel to
Reject Theories of Plot in Kennedy's Death," which amounted
to an extensive preview of the Warren Report nearly four
months prior to its official release.
When the Warren Commission's report was issued on September
27, 1964 its most vocal advocate was The New York Times. The
lead story said that "the commission analysed every issue in
exhaustive, almost archeological detail." A Times
editorial said that "the facts -- exhaustively gathered,
independently checked and cogently set forth -- destroy the basis
for conspiracy theories that have grown weedlike in this
country and abroad."
Arthur Krock called the report a "definitive history of
and C.L. Sulzberger expressed relief at
the report's conclusions. "It was essential in these restless
days," wrote Sulzberger, "to remove unfounded suspicions that
could excite latent jingo spirit. And it was necessary to
reassure our allies that ours is a stable reliable
Such unequivocal praise of the Warren Report was nothing less
than irresponsible journalism. There had been barely enough
time for a thorough reading of the report, and the testimony
and exhibits upon which it supposedly was based were not yet
available. Without the latter no objective appraisal of the
report was possible.
The Times also made quite a financial proposition out of
the Warren Report. The entire report was printed as a
supplement to the September 28 edition. In addition the
Times collaborated with the Book of the Month Club on a
hard-bound edition and with Bantam Books on a soft-bound
edition of the report (with a laudatory introduction by
Harrison Salisbury in the latter).
By the end of the first week Bantam had printed 1,100,000
the Times would later imply that
the critics of the report were guilty of exploitation because
of the "minor, if lucrative industry" that arose from their
challenges to the official version of the assassination.
Nor was the Times less effusive when the 26-volumes of
exhibits and testimony were released on November 24. The
Times instant analysis of the more than 10 million words
contained in the volumes brought the premature observation that
their publication by the Warren Commission "brings to a close
its inquiry, at once monumental and meticulous."
Within a month, again in collaboration with Bantam, the
Times published The Witnesses, consisting of "highlights"
of the hearings before the Warren Commission, prepared by
"a group of editors and reporters of The New York Times."
The Witnesses included the affidavit of Arnold Rowland
stating that he had observed a man with a rifle on the 6th
floor of the Texas School Book Depository before the
assassination, but not his testimony in which he stated that
he had actually seen two men, and that the FBI had told
him to "forget it," and in which he stated his opinion that
the source of the shots had been the railroad yards
in front of the President.
Omitted from the testimony of amateur photographer Abraham
Zapruder was his statement that his immediate reaction was
that the shots had come from behind him (in front of the
Similar statements relating an immediate impression that the
shots had come from the front were deleted from the excerpted
testimony of David F. Powers, a special assistant to the
President, and Secret Service Agent Forest V. Sorrels, as
it appeared in The Witnesses.
Deleted from the testimony of Secret Service Agents William
Greer, Clinton Hill, and Roy Kellerman was the description
each gave of a bullet wound in the President's back below
the shoulder (the "official" autopsy report placed it about
six inches higher in the neck). Also omitted from Agent
Hill's excerpted testimony was his statement that he was not
certain that all of the shots had come from the rear, and
that they did not all sound alike.
Autopsy surgeon Commander James J. Humes' excerpted testimony
in The Witnesses omitted his statement that he had destroyed
the first draft of the autopsy, as well as his verbal
gymnastics in reconciling the location of the bullet holes
six inches below the collar in the President's shirt and
jacket with the officially designated location of the wound
in the neck.
Both Humes and Colonel Pierre Finck, a second autopsy
surgeon, were skeptical that the nearly pristine bullet
found on a stretcher in Parkland Hospital could have hit
both Kennedy and Governor Connally (the Warren Commission
ultimately concluded that this was indeed the case), but
these exchanges also were omitted from The Witnesses, as
was the portion of the testimony of Nelson Delgado, a
friend of Oswald's from his Marine Corps days, in which he
referred to Oswald's extremely poor marksmanship.
Testimony left out of The Witnesses altogether included
numerous witnesses who reported at least some shots fired
from the front, including Jean Hill who reported seeing a
man fleeing from the area of the "grassy knoll" after the
shooting. Also left out was the testimony of Wilma Tice
and reporter Seth Kantor who reported seeing (the latter
conversing with) Jack Ruby at Parkland Hospital, as well
as many others who gave relevant but inconvenient testimony
before the Warren Commission.
In short, The Witnesses was a careful selection of only
that testimony which tended to support the official findings
contained in the Warren Report. It was a patently biased
and dishonest work, shamelessly slanted toward the
lone-assassin hypothesis, and capitalizing on the legendary
objectivity of The New York Times.
In Europe where the press had been less eager to embrace the
official findings of the Warren Commission, the assassination
rapidly became a controversy. Who Killed Kennedy, a
critical book by American expatriate Thomas Buchanan was
already a best-seller by the end of 1964.
In Britain, Bertrand Russell organized a "Who Killed Kennedy
Committee" composed of some of the most influential members
of the British intellectual community.
In December 1964, Hugh Trevor-Roper, well-known British
historian and Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford
University, writing in The Sunday Times of London,
accused the Warren Commission of setting up a smokescreen
of irrelevant material while failing to ask elementary
and essential questions.
In the United States, too, the report slowly emerged as
a major issue -- spurred first by a number of critical
articles and later by a series of major books.
George and Patricia Nash documented Commission negligence in
the October 1964 New Leader by locating without difficulty
three witnesses to the slaying of Patrolman Tippit who had
not been called by the Warren Commission, but whose accounts
differed radically from the Commission's.
The January and March 1965 issues of Liberation magazine
carried articles highly critical of the Warren Report by
Philadelphia attorney Vincent Salandria. An article in the
January 1965 American Bar Association Journal by Alfredda
Scobey, a lawyer and former Warren Commission staff member,
acknowledged that much of the evidence against Oswald was
circumstantial and strongly implied that Oswald's conviction
would have been less than guaranteed had he gone to trial.
In February, 1966 the 18th annual meeting of the American
Academy of Forensic Sciences held a symposium which scored
the Commission for its failure to hear enough expert
testimony, and for failing to examine the photos and X-rays
taken of the President's body during the autopsy.
On May 29, 1966 the Warren Report became a national issue
overnight when The Washington Post ran an 8-column banner
headline on Page One, "An Inquest: Skeptical Postscript to
Warren Group's Report on Assassination," dealing with Harold
Weisberg's Whitewash and Edward J. Epstein's Inquest. The
article covered a sizeable portion of page 1 and nearly all of
page 3, and concluded that the two books raised "grave doubts
about the Commission's work."
Epstein had obtained interviews from several members of the
Warren Commission and its staff and was given access to a
number of internal Commission memoranda (the book began as an
intended Masters thesis). Concentrating on the internal
workings of the Commission, Epstein argued that bureaucratic
pressures from within and time pressures imposed from without
had severely handicapped the Commission with the result that
the investigation was superficial rather than exhaustive.
He cited the discrepancies pertaining to the location of the
President's back wound, noting that the holes in the
President's shirt and jacket, the report on the autopsy filed
by FBI agents Siebert and O'Neill, and the testimony of three
Secret Service agents all placed the location in the back
below the shoulder while the official autopsy report located
the wound significantly higher at the base of the neck. The
higher location was essential to the Warren Commission's
theory that the wound in the President's throat was one of
exit for a bullet that had traversed his neck from the rear.
Epstein contended that the Warren Commission was more interested
in dispelling rumors than in exposing facts and that it
preferred not to consider the possibility that there had been
a second assassin. He implied the belief that the Warren
Commission had deliberately altered the autopsy report, adding
that if this were the case the Warren Report would have to
be viewed as an expression of "political truth."
Weisberg approached the issue on a much broader level by
carefully dissecting the mass of evidence purported by the
Warren Commission to prove that Oswald was the lone
assassin. In addition to the back wound discrepancy, Weisberg
went into such matters as Oswald's marksmanship; the lack of
tangible evidence linking Oswald with the shooting or the 6th
floor window with the actual source of the shots; the
shooting of officer Tippit, etc. Weisberg strongly implied
that more than one gunman had been involved and that it was
by no means certain that Oswald had been one of them.
The major issues that arose out of these books and books
that followed included:
- The Single-Bullet Theory: The Commission's re-enactment
of the assassination and observation of the film of the
assassination taken by Zapruder revealed that from the time
when Kennedy would first have been visible to a man perched in
the 6th floor window until the time Governor Connally was
shot, Oswald's gun was capable of firing only one round. The
Commission concluded that a virtually pristine bullet found
on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital had passed through the
President's neck, hit Connally in the back shattering a rib,
emerged from his chest, traversed his wrist, lodged in his
thigh, and then fell out onto the stretcher.
The Commission theorized that Connally had experienced a
delayed reaction to his wounds, explaining why the Zapruder
film appeared to show him unhit until a point significantly
after the President definitely had been. Critics argued
that it was extremely unlikely that one bullet could have
accounted for seven wounds, shattering bone along the way,
and still emerge undeformed. They also argued that a
bullet striking bone, as was the case with Connally, results
in an immediate reaction in compliance with the physical
law of transfer of momentum, and that the later reaction by
Connally, therefore, indicated that he had been hit by a
- The Grassy Knoll: Law-enforcement officers and
bystanders immediately converged on this area after the
assassination as the apparent source of the shots. It
was located to the right front of the President.
- The Head Snap: The Zapruder film revealed that upon
impact of the final and fatal bullet the President's head
was thrust violently to the left and to the rear -- a reaction
that seemed consistent with a shot fired from the grassy
- The Throat Wound: The wound in the President's throat
was originally diagnosed as an entrance wound by the doctors
who treated him at Parkland Hospital. The Commission's
contention that it was an exit wound was challenged by most
of the critics.
The Warren Report was soon under attack from all sides. In
July 1966 Richard Goodwin, a former advisor and close
associate of President Kennedy, reviewed Inquest for Book
Week. He called the book "impressive" and called for the
convening of a panel to evaluate the findings of the Warren
Commission and determine if a completely new investigation
was warranted. He later
added that there were other
associates of the late President "who feel as I do."
In September 1966 a Harris Poll found that 54% of the
American public doubted that the Warren Commission had told
the full story. The
same month Mark Lane's Rush to
Judgment made the Best Seller List of The New York
Times (by November 1966 it was the Number One Best Seller,
a position it maintained for several months).
The Times of London called for a new investigation toward
the end of September 1966, a call that was echoed in The
London Observer by Lord Devlin, one of England's most
respected legal figures.
On September 28, 1966 Manhattan Congressman Theodore Kupferman
asked Congress to conduct its own investigation into the
adequacy of the Warren Report.
Writing in the October 1966 Commentary Alexander Bickel,
Chancellor Kent of Yale University, called for a new
investigation observing that "the findings of the Warren
Commission, and the fatuous praise with which all of the
voices of the great majority greeted them two years ago,
were in some measure a matter of wish fulfillment."
The November 25, 1966 cover of Life magazine featured a
frame from the Zapruder film with the bold caption: "Did
Oswald Act Alone? A Matter of Reasonable Doubt." Life
questioned the validity of the single-bullet theory and
concluded that "a new investigative body should be set up,
perhaps at the initiative of Congress."
The January 14, 1967 Saturday Evening Post also carried
a cover story challenging the Warren Report, and it also
ran an editorial calling for a new inquiry.
Others who publicly expressed doubts about the conclusions
of the Warren Commission included Senators Russell Long,
Eugene McCarthy, Strom Thurmond, William Fulbright, and
Thomas Dodd; Congressmen Ogden Reid, John W. Wydler, and
William F. Ryan; Arthur Schlesinger Jr., William Buckley,
Norman Mailer, Murray Kempton, Max Lerner, Pete Hammill,
Walter Lippman, Dwight MacDonald, Richard H. Rovere,
Cardinal Cushing and many others.
The reaction of The New York Times was less than
enthusiastic. Following the May 29, 1966 Washington
Post headline, a Times reporter was assigned to do a
story on the emerging controversy. His story appeared
on June 5 -- not on page 1, but on page 42. The author of
the piece wrote one of the critics: "With space
limitations and national desk instructions, I am sorry
that everything but the single-bullet hypothesis got
forced out of the story.
Whitewash and Inquest were reviewed in the July 3 New
York Times Book Review by the Times' Supreme Court
correspondent, Fred Graham. The Times apparently saw no
conflict in assigning Graham to review two books severely
critical, implicitly if not explicitly, of the then Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court. The review was largely a
defense of the methods utilized by the Warren Commission
under the direction of "the nation's most distinguished
Graham called Weisberg a "painstaking investigator," but
added that he "questions so many points made by the
report that the effect is blunted -- it is difficult to
believe that any institution could be as inept, careless,
wrong, or venal as he implies. Rather, the reader is
impressed with the elusiveness of truth. . . ."
Graham called Inquest superficial, and he criticized
Epstein's use of the words "political truth," claiming
that Epstein was actually charging deliberate fraud. Graham
admitted that the single-bullet theory was "porous," but he
maintained that no other explanation made sense because if
another assassin had fired from the Book Depository it would
have been unlikely that he and his rifle could disappear
without a trace.
Graham avoided alternatives that did make sense, e.g., that
an assassin or assassins had fired from the grassy knoll. He
concluded that "a major scholarly study is not feasible now
because the crucial papers in the archives . . . have not yet
On the one hand he was ignoring the fact that the Times had
lauded the Warren Report before any evidence was available, and
on the other hand he was passing judgment in advance on any
subsequent critical works, a fact that should have disqualified
him as a reviewer of future books on the subject.
On August 28, 1966 Mark Lane's Rush to Judgment and Leo
Sauvage's The Oswald Affair were reviewed in The New York
Times Book Review by Fred Graham. His review gave the false
impression that both books relied mainly on eyewitness
testimony rather than more tangible hard evidence. "Eyewitness
testimony," noted Graham, "is far less reliable than it seems
He made the incredible observation that the main source of the
Warren Commission's dilemma lay in the fact that it had to
issue a report. The broad proof against Oswald and the lack of
evidence pointing to any other possible assassin, according to
Graham, gave the Commission no choice "but to smooth over the
inconsistencies to the extent possible and brand Oswald the
Graham concluded with the unsubstantiable claim that Oswald
would easily have been convicted of murder by any jury faced
with the material before the Warren Commission and in these
As the controversy grew the Times greeted the issue with a
most astonishing article in the September 11, 1966 New York
Times Magazine, entitled "No Conspiracy, But -- Two Assassins,
Perhaps?" by Henry Fairlie, an English political
commentator. Fairlie acknowledged that it was hard to dispute
the contention that the Warren Commission "did a hurried and
slovenly job," and he conceded that there might well have
been more than one assassin; "available evidence seems to me
But he contended that even if this supposition were made, "it
still does not justify making the long leap to a conspiracy
theory," because even if two or more people were involved, he
argued, "it is possible to regard such people as fanatics or
nuts and nothing more." Of course, if there were two or more
people involved it was, by definition, a conspiracy.
The article concluded that it was not the proper time for a
new investigation, for "to set up another independent body with
no promise that it would succeed, would be to agitate public
doubt without being certain that it could in the end, settle
it. Popular fear and hysteria are dangerous weirds to excite . . ."
Thus it would appear that to Henry Fairlie and The New York
Times it was more important to support the official findings
of the Warren Commission -- even though questionable -- than to
look further into the President's assassination and risk
adding to the already existing doubt and scepticism about those
findings, warranted or not.
The Times Investigation
Toward the end of 1966 a degree of dissatisfaction with the
conclusions of the Warren Commission began to manifest itself
at the Times.
Tom Wicker wrote in his column that a number of impressive
books had opened to question the Warren
Commission's "procedures, its objectivity and its members
diligence. The damaging fear has been planted, here as well
as abroad, that the commission -- even if subconsciously -- was
more concerned to quiet public fears of conspiracy and
treachery than it was to establish the unvarnished truth, and
thus made the facts fit a convenient thesis." Wicker endorsed
the call for a Congressional review that had been made by
Harrison Salisbury radically revised his early praise of the
Report -- not in the Times but in the November 1966 issue
of The Progressive, a magazine of limited
circulation. While reiterating his belief that Oswald acted
alone, Salisbury wrote that his reading of Inquest and Rush
to Judgment, both of which he called "serious, thoughtful
examinations," had convinced him that questions of major
importance remained unanswered.
Like Wicker, he endorsed the Kupferman resolution, adding
the principal areas of doubt. The nation no longer lives in
the trauma which persisted for months after the President's
death. The Warren Commission had good reason to concern itself
for the national interest, to worry about national morale, to
take upon itself the task of damping down rumors. But today
and tomorrow the sole criteria of an inquiry should be the
truth -- every element of it that can be obtained -- and a frank
facing of unresolved and unresolvable dilemmas.
On November 16, 1966, on the other hand, Clifton Daniel, then
Managing Editor, in addressing a public symposium on "The Role
of the Mass Media in Achieving and Preserving a Free Society,"
defended the Warren Report and accused its critics
of "dragging red herrings all over the place."
Under this setting the Times quietly undertook, in early
November 1966, a new investigation of the assassination
under the direction of Harrison Salisbury. "We will go
over all the areas of doubt." Salisbury told Newsweek, "and
hope to eliminate them."
On November 25, with the unpublicized investigation already
underway, the Times ran a carefully worded editorial,
"Unanswered Questions," which maintained that there were
enough solid doubts of thoughtful citizens to require official
answers. "Further dignified silence, or merely more denials
by the commission or its staff, are no longer enough."
About a month into the investigation Salisbury received
permission from the government of North Vietnam to visit
Hanoi, and he quickly departed for Paris to complete final
preparations for the trip. Shortly after his departure the
Times investigation was ended.
Reporter Peter Kihss, a member of the team, wrote Ms. Sylvia
Meagher on January 7, 1967, "Regrettably the project has
broken off without any windup story, at least until Harrison
Salisbury, who was in charge, gets back from North Vietnam."
Another member of the team, Gene Roberts -- then Atlanta
bureau chief and at the time I spoke with him National Editor
of the Times (he recently left to become Executive Editor
of The Philadelphia Enquirer) -- told me that "There was no
real connection between Salisbury going to Hanoi and the
decision not to publish, or to disband the inquiry. It just
kind of happened that way. Presumably if he had been here
he might have knocked it off even sooner or he might have
continued it a week or two. I just don't know.
Roberts told me that the team was unable to find evidence
supporting the contentions of the critics. "We found no
evidence that the Warren Report was wrong," he said, "which
is not to say that the Warren Report was right. We are not
in the business of printing opinion, and that is why nothing
was printed in the end."
If Salisbury's words to Newsweek are to be taken literally
the purpose of the investigation to begin with was to shore
up the findings of the Warren Commission. There can be little
doubt that if the investigation had strongly reaffirmed those
findings it would have been boldly splashed across the front
page. Yet there now seem to be several versions as to just
what that investigation found.
George Palmer, Assistant to the Managing Editor, wrote one
questioner that nothing had been printed about the
investigation "for the simple reason that there were no
but he wrote me that "the discontinuance of
our inquiries meant that they had substantially reaffirmed
the findings of the Warren Commission."
Palmer also wrote me that the determination to discontinue
the investigation was made upon the return of Harrison
Salisbury from Hanoi. Walter Sullivan, Times Science
Editor, writing on behalf of Salisbury, wrote Washington
attorney Bernard Fensterwald, Chairman of the Committee to
Investigate Assassinations, "It is true that an intensive
investigation of the J.F. Kennedy assassination was carried
out by the Times staff under Mr. Salisbury's
supervision. It was set aside when he suddenly received
permission to visit Hanoi. At this stage, Mr. Salisbury
tells me, it had become obvious that the President was
killed by a single demented man and that no conspiracy was
involved. The investigation has therefore not been
Following the Times at best inconclusive investigation
its advocacy of the official line became at least as rigid
as it had ever been. An anonymous review of "The Truth
About the Assassination" by Charles Roberts, Newsweek's
White House correspondent, said:
"Publish 10,400,000 words of research and what do you
get? In the case of the Warren Commission and the book
business, you get a fabulously successful spin-off
called the assassination industry, whose products would
never stand the scrutiny of Consumers Union. Consumers
buy it as they buy most trash: the packaging promises
satisfaction but the innards are mostly distortions,
unsupported theories and gaping omissions" that
are "neatly debunked by Charles Roberts. . . .
"By selecting the incredible and the contradictory,
scavengers like Mark Lane sowed confusion. By writing
an honest guide for the perplexed, Roberts performs
a public service."
In fact, Roberts' book was extremely superficial, its
text consuming a mere 118 pages. It glossed over the
crucial evidence, substituting personal invective against
the critics for answers to their criticisms.
In late 1967 the publication of Six Seconds In Dallas
by Professor Josiah Thomson and Accessories After The
Fact by Sylvia Meagher further fanned the flames of
the Warren controversy. Ms. Meagher had previously
distinguished herself by putting together a subject
index to the 26-volumes -- a service the Warren Commission
had neglected to provide.
Six Seconds In Dallas was previewed by The Saturday
Evening Post, which featured the book's jacket on its
December 2, 1967 cover along with the headline "Major
New Study Shows Three Assassins Killed Kennedy." An
editorial in that issue stated that it had now
been "demonstrated fairly conclusively that the Warren
Commission was wrong."
Thompson's book contained a comprehensive study of the
Zapruder film, graphs of the reaction of Connally, tables
summarizing the impressions of eyewitnesses, interviews
with crucial witnesses, mathematical calculations of the
acceleration of the President's head in relation to the
movement of the car, etc. The book was profusely
illustrated with photographs, drawings and charts.
Accessories After the Fact was an exhaustive analysis
of the 26 volumes and related material from the National
Archives not contained in the volumes. Playboy called
it "the best of the new crop of books -- and the most
chilling in its implications."
Playboy called the most unsettling aspect of both
books "the failure of the Warren Commission to
investigate, evaluate -- or even acknowledge -- the huge body
of evidence in its possession indicating the possible
presence of more than one gunman . . .
"These new books lend weight to widening appeals by
Congressmen and the press for an independent new
investigation . . ."
Congressman Theodore Kupferman said, "On the subject of
the Warren Report, Sylvia Meagher could replace a
computer," calling her book "overwhelming."
Congressman William F. Ryan said, "Sylvia Meagher raises
a number of disturbing questions." He added that it
pointed out the need for a Congressional review of the
findings of the Warren Commission."
Both books were reviewed in The New York Times Book
Review on February 28, 1968 -- by Fred Graham, of
course. Graham found it astonishing that there was such
a degree of disbelief "in a document that has the
endorsement of some of the highest officials in the
Government." He contended that inconsistencies
notwithstanding, "None of the critics have been able
to suggest any other explanation that fits the known
facts better than the Warren Commission's."
Graham found Ms. Meagher's book "a bore," and he found
that Thompson's scientific approach ignored "the larger
logic of the Warren Report. Although it has seemed that
the flow of anti-`Warren Report' books would never end,"
he continued, "these two may represent a sweet climax."
The New Orleans Aftermath
The New York Times followed the March 1, 1969 acquittal
of Clay L. Shaw (charged by New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison
with conspiring to assassinate the late President) with a
renewed offensive against previous criticism of the Warren
Report. An editorial on March 2 referred to Garrison's
"obsessional conviction about the fraudulent character of
the Warren Commission" as a "fantasy."
The News of the Week in Review that day carried a piece
by Sidney Zion, "Garrison Flops on the Conspiracy Theory,"
which maintained, in essence, that Garrison had "restored
the credibility of the Warren Report." The Times ignored
the fact that the jury had been charged solely with the
duty of determining the guilt or innocence of Mr. Shaw,
not with determining the validity of the Warren Report.
On April 20, 1969 The New York Times Magazine carried an
article, "The Final Chapter in the Assassination
Controversy?" by Edward J. Epstein, onetime critic of
the Warren Report.
Epstein's article was a bitter attack upon the critics
which impugned their motives and integrity, and implied that
much of their criticism was politically motivated. He
suggested that many of the critics were "demonologists" with
"books as well as conspiracy theories to advertise,"
doubtless excluding his own Inquest from this category. He
conspicuously neglected to mention that only Inquest had
accused the Commission of seeking "political truth."
Epstein was less critical of Professor Thompson and
Ms. Meagher, both of whom had disassociated themselves from
Garrison and his investigations, but he maintained that
their books contained only two substantial arguments
which, if true, would preclude Oswald as the lone
assassin -- the improbability of the single-bullet theory and
the backward acceleration of the President's head.
To dispose of the first point Epstein relied upon
a CBS inquiry which had theorized that 3 jiggles
in the Zapruder film represented the photographer's
reaction to the sound of shots, and therefore
themselves coincided with the points at which the
shots were fired.
CBS had thereby hypothesized that the first shot had
been fired at an earlier point than the Warren Commission
had believed likely -- at a point when the President would
have been visible from the 6th floor window for
about 1/10th of a second through a break in the foliage
of a large oak tree which otherwise obstructed the view
until a later point.
However, CBS had failed to mention that jiggles appeared
at several other points in the film, and that there were
five jiggles, not three, in the frame sequence in
question. Life magazine, which owns the original
Zapruder film, rejected the "jiggle theory" in November
1966, attributing all but the most violent one that
coincided with the head shot to imperfections in the
The CBS analysis was a skillful deception which has been
thoroughly discredited, including by Professor Thompson in
his book (see Six Seconds In Dallas, Appendix F -- a
critique of the CBS documentary, The Warren
Report). Epstein maintained that the CBS analysis
persuasively argued that the President and Governor Connally
could have been hit by separate bullets by a single
assassin, and that the single-bullet theory had
therefore been rendered "irrelevant."
What is more significant than the questionable nature of
the CBS analysis is the fact that Epstein misrepresented
the conclusions, for CBS did not theorize an earlier hit, but
an earlier miss. CBS recognized that an earlier hit meant
a steeper trajectory, precluding the throat wound being one of
exit, and again implying a fraudulent autopsy report.
CBS reluctantly endorsed the single-bullet theory
as "essential" to the lone-assassin findings of the Warren
too, recognized this when he wrote
in Inquest: "Either both men were hit by the same bullet,
or there were two assassins." His misrepresentation of
the CBS study alleviated him of the problem of credibly
defending the single-bullet theory -- an undertaking he
obviously did not relish.
Epstein dismissed the head movement by citing a report
released by the Justice Department in January 1969 in which
a panel of forensic pathologists who had studied the
sequestered autopsy photos and X-rays had concluded that
they supported the Warren Report. But even superficial study
of the Panel Report (its popular name) revealed glaring
differences between it and the original autopsy report.
Thus again Epstein relied upon a study which raised more
questions than it answered in an effort to explain away
irreconcilable deficiencies in the Warren Report. In
this way he was able to conclude that he knew of no
substantial evidence "that indicated there was more than
one rifleman firing."
Ms. Meagher and Professor Thompson sent the Times letters
of almost identical length, both challenging the veracity
of the CBS study and the Panel Report. But Ms. Meagher's
letter also included quotes from a letter Epstein had
written her more than a year earlier: "I am shocked that 5
not 3 frames were blurred. If this is so, CBS was
egregiously dishonest and the tests are meaningless." And,
"By a common sense standard, which you point out the Warren
Report uses, I think your book shows it extremely unlikely,
even inconceivable, that a single assassin was responsible."
The Times thanked Ms. Meagher for her letter, adding
that "We are planning to run a letter along very similar
lines from Josiah Thompson and I am sure that you will
understand that space limitations will prevent us from
Ms. Meagher wrote again asking that the Times reconsider
and print at least the paragraph which revealed that Epstein
knew in advance that the CBS claims were specious, and
that his private admissions in writing were the exact
opposite of his representations in the Times.
"One understands the Times unwillingness to acknowledge to
its readers that it has given Epstein a platform from which
to disseminate not mere error, but deliberate falsehood,"
wrote Ms. Meagher. "However I would like to request you to
reconsider your decision . . . in the interests of fair play
and of undoing a disservice to your readers that was surely
She received no reply, and her letter was not published.
Harold Weisberg wrote the Times asking that certain
statements which he felt were libelous be corrected, and
asking that he be permitted to write an article rebutting
Epstein. The Times replied denying libel and
maintaining that the article itself was sound. "If
however you want to write us a short letter of not more
than 250 or 300 words challenging Epstein's interpretation
of the assassination," the Times added, "we'd be glad to
consider it for publication. But I'd like to caution you
to avoid difficult, arcane details that would simply
baffle our readers."
Readers of The New York Times . . . baffled?
A Heritage of Stone
On December 1, 1970 the daily book columns of the Times
carried a dual review of two books on the Jim Garrison
affair. The first, American Grotesque, by James Kirkwood,
was critical of Garrison and the methods he utilized in
prosecuting Clay Shaw. The second, A Heritage of Stone,
was Jim Garrison's own account of the Kennedy assassination.
The review by Times staff reviewer John Leonard, was
entitled "Who Killed John F. Kennedy?" The portion dealing
with A Heritage of Stone follows:
Which brings us to Jim Garrison's A Heritage of Stone. The
District Attorney of Orleans Parish argues that Kennedy's
assassination can only he explained by a "model" that pins the
murder on the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA could have
engineered Dallas in behalf of the
military-intelligence-industrial complex that feared the
President's disposition toward a detente with the
Russians. Mr. Garrison nowhere in his book mentions Clay
Shaw, or the botch his office made of Shaw's prosecution; he
is, however, heavy on all the other characters who have become
familiar to us, via late-night talk shows on television. And
he insists that the Warren Commission, the executive branch of
the government, some members of the Dallas Police
Department, the pathologists at Bethesda who performed the
second Kennedy autopsy and many, many others must have known
they were lying to the American public.
Frankly, I prefer to believe that the Warren Commission did a
poor job, rather than a dishonest one. I like to think that
Mr. Garrison invents monsters to explain incompetence. But
until somebody explains why two autopsies came to two different
conclusions about the President's wounds, why the limousine
was washed out and rebuilt without investigation, why
certain witnesses near the "grassy knoll" were never asked
to testify before the Commission, why we were all so eager to
buy Oswald's brilliant marksmanship in split seconds, why no
one inquired into Jack Ruby's relations with a staggering
variety of strange people, why a "loner" like Oswald always
had friends and could always get a passport -- who can blame
the Garrison guerrillas for fantasizing?
Something stinks about this whole affair. A Heritage of
Stone rehashes the smelliness: the recipe is as unappetizing
as our doubts about the official version of what
happened. (Would then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy have
endured his brother's murder in silence? Was John Kennedy
quite so liberated from cold war cliches as Mr. Garrison
maintains?) But the stench is there, and clings to each of
us. Why were Kennedy's neck organs not examined at Bethesda
for evidence of a frontal shot? Why was his body whisked away
to Washington before the legally required Texas inquest? Why?
This review was certainly not an unfair one, and it raised
some rather searching questions -- questions one rarely saw
asked in the Times. But this review appeared only in the
early edition. Before the second edition could reach the
stands it underwent a strange metamorphosis. The title was
changed from "Who Killed John F. Kennedy?" to "The
Shaw-Garrison Affair," and the review now read as follows:
Which brings us to Jim Garrison's A Heritage of Stone. The
District Attorney of Orleans Parish argues that Kennedy's
assassination can only he explained by a "model" that pins the
murder on the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA could have
engineered Dallas in behalf of the
military-intelligence-industrial complex that feared the
President's disposition toward a detente with the
Russians. Mr. Garrison nowhere in his book mentions Clay
Shaw, or the botch his office made of Shaw's prosecution; he
is, however, heavy on all the other characters who have become
familiar to us via late-night talk shows on television. And
he insists that the Warren Commission, the executive branch of
the government, some members of the Dallas Police Department, the
pathologists at Bethesda who performed the second Kennedy autopsy
and many, many others must have known they were lying to the
Frankly, I prefer to believe that the Warren Commission did a
poor job, rather than a dishonest one. I like to think that
Mr. Garrison invents monsters to explain incompetence.
Thus the paragraph heading "Mysteries Persist" had mysteriously vanished,
and the last 30 lines of the review had been whisked away -- into some
subterranean Times "memory hole," no doubt. The meaning of the review
was completely altered, and the questions which the Times apparently
feels are unaskable remained unasked.
A letter to the Times inquiring as to the reason for alteration of
the original review brought a response from George Palmer, Assistant to
the Managing Editor: "Deleting that material . . . involved routine
editing in line with a long-standing policy of our paper. Our book
reviewers are granted full freedom to write whatever they wish about the
books and authors they are dealing with, but we do not permit
personalized editorials in the book columns."
This was a form letter which the Times sent out, with minor
variations, to those who questioned the two reviews. The recipient of
one such letter observed that the line "Frankly I prefer to believe
that the Warren Commission did a poor job rather than a dishonest one,"
was clearly editorial in nature -- surely much more so than the material
that was deleted. To this Palmer replied: "I don't believe these
comments represented the type of excessive editorializing our editors
had in mind when they made the deletions."
The Times seems to have clarified just what it considers "excessive
editorializing" when on September 29, 1971 Christopher Lehmann-Haupt,
in reviewing The Magician, by Sol Stein, described the protagonist
as "a random case; he is one of those `types,' like Lee Harvey Oswald
and James Earl Ray, who are born to lead, but lacking the equipment to
do so, must assassinate the true leaders." The Times saw nothing
"excessive" or "editorial" in this review, and it appeared in the
second edition exactly as it had appeared in the first.
Interestingly enough, then Managing Editor, Turner Catledge, pledged
after the death of Oswald that future articles and headlines would
refer to Oswald as the alleged assassin. The American system of
justice carrying with it the presumption of innocence until guilt is
proven in a court of law. Catledge's pledge has been consistently and
systematically disregarded ever since.
The Eighth Anniversary
One of the important witnesses for the Warren Commission was Charles
Givens, a porter employed at the Book Depository. In a deposition
taken by Commission lawyer David W. Belin, Givens testified that he
had left the 6th floor (where he worked) at about 11:30 a.m. on the
morning of the assassination, but that he had forgotten his cigarettes,
and when he returned to retrieve them at about noon he encountered
Oswald lurking near the Southeast corner window -- the alleged sniper's
Writing in the August 13, 1971 Texas Observer, Sylvia Meagher cast
great doubt upon the veracity of Givens and the methods of the Warren
Commission. Her article, "The Curious Testimony of Mr. Givens,"
revealed that material from the National Archives relating to Givens
gave an entirely different account .
On the day of the assassination Givens told authorities that he had
last seen Oswald at 11:50 a.m. reading a newspaper on the first floor
of the Depository. Neither then nor in two subsequent affidavits
sworn to prior to his Warren Commission testimony did he ever mention
having returned to the 6th floor.
However, an FBI agent's report noted a statement by Lt. Jack Revill
of the Dallas Police that Givens had previously had difficulty with the
Dallas Police and probably "would change his testimony for
money." Moreover, David Belin, the lawyer who took Givens testimony, was
aware of Givens' earlier statements, for he had noted them in a memo six
weeks before Givens testified. In that same memo he noted that three
other Depository employees, like Givens, had also reported seeing Oswald
on the first floor.
David Belin's reply in the same issue of The Texas Observer decried
the "assassination sensationalists," assured the reader that he was an
honorable man, and insisted that the Warren Commission had done a
thorough and competent job. The Texas Observer, commenting on the
exchange, called Belin's answer "the slick irrelevant reply of a lawyer
who doesn't have much of a defense to present."
Ms. Meagher sent copies of her article, Belin's reply and the
accompanying editorial to several people at the Times including
Harrison Salisbury, whose responsibilities include editing the Op-Ed
page. Salisbury's position seemed ambiguous, for since his article
in The Progressive in 1966 he had again implied acceptance of the
official version of the assassination in his introduction to
the Times/Bantam edition of the Report of the National Commission
on the Causes and Prevention of Violence.
His position would not be ambiguous for long. On November 22, 1971 -- the
8th anniversary of the President's death -- a headline "The Warren Report
Was Right" appeared emblazoned across the top of the Op-Ed page. The
article decried the "assassination sensationalists" and its author was
none other than David W. Belin.
Ms. Meagher sent a second copy of the Observer material to Salisbury,
and it was returned with a polite form letter thanking her for her
manuscript which the Times regretted it could not use. She replied
that the form letter did not surprise her, but that she had not sent a
manuscript, but rather documented material which demonstrated irrefutably
deliberate misrepresentation of evidence by the Warren Commission, and
which "clearly implicated David W. Belin in serious impropriety and
She noted that "You have not questioned, much less challenged, the
documentary evidence I made available to you twice in two months. Instead
you provided a forum for Belin to influence your readers, without even
cautioning them that serious charges had been published elsewhere on his
conduct as an assistant counsel for the Warren Commission."
Ms. Meagher concluded that the Times 1964 praise of the Warren
Report "may have been merely gullible or unprofessional," but that in
1971 it was simply "propaganda on behalf of a discredited Government
paper," wrapped in sanctimony and pretending "to seek truth or justice."
Salisbury's reply read in full: "Do forgive the form card which went back
to you. That was a product of our bureaucracy, I'm afraid. I hadn't seen
your letter, alas, having been out of the office for a few days."
The Kennedy Photos and X-Rays
The photos and X-rays taken of the President's body during the autopsy
represent possibly the most crucial evidence of the assassination. They
could settle whether the President was hit in the neck or in the back,
and they could resolve considerable doubt as to the direction from which
the various bullets were fired.
Nevertheless, they were allegedly never viewed by the Warren
Commission. In late 1966 they were deposited in the National Archives
under the proviso that only Government agencies would be permitted to
view them for five years at which time "recognized experts in the field
of pathology or related areas of science and technology" might be
permitted to view them.
Toward the end of 1968 D.A. Garrison of New Orleans took legal steps to
secure release of the material. In an effort to block access, the
Justice Department released a report by a panel of forensic pathologists
who had examined the photos and X-rays a year earlier and had reported
that they confirmed the medical findings that all the shots came from
The Panel Report was covered for the Times by Fred Graham. His
uncritical story was carried on page 1 and consumed eight additional
columns on page 17. But far from resolving the controversy the
Panel Report only raised new questions, for even perfunctory study of
it revealed radical differences between it and the original autopsy
report and the Warren Commission testimony of the autopsy surgeons,
not the least of which was the fact that the fatal head wound had
mysteriously moved by approximately 4 inches.
Some of the discrepancies were brought to Graham's attention by Sylvia
Meagher. He replied: "Thank you for your thoughtful and informative
letter about the Kennedy X-rays and photographs. I wish I had known
this at the time, but perhaps it is not too late to backtrack a bit
and see if anyone can come up with explanations. . . . I'll see what
can be turned up, and if anything can, I trust you'll be reading about
There was no follow-up story. The following month Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, an
eminently qualified forensic pathologist, testified in the District of
Columbia Court of General Sessions about the inconsistencies between the
Panel Report and the autopsy report. Judge Charles Halleck was
sufficiently impressed with Dr. Wecht's testimony to rule against the
Justice Department, ordering that Wecht be permitted to examine the autopsy
material as the basis for his testimony on the medical findings.
(The ruling was later rendered moot when the Justice Department announced
it would appeal. This would have resulted in an indefinite delay beyond
the conclusion of the Shaw trial, and Garrison withdrew his suit.)
The Times coverage of this event consisted of a 4-paragraph UPI dispatch
which omitted any mention of Dr. Wecht's testimony regarding the Panel
Report. The UPI story was buried on page 13. Five days later Fred
Graham reported on the Justice Department's announcement that it would
appeal Judge Halleck's order that the photos and X-rays be produced at the
Shaw trial, but the story contained no reference to Dr. Wecht or his
When the first person "not under Government auspices" was permitted to see
the photos and X-rays this year the exclusive was obtained by Fred
Graham of The New York Times.
On January 9, 1972 the Times announced on page 1 that Dr. John
K. Lattimer, Chairman of the Department of Urology at Columbia
University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, had viewed the photos
and X-rays and found that they "eliminate any doubt completely" about
the validity of the Warren Commission's conclusion that Oswald fired
all the shots.
Dr. Lattimer disagreed with the Commission only insofar as he said
that the neck wound was actually higher than the Commission had
reported. He maintained that therefore the throat wound could not
possibly be one of entrance because the front wound was so far below
the back one that "if anyone were to have shot him from the front, they
would have to be squatting on the floor in front of him."
Graham's article noted that "some skeptics" regarded Lattimer as "an
apologist for the Warren Report," but he did not elaborate. In fact
Dr. Lattimer had earned the title over a period of several years by
publishing a number of sycophantic articles in defense of the Warren
Report. In the March 13, 1970 issue of Medical World News, for
example, he wrote:
"Oswald showed what the educated, modern-day, traitorous guerrilla can do
among his own people -- working with religious-type conviction, willing to
lay down his own life, but proposing to kill as many anti-communists as
possible. Oswald was devious, skilled at his business, and amazingly
More important than Dr. Lattimer's background, however, is the fact that
a number of interesting questions were raised both by his selection as the
person who would finally be permitted to study the autopsy material, and
by the rather curious nature of his "observations."
How, for example. did a urologist with virtually no knowledge of forensic
pathology  (the
branch of forensic medicine specializing in the
determination of the cause and manner of death in cases where it is sudden,
suspicious, unexpected, unexplained, traumatic, medically undetected or
violent) qualify as an "expert in the field of pathology or related areas
of science and technology" to view the autopsy photos and X-rays?
Why was a urologist chosen when three doctors with experience in forensic
pathology, including Dr. Wecht, had also applied? Dr. Wecht is Chief
Medical Examiner of Pittsburgh, Research Professor of Law and Director of
the Institute of Forensic Sciences at Duquesne University School of Law,
past-President of the American College of Legal Medicine, and
past-President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
By coincidence. of the four applicants, only the urologist, Dr. Lattimer,
had spoken or written of the Warren Report in an uncritical fashion. How
could he contend unequivocally that the photos and X-rays "eliminate any
doubt completely" that Oswald had fired all the shots -- something they are
incapable of proving to anyone not endowed with telepathic powers?
Moreover, if a shot from the front would have had to come from the floor of
the President's car as Dr. Lattimer suggests, a shot from the rear following
the same trajectory in reverse would have ended up in the floor.
How could such a bullet following this new steeper trajectory have altered
its course to strike Governor Connally below the right armpit and exit below
his right nipple as the Warren Commission contends it did?
Even more curious is the fact that despite the inconsistencies of the Panel
Report, it did not cite a higher location for the "neck" wound.
Thus the Panel Report, the autopsy report, and Dr. Lattimer all
offered different descriptions of the President's wounds.
None of these questions were raised by Fred Graham. He did add that Burke
Marshall, the Kennedy family representative charged with deciding which
"recognized experts" will be admitted, was also considering the requests of
Dr. Cyril H. Wecht and Dr. John Nichols, "pathologists who have written
critically of the Warren Commission report," and Dr. E. Forrest Chapman.
"Mr. Marshall said that in granting or denying permission, he would not
consider whether applicants were supporters or critics of the `Warren
Report,' but only if they had a serious historical purpose in seeing the
In 1964 Burke Marshall, then head of the Civil Rights Section of the Justice
Department, showed a keen interest in investigating how Malcolm X was
financing his international travels aimed at bringing the American racial
question before the United Nations -- an area which would hardly seem to be
of concern to the Civil Rights Division.
It was reliably reported to me that the Lattimer story caused serious
repercussions at the Times as a result of a torrent of outraged letters
from forensic experts and scholars astounded that Dr. Lattimer had assumed
the role of expert in a highly specialized field in which he had no
competence, and that the Times had lent him credibility with its
Possibly as a result of these letters or possibly because he was becoming
somewhat skeptical himself, Fred Graham telephoned Dr. Wecht in May 1972
to inquire as to the status of his application.
Dr. Wecht told Graham that Marshall had totally ignored repeated letters
and telegrams seeking either an approval or rejection of his
application. According to Dr. Wecht, Fred Graham made at least two calls
to Burke Marshall after his initial conversation with Wecht, and Graham
applied at least some degree of pressure upon Marshall to act upon Wecht's
Whether or not the spectre of an article in The New York Times asking why
the autopsy material continued to be inaccessible helped to influence his
decision is impossible to say, but in mid-June, Burke Marshall approved
Dr. Wecht's application.
Dr. Wecht spent two days at the National Archives on August 23 and 24,
making a detailed study of the photographs, X-rays, and related physical
evidence. Because of the positive role Graham had played, Wecht offered
him an exclusive interview.
Wecht limited his discussion of his observations pending closer study and
consultation and issuance of a detailed report. He did discuss a "little
flap" of loose scalp which "might have been an entrance or exit wound," but
which had never been mentioned before either by Dr. Lattimer or in the
autopsy report or in the Panel Report.
He also disclosed that photographs of the top of the removed brain "disclose
a sizeable foreign object that could have been a flattened bullet fragment
or a brain tumor." This object was reported by the Panel, but was not
mentioned in the autopsy report or by Dr. Lattimer.
Wecht also reported that he had requested permission to examine the
preserved brain of the President (essential to any thorough examination, and
specifically necessary if the flattened object in the brain was to be
identified), as well as microscopic slides of tissue removed from the
President's wounds (these can identify whether a wound is one of entrance or
exit), but that these items, which have never been studied, were denied him.
Wecht told Graham that he intended to write to Mr. Marshall asking him to
lay all the questions to rest by allowing him to again inspect the materials
"plus the brain and microscopic slides of the wounds, with a team of experts,
including a radiologist, a neurosurgeon, a firearms expert, a criminalist
and an examiner of questioned documents."
Graham also interviewed Marshall who denied knowledge of the brain or
other objects not in the archives. He said that "They have no bearing
on who killed the President." He deplored Dr. Wecht's "chasing after
parts of the President's body because he hasn't found any evidence that
anything else was wrong." He termed the probing "offensive," and said
"It is a terrible thing to do to that family."
Graham's story ran in the Sunday New York Times on August 27 on page
1. While the article betrayed a degree of
slanting (e.g., "While [Dr. Wecht] was here last week, he was provided
transportation by the Committee to Investigate Assassinations, a
Washington-based organization that includes District Attorney Jim
Garrison of New Orleans"), Graham nevertheless gave a very factual
recounting of his interview with Dr. Wecht.
Graham also did considerable background research and conducted a number
of secondary interviews in an effort to trace the history of the
missing brain. What will transpire when Dr. Wecht issues his technical
report detailing his findings, and whether Fred Graham follows up on
Dr. Wecht's request of Marshall that a second panel including Dr. Wecht
and other experts be allowed to now conduct a thorough examination
of all the material remains to be seen.
Marshall has so far ignored the request.
The Times and the King Case
On March 10. 1969 the official curtain closed on the assassination of
Martin Luther King. James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to a technical plea
of murder "as explained to you by your lawyers," and was sentenced to
99 years in prison (Ray has always maintained that he killed no
one). Thus the State of Tennessee, by an arrangement that had the
advance blessings of the Federal Government, dispensed with the
formality of a trial for the accused assassin of Dr. King.
The next day a scathing editorial in the Times entitled "Tongue-Tied
Justice," denounced the proceedings, calling "the aborted trial of
James Earl Ray" a "mockery of justice" and "a shocking breach of faith
with the American people." The Times demanded to know, "Was there a
conspiracy to kill Dr. King and who was in it?" They demanded the
convening of formal legal proceedings, by the Federal Government if not
But, for all its editorial eloquence the Times record on the King case
once the "official" verdict was in would be no better than it had been
in the John F. Kennedy case (prior to the Ray trial the Times
reporting, particularly that of Martin Waldron, was excellent). Ray's
efforts to obtain a new trial and his contention that he had been
pressured into his plea were, and continue to be, almost completely
blacked-out by the Times.
March 1971 brought a challenge to the "official" contention that Ray had
killed Dr. King and that there had been no conspiracy. The challenge was
a new book by Harold Weisberg, Frame-Up: The Martin Luther King/James
Earl Ray Case.
Frame-Up was the culmination of more than two years of investigation,
legal action, and research. Much of his evidence Weisberg obtained when
he successfully sued the Justice Department for access to the suppressed
James Earl Ray extradition file. The suit resulted in a rare Summary
Judgment against the Justice Department (not news fit to print to the
Times), and the release of official documents which were exculpatory
Thus Weisberg revealed that ballistics tests which failed to link Ray's
rifle with the crime were misrepresented by the prosecution in the
formal narration, implying the opposite by substituting the word
"consistent," a meaningless word in ballistics terminology.
The alleged shot from the bathroom window would have required a
contortionist, and tangible evidence suggested that the shot had come
from elsewhere. Numerous contradictions and conflict impeached the
testimony of the only alleged witness placing Ray at the scene.
Ray left no prints in the bathroom, or in another room where he was
alleged to have rearranged furniture, or in the car, he allegedly drove
400 miles after the slaying, or on parts of the rifle he would have had
to handle in order to fire it.
Persuasive evidence suggested that a bundle conveniently left behind in
a doorway near the rooming house and which contained the alleged
assassination rifle and several of Ray's personal effects, had actually
been planted on the scene by someone other than Ray. Much more
in Frame-Up pointed toward a conspiracy in which Ray had served the
role of "patsy."
The Times found no news fit to print in Frame- Up, though even Fred
Graham had called Weisberg a "painstaking investigator," and Times
reporter Peter Kihss had written lengthy and favorable articles about
two of his previous books.
Frame-Up was enthusiastically received at
first. Publishers' Weekly said: "This review
can barely suggest the detailed number of Weisberg's
charges, speculations, freshly documented evidence and revelations about
the King murder. In two areas he is pure TNT: his attack on Ray's
lawyer, Percy Foreman . . . and his sensational head-on assault on
J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI and the government itself for what he claims
was the suppressing of official evidence indicating Ray was not alone in
the King assassination. . . . Weisberg has brought forth a blistering
Saturday Review said: "Evidence that Ray fired the fatal shot. There
is none. . . . The reek of conspiracy is on everything. Weisberg is an
indefatigable researcher . . . he has pursued the facts. . . . And they
are facts that lay claim to the conscience of America."
The Chicago Sun Times said: "Weisberg has dug up much material, some
of it properly designated as suppressed, that must give any reasonable
and unprejudiced person pause."
The Times of London in a news story on Frame-Up called
Weisberg "one of that small but impassioned group of authorities
on recent American political assassinations . . . Frame-Up is
a detailed analysis of the entire process of Mr. Ray's arrest and
trial. . . . There is remarkably little evidence to connect Ray
with the shot that killed Dr. King."
Frame-Up was reviewed in The New York Times Book Review on May 2,
1971 by John Kaplan. The review began: "The silly season apparently is
over so far as the critics of the Warren Commission are
concerned. . . . Now Harold Weisberg . . . hopes to repeat the triumph
of his Whitewash series with Frame-Up. . . . Mr. Weisberg's theory is
that James Earl Ray was merely a decoy, part of a conspiracy,
apparently . . . his evidence is exiguous at best."
The review continued: "Mr. Weisberg's grasp of law is, to say the
least, somewhat shaky (he is described elsewhere as a chicken
farmer). . . . Whether or not Ray fired the fatal bullet or merely
acted as a decoy does not influence the propriety of his guilty plea. In
either case, he would be a murderer. . . . A review such as this in
which nothing favorable is said obviously prompts questions as to why one
might wish to read or, for that matter, to devote newspaper review space
to the book. . . . Finally, one might ask if Frame-Up tells us anything
significant about the Martin Luther King assassination. Regrettably, the
answer is no. . . ."
Kaplan's review was nothing short of a personal attack upon Harold
Weisberg which totally ignored the contents of Frame-Up, and falsely
implied that "newspaper stories" were the basis of his "exiguous"
An article on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, "How
Book Reviews Make or Break Books -- or Have No Impact,"
described The New York Times Book Review as "generally
considered the most prestigious and influential review
described how a particularly poor review there
can discourage further reviews and cut off bookstore
orders. Frame-Up received no further reviews, and for all
practical purposes the book was soon dead.
The Times capsule biography of the reviewer said
that "John Kaplan teaches at Stanford Law School and is
author of Marijuana: The New Prohibition. It was
inadequate, to say the least.
From 1957 to 1961 Kaplan served the Justice
Department (against which Weisberg obtained the Summary
Judgment not mentioned in the Times review), first as a
lawyer with the Criminal Division, then as a special
prosecutor in Chicago, and finally as an Assistant U.S.
Attorney in San Francisco.
He wrote an article, "The Assassins," which appeared in
the Spring 1967 American Scholar. The assassins John
Kaplan was talking about were the critics of the Warren
Report whom he characterized
as "revisionists," "perverse," and "silly." He was also
critical of Life's call for a new investigation and
the Times call for answers to unanswered
questions. These, according to Kaplan, "contributed
relatively little in the way of enlightenment."
In its original form "The Assassins" was considered
so libelous by the legal counsel of The American
Scholar that the latter refused to publish it until Kaplan
reluctantly agreed to revise it. Kaplan's most recent
venture, published the same week as his review of Frame-Up,
was an article written for the U.S. Information Agency
(the official propaganda arm of the Government) entitled
"The Case of Angela Davis: The Processes of American
John Leonard, now editor of The New York Times Book
Review, told me that he had been totally unaware of
Kaplan's background. He had received a letter from
Mr. Weisberg, and its contents distressed him. Leonard
told me that "another editor" had assigned the book, but
he implied that the matter would be rectified on the letters
was John Leonard, then a daily reviewer, whose
review of A Heritage of Stone had been edited because it
was "excessively editorial."
Weisberg's letter received no reply, nor did a subsequent
one addressed directly to Leonard seeking some acknowledgment
to the first, "if only to record that you did not consciously
assign this review to a man so saddled with irreconcilable
On May 29 the Times Book Review published but one letter
dealing with the Kaplan review -- that a strongly worded denial
of a footnote unrelated to the Ray case in which Weisberg
said, in the context of discussing press coverage, that in
1966 the book reviewer of the Washington Post had been
ordered not to review Whitewash after he read it and
decided on a favorable review. Kaplan chose to quote it out
of context as an example of how, in Kaplan's words, Weisberg
thought he was being picked on.
Geoffrey Wolff, who had been Book Review Editor of
the Washington Post in 1966, vociferously denied the
footnote in a letter which the Times, in total disregard of
publishing ethics, chose to publish without sending Weisberg
a copy so that he could respond. Weisberg was not permitted
to quote his dated contemporaneous notes of his meetings with
Wolff and a letter he had written Wolff in August 1966, and
readers of the Times were given only Wolff's version of what
had occurred, leaving them with the impression that there
was only one version.
Thus the Times assigned a biased reviewer who was permitted
to misrepresent Frame-Up's contents and to quote a tangential
footnote completely out of context as an exercise in personal
invective against Weisberg. This was followed by the
publication of only one letter which compounded the defamation
of the Kaplan review.
This train of events suggests that the Times never intended
anything less than to kill Frame-Up and discredit Weisberg.
Following the appearance of Wolff's letter, John Leonard told
me that it had been published at that time because it had been
set in type while others had not been, but that a "full page
round-up" of letters dealing with the Kaplan review would be
published "in about three weeks."
Weisberg's letter responding to the published Wolff letter
received no reply from the Times and was never published. The
full page round-up never appeared. Instead on August 29, 17 weeks
after the Kaplan review and 12 weeks after the publication of
the Wolff letter -- after Frame-Up was already dead -- Weisberg's
original letter (which Leonard told me he had just received
when I spoke to him on May 5) was published in the Times Book
Review along with a self-serving reply by Kaplan, who was
permitted the traditional right of reply that the Times had
previously denied Weisberg.
Weisberg wrote John Leonard: "I think you owe me . . . more than
this too late, too little, too dishonest feebleness. . . . You
have my work, which stands, as it must, alone. You have my
detailed and lengthy letters, which remain undenied by anyone,
unanswered by you. You have enough to show that the Times and
John Leonard will at least make an effort to be decent and
honorable. Will you?"
For the first time Weisberg received a reply. Leonard's response
read in full: "Apparently everyone in the country is without
honor except you. I don't think we have anything useful to say
to one another."
The Times and the RFK Case
If many were unsatisfied with the "official" facts about the
assassination of President Kennedy and Dr. King, there seemed
little reason to doubt that Senator Robert F. Kennedy had fallen
victim to the deranged act of a single sick individual -- until
the publication of Robert Blair Kaiser's R.F.K. Must Die!
*    *    *
Kaiser is an established and respected reporter and a former
correspondent for Time magazine. His previous reporting had
won him a Pulitzer Prize nomination and an Overseas Press Club
Award for the best magazine reporting in foreign affairs.
He signed on with the Sirhan defense team as an investigator. In
the course of his studies and investigations he became the
chief repository of knowledge in the case and the bridge between
the defense attorneys and the psychiatrists probing the
motivations of Sirhan Sirhan. Kaiser was to spend close to 200
hours with Sirhan, and that exposure together with his researches
were to convince him that there had been a conspiracy.
Kaiser was unimpressed with the investigations turned in by the
Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI He felt that they
were predisposed to the conclusion that no conspiracy existed,
and they were consequently unwilling to pursue leads in that
Thus when the "girl in the polka-dot dress" seen with Sirhan
just before the assassination was not turned up, the authorities
concluded that she did not exist despite overwhelming evidence
to the contrary. Nor was a zealous effort made to locate or
thoroughly investigate certain acquaintances of Sirhan who
could not be regarded as above suspicion.
Kaiser became perplexed by Sirhan's notebooks in which he had
often repeatedly written his name, and in which several pages
bore the similarly repeated inscription "RFK must die," always
accompanied by the phrase "Please pay to the order of Sirhan."
Sirhan had no recollection of these writings, nor did he recall
firing at Senator Kennedy.
On the night of the assassination Sirhan had behaved oddly. He
was observed staring fixedly at a teletype machine two hours
before the assassination, and he did not respond when addressed
by the teletype operator. Several bystanders could not loosen
the vice-like grip or sway the seemingly frozen arm of Sirhan
when he began firing. After the shooting it was reported that
his eyes were dilated, and he was described as extremely
detached during the all-night police interrogation. In the
morning he was found shivering in his cell.
Dr. Bernard L. Diamond. the chief psychiatrist for the defense,
decided upon the use of hypnosis on Sirhan. His subject proved
so susceptible that Diamond concluded that Sirhan had likely
been frequently hypnotized before. Under hypnosis Sirhan proved
adept at the same type of automatic writing that appeared in
Given a pen and paper he filled an entire page with his name,
continuing to write even at the end of the page. Instructed to
write about Robert Kennedy he wrote "RFK must die" repeatedly
until told to stop. Under hypnosis Sirhan recalled his previous
notebook entries which had been made in a trance-like state
induced by mirrors in his bedroom.
The hallways of the Ambassador Hotel were also lined with
mirrors. Dr. Diamond programmed Sirhan to climb the bars
of his cell like a monkey, but to retain no memory of the
instructions. Upon awakening Sirhan climbed the bars of his
cell "for exercise." Hypnosis produced an interesting
side-effect on Sirhan. Upon emerging from a hypnotic state
he would suffer chills -- just as he had the morning after
Dr. Diamond became convinced that Sirhan had acted in a
dissociated state, unconscious of his actions, the night he
allegedly killed Senator Kennedy. He concluded that Sirhan
had programmed himself like a robot. Kaiser reached a
slightly different conclusion. If Sirhan had programmed
himself, he reasoned, why did he retain no recollection of
the programming or the shooting. Furthermore, when asked
under hypnosis if others had been involved, Sirhan would go
into a deeper trance in which he could not reply or he would
block -- hesitating for a long period before giving a negative
Kaiser's research turned up several case-histories in which
a suggestible individual had actually been programmed by a
skilled hypnotist to perform illegal acts with no recollection
of either the deed or the programming, including a relatively
recent case in Europe in which a man convicted of murder was
later acquitted when a suspicious psychiatrist succeeded in
deprogramming him with the result that the programmer was
convicted in his stead. Kaiser felt that Sirhan, too, had
been programmed and his memory blocked by some kind of
R.F.K Must Die!, which was also not "news fit to print"
was reviewed in The New York Times Book Review on
November 15, 1970 by Dr. Thomas S. Szasz. Kaiser was
described as a "conscientious and competent reporter," but
the review totally ignored the contents of the book, the
reviewer preferring to expound upon his own philosophy that
it is "absurd" to judge Sirhan's act in any context other
than the fact that he had committed the act, because in
courtroom psychiatry "facts are constructed to fit theories."
Dr. Szasz also expounded upon his faith in capital punishment
as a deterrent to crime and upon several other
irrelevancies. Only one sentence of the review addressed
Kaiser's premise: "And Kaiser uncritically accepts Diamond's
theory of the assassination `that Sirhan had -- by his automatic
writing -- programmed himself exactly like a computer is
programmed by its magnetic tape . . . for the coming
Dr. Szasz completely misrepresented the thesis of the book
he was reviewing, for Kaiser explicitly disagreed with
Dr. Diamond. Dr. Szasz' review gave no hint that Kaiser had
postulated a conspiracy. Robert Kaiser wrote me: "My narrative
of the facts, most of which have been hidden from the public,
cried out for a reopening of the case by the authorities. That
was news and Dr. Szasz ignored it."
Assigning Dr. Thomas Szasz to review R.F.K. Must Die! was
like assigning Martha Mitchell to review Senator
Fulbright's The Arrogance of Power. Kaiser's book was largely
a psychiatric study of Sirhan and a narrative of the psychiatric
nature of the defense strategy (Sirhan had definite
Dr. Szasz is generally regarded as the most controversial
figure in the psychiatric profession, for he contends that mental
illness is a myth, and he is irrevocably opposed to the use of
psychiatry in the courtroom. His views are so controversial that
The New York Times Magazine devoted an entire article to
them. Dr. Szasz'
philosophy regarding courtroom psychiatry and mental illness
precluded in advance an objective review.
The relationship existing between Dr. Szasz and Dr. Diamond
(who Kaiser describes as "the only hero in my book"), moreover,
should have further disqualified Dr. Szasz, for their views
diametrically oppose one another, and the two men have faced
each other in public debate.
Dr. Diamond is a leading expert on and advocate of the
legal concept known as "diminished capacity," a
psychiatric defense. In the October 1964 California Law
Review Dr. Diamond reviewed one of Dr. Szasz' books. A
quote of the opening lines of that review illustrates
sufficiently well the enmity existing between the two:
"Law, Liberty and Psychiatry is an irresponsible,
reprehensible, and dangerous book. It is irresponsible and
reprehensible because the author must surely know better. It
is a dangerous book because its author is clever, brilliant
and articulate -- the book reads well and could be most
convincing to the intelligent, but uncritical reader."
Kaiser cogently summed up the Szasz review: "An honest
review of my book, pro or con, one that would have dealt with
the facts I revealed and the issues I raised, could have been
a valuable service to the large reading public that depends on
the Times Book Review. From a purely personal viewpoint,
it made the difference for me; instead of being a bestseller,
my book was only a modest success -- not because the reviewer
made a successful attack on my thesis, but because he simply
One of the confusing facts in the Robert Kennedy case is that
the fatal bullet entered behind the left ear and was fired
from only about an inch away, a fact that was attested to by
the massive powder burns the weapon produced around the
wound. Sirhan was several feet in front of Senator Kennedy. It
was generally assumed that Kennedy had fallen in Sirhan's
direction, receiving the wound as he fell, but events of the
past summer have challenged this theory.
On May 28, 1971 Los Angeles attorney Barbara Warner Blehr
challenged the qualifications of DeWayne Wolfer, acting head
of the LAPD Crime Lab, in an effort to block his permanent
appointment. Her challenge included declarations by three
ballistics experts alleging that Wolfer had violated the four
precepts of firearms identification when he testified at
Sirhan's trial that Sirhan's gun and no other was involved in
the shooting of Kennedy and two other persons on the scene.
Ms. Blehr charged that Wolfer's testimony established that
three bullets introduced in evidence were fired not from
Sirhan's gun but from a second similar gun which, through
evidence in the case on June 6, 1968 "was reportedly
destroyed by the LAPD . . . in July, 1968." She charged
that a second person with a gun similar to Sirhan's had also
fired shots at Senator Kennedy.
Ms. Blehr's charges resulted in the convening of a grand jury
which ultimately found that serious questions concerning the
integrity of exhibits in the Sirhan case were raised as a
result of handling of the evidence by unauthorized persons
while in the custody of the Los Angeles County Clerk's
office. District Attorney Busch claimed that the confusion
was the result of a clerical error made in labeling an envelope
containing three bullets test-fired from Sirhan's gun by
Wolfer. He claimed that Ms. Blehr's charges also contained
serious errors, but he did not specify them.
Meanwhile there still seems to be a strong question as to
whether the ballistics markings on all of the bullets match
up. Retired criminologist William Harper viewed two of the
bullets, one taken from a second victim and the other removed
from Kennedy's neck. He stated that he could find "no
individual characteristics in common between these two bullets."
The Los Angeles Times has given each of these developments
large play, and a summary article on August 8, 1971 by L.A.
Times staff writer Dave Smith ran on page 1 and continued
onto pages 8, 9 and 10, taking up approximately 125 column
inches. By the same token these developments have been
almost totally blacked-out by The New York Times. Then
National Editor, Gene Roberts, told me that he could not
explain why these developments had received so little coverage,
claiming ignorance of them -- a situation for which he
acknowledged there was little excuse. He suggested that I
contact Wallace Turner, a reporter with the Los Angeles bureau
whom Roberts said was familiar with the Robert Kennedy case.
I wrote instead to the L.A. bureau chief, Steven V. Roberts,
suggesting that a policy decision was responsible for the
blackout. He replied that "the questions were of the most
tentative and flimsy character" which "just did not merit doing
a full-scale investigation." Roberts wrote that he had told
New York (meaning the National desk) "to use whatever they
wanted that was run by the wire services, but that I was not
going to do anything myself. . . ."
I wrote again asking why these events were not news
simply because the Times had not investigated them, and
also asking why the L.A. Bureau had reported on Sirhan's
efforts to block publication of R.F.K. Must Die!, but
saw nothing newsworthy in the book or its revelations when
it was published. He replied: "As I told you the first
time, we have to set priorities here. We can report only a
small percentage of the many stories that come our way every
day. I have decided that the controversy over the Sirhan
bullets is not substantial enough to warrant my time, when
there are so many other things to worry about. I appreciate
your concern, but I think that's about all I have to say on
One must wonder, should the controversy over the Sirhan
bullets prove substantial after all, how the Times will
explain to its readers that other priorities demanded that
previous developments were not "news fit to print."
Only The New York Times can answer why they have for nine
years maintained a consistent policy of literary
assassination of literature and deliberate management of news
suggesting that three of the greatest crimes of the 20th
century may, despite "official" findings to the contrary, be
But the unassailable fact is that in the process they have
acted as little less than an unofficial propaganda arm of the
Government which has maintained so staunchly -- and in the face
of all evidence to the contrary, great and trivial -- that
assassinations in the United States are inevitably the work of
lone demented madmen.
Justice Hugo Black in his concurring opinion in the Supreme
Court decision favoring The New York Times in the case of
the Pentagon Papers said, "Only a free and unrestrained press
can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount
among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to
prevent any part of the Government from deceiving the people. . . ."
Far from preventing deception in the case of political
assassinations, the Times has practiced it, and in the
process defrauded its readers and violated every ethic of
professional and objective journalism.
The greatest tragedy is that the Times indeed is America's
newspaper of record. As was demonstrated with the Pentagon
Papers it wields the power to command international
headlines. Along with The Washington Post,it is read daily
by statesmen and bureaucrats in the nation's capitol. It
appears in every foreign capitol and in 11,464 cities around
Yet it seems all too evident that the "news fit to print" is
often little more than propaganda reflecting the biases and
preconceptions of the Publisher and editors of The New York
Gay Talese, The Kingdom and The Power, Bantam Books, NY, 1970, p.547
New York Times, April 7, 1961, p.2
- Turner Catledge, My Life and the Times, Harper & Row, NY, 1971, p.288
- Talese, op. cit., p.148
- The Kennedy Assassination and the American Public -- Social
Communication In Crisis, edited by Bradley S. Greenberg & Edwin B.
Parker, Stanford University Press, Stanford, Cal., pp.37-45
- New York Times, November 25, 1963, p.1
- New York Times, November 25, 1963, p.10
- New York Times, November 26, 1963, p.15; November 25, 1963, p.9
- Edward J. Epstein, Inquest, Bantam Books, NY, 1966, p.19
- New York Times, March 30, 1964, p.26
- New York Times, September 28, 1964, p.1
- New York Times, September 28, 1964, p.28
- New York Times, September 29, 1964, p.42
- New York Times, September 28, 1964, p.28
- New York Times, October 18, 1964, VII:8
- New York Times, January 10, 1969, Ed. "UFO's And All That"
- New York Times, November 25, 1964, p.36
- Epstein, op. cit., p.50
- Book Week, July 24, 1966, p.1
- New York Times, July 24, 1966, p.25
- New York Post, March 6, 1967, p.4
- Letter from Peter Kihss to Harold Weisberg -- dated June 7, 1966
- New York Times, September 25, 1966, IV:10
- New York Times, November 17, 1966, p.46
- Newsweek, December 12, 1966, p.20
- Telephone interview with Gene Roberts -- October 18, 1971
- Telephone interview with Gene Roberts -- September 29, 1971
- Letter from George Palmer to Mr. Richard Levine -- dated March 8, 1971
- Letter from George Palmer to the author -- dated August 26, 1971
- Letter from Walter Sullivan to Bernard Fensterwald, Jr. -- dated March 19, 1970
- New York Times, May 21, 1967, VII:48
- Playboy, February, 1968, pp.16-18
- Sylvia Meagher, Accessories After The Fact, Bobbs-Merrill, NY, 1967, back jacket
- Josiah Thompson, Six Seconds In Dallas, Bernard Geiss Ass., NY, 1967, p.293
- C.B.S. News Inquiry -- The Warren Report, June 25-28, 1967, part II, p.15 of transcript.
- Epstein, op. cit., p.40
- The two reviews were first discovered by the Washington based Committee
to Investigate Assassinations which published them in its newsletter.
- Letter from George Palmer to the author -- dated June 22, 1971
- Letter from George Palmer to Mr. Howard Roffman, Phil., PA, July 22, 1971
- New York Times, November 27, 1963, p.36
- New York Times, January 17, 1969, p.1
- Letter from Fred Graham to Sylvia Meagher -- dated January 26, 1969
- New York Times, February 13, 1969, p.13
- New York Times, February 18, 1969, p.29
- Interview of Dr. Lattimer by Long John Nebel -- WNBC radio, Jan. 19, 1972
- The Realist, February 1967, "The Murder of Malcolm X," by Eric Norden, p. 18
- New York Times, December 8, 1966, p.40; July 9, 1967, p.51
- Publishers' Weekly, February 1, 1971
- Saturday Review, April 10, 1971
- Chicago Sun Times, April 4, 1971
- Times of London, June 5, 1971, p.4
- The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 1971, p.1
- American Scholar, Spring 1967, p.302
- Telephone conversation with Mary Moore Maloney, Man. Ed. of The
American Scholar -- August 18, 1971
- USIA Byliner -- L-5/71 -F- 111 May, 71 IPS/PO/OISETH -- May 5&6, 197
- Telephone conversation with John Leonard -- May 5, 1971
- Telephone conversation with John Leonard -- June 1, 1971
- Letter from John Leonard to Harold Weisberg -- dated Sept. 9, 1971
- Letter from Robert Kaiser to the author -- dated August 9, 1971
- New York Times Magazine, October 3, 1971, "Normality Is A Square
Circle or a Four Sided Triangle," by Maggie Scarf
- Letter from Robert Kaiser, op. cit.
- Telephone interview with Gene Roberts -- Sept. 29, 1971
- Letter From Steven V. Roberts to the author -- dated Dec. 29, 1971
- Letters from Steven V. Roberts to the author -- dated Jan. 21, 1972
- Talese, op. cit., p.89
* This article originally appeared in The Realist (October 1972)
under the title, "How All
the News About Political Assassinations in the United States Has Not
Been Fit to Print
in The New York Times".