Monday, March 11, 2013

50 Years Since JFK Assassination Retrospective: PBS'sLehrer And JFK Assassination News Coverage

PBS's  longtime evening news show anchorman Jim Lehrer (who--like Lee Harvey Oswald--was an ex-Marine) just happened to be in Dallas on November 22, 1963. But unlike former CBS Evening News Anchor Dan Rather (who just happened to be stationed near the grassy knoll in Dallas on November 22, 1963) and Lehrer's former PBS evening news show co-anchorman Robert MacNeil (who just happened to bump into Lee Harvey Oswald by the Texas School Book Depository a few moments after JFK was shot), Lehrer, evidently, was not stationed near the ambush site.

But in his early 1990s book A Bus Of My Own, Lehrer admitted that at the Dallas airport shortly before JFK's plane arrived from Fort Worth on November 22, 1963, the following happened:

"...I put the phone down and walked over to a small ramp where the motorcade limousines were being held in waiting. I spotted Forres Sorrels, the agent in charge of the Dallas Secret Service office. I knew Mr. Sorrels fairly well, because I was then the regular federal beat reporter. After he had found out that I had been a Marine, he had even tried to recruit me as a Secret Service agent...

"I looked down the ramp. The bubble top was on the president's car.

"`Rewrite wants to know if the bubble top's going to stay on,' I said to Mr. Sorrels...

"Mr. Sorrels yelled back at the agents standing by the car: `Take off the bubble top!'"

Coincidentally, former Dallas Times-Herald reporter Lehrer evidently felt very threatened psychologically by Oliver Stone's early 1990s JFK movie. In his early 1990s book, for example, ex-Marine Lehrer wrote the following in reference to the JFK movie:

"It was only the elitist labeling of a whole class of Americans, my own class, by the Stone fiction that brought real heat and red to my face and soul. That movie, directly or indirectly, alleges that hundreds, thousands of working CIA, FBI and other federal agents; police officers, deputy sheriffs, Warren Commission staffers and congressional investigators; and reporters from news organizations of all sizes, persuasions and recourse were not interested in finding out who killed Kennedy, or worse, were either involved in the assassination and/or cover-up or manipulated by evil higher-ups who were. It is an absurdity beyond all honest imagination to claim people of such independent minds and spirits could be so involved or so used in killing a president of the United States...Only in a never-never land of the ignorant and the careless would such an idiotic conspiracy idea be taken seriously. It is a blood libel to repeat it in public, particularly in a large-screen $40 million movie..."

Mysteriously, Lehrer failed to mention in his early 1990s book's discussion of his involvement in the November 1963 events in Dallas that, three days before JFK was eliminated in that city, an article written by him appeared in the Dallas Times-Herald that apparently first revealed the previously-classified proposed Dallas motorcade route.

Coincidentally, in his fiction writing, PBS's Lehrer NewsHour anchor Lehrer has written about CIA agents who overthrow governments and CIA agents "who shared a special secret assignment after John F. Kennedy's assassination and now have a conflict about revealing their secret many years later," according to Lehrer's A Bus Of My Own book. In the same book, Lehrer also revealed that during the late 1950s he served in the Third Marine Division of Okinawa "as an S-1, adjutant and personnel officer with additional responsibility for classified documents and morale" who "was supposed to keep the classified documents locked up..."

(Downtown 11/18/92)

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