Monday, April 12, 2004

The History Channel Scandal

The History Channel recently broadcast an episode of its most popular series ever, "The Men Who Killed Kennedy". Each segment has been a look at a different part of the story. If you watch the whole thing, you'd see that a lot of good information about the assassination of JFK is presented. However, there have been segments that have not withstood the scrutiny of serious researchers. The latest segment created was a segment based on Barr McClellan's book that purports that LBJ had JFK killed. This flies in the face of all the evidence I've read in a period of serious study from 1992 to the present. It also flies in the face of reason, because if LBJ was powerful enough to have pulled that off, there's no way he would have voluntarily stepped down from the presidency in 1968. Need I add that McClellan is, by several accounts such as this, a convicted forger and lawyer who resigned to avoid disbarment?

But what did the History Channel do? Instead of saying wow, we really goofed here, and showing the facts of the case which definitely prove conspiracy, but with a different set of people involved, the History Channel choked and has pulled the whole series, refusing to sell any of the episodes of what is, by its own acknowledgement, the most re-requested series on their network. They hired three "historians" who have their own problems with credibility. Heck - this is the channel that dared to put Gerald Posner on a 'history' panel, a man whose own book on JFK is noted by true historian David Wrone as "one of the stellar instances of irresponsible publishing on the subject."

So what is real history? As Orwell told us, "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." In other words, history is written by the victors. That doesn't make it true. In fact, that often makes it propaganda. How many American were taught that we stole land from Native Americans and Mexicans who had settled the Southwest long before we got there? How many Americans were taught in school that the CIA helped rig the 1948 Italian election to keep Communists out? How many Americans know that we backed the overthrow of democratic leaders in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Chile, Indonesia, and many other places around the globe? In fact, in the 1960's, nearly every liberal leader in the Western Hemisphere, with the notable exception of Castro, was deposed. But the media and its owners persist in trying to show the JFK operation as a separate little item, not part of a continuum of larger events.

And finally, let's note a couple of facts here. This reeks of a double play. (1) Barr McClellan's son is Scott McClellan, George W. Bush's White House press secretary. Wouldn't it be great for the Republicans if they could direct public ire against yet another Democratic President in their quest to balance the unbalanced legacy of Nixon? Democrats would shy away from any talk of conspiracy for fear one of their top guns had been involved. Putting forth this theory, which is ultimately insupportable by the weight of the evidence, distracts from the true conspirators in the case. The gullible love an easy solution. LBJ did it. Not the government. Not the CIA. How nice. Just a few bad guys who are gone now. How much more palatable that is than having to stomach the thought that a parallel government of unelected officials took matters into their own hands in November 22, 1963 to change forever the trajectory of politics in this country? But the double whammy (2) comes from getting the History Channel to pull not just this one episode, but the entire series. It's almost as if this was the plan from the start - create something so seductive yet so easily disprovable that it discredits the whole saga.

What's heartening is how this effort has backfired. Because while they may be temporarily persuaded by a false lead as to who is behind the conspiracy, each action like this just reinforces the belief many have that there really was a conspiracy. The efforts to convince the public that JFK was killed by a lone gunman has to rank as the most unsuccessful propaganda campaign of all time. No matter how hard the media tries to shove that down people's throats, their remarkable ability to resist is evident. The big loser in all of this is the credibility of the History Channel, but not for the reasons they pretend. Just read the message board at the History Channel for a sample. They may not be well written, but the passion for a true telling of that part of our history is very evident in these posts.


Post a Comment

<< Home