Friday, May 8, 2009

President Kennedy Assassinated

The death of a current president or honorable figure in society has always greatly affected the American public throughout history. Like President Lincoln’s assassination in the late 19th century, the public was shocked and in dismay after hearing news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas on November 22 1963. Many of the early newspapers covered the sadness that swept the nation after they had heard the shocking news and were eager to find the person suspected of the crime. The Los Angeles Times article “Johnson Takes Oath: Dallas Assassin Kills President” published photos of crowds in awe with captions describing “shock and sorrow women gather to watch televised news of President Kennedy’s assassination before the window of a downtown shop. Their faces reflect the shock and sorrow expressed by Los Angeles millions when they heard of loss of the nation’s president under historically tragic circumstances”. The New York Times later published an article, “Leftist Accused”, explaining that a man by the name of Harry Oswald was suspected as President Kennedy’s assassin after a scuffle between an officer in a theater a while after, later accusing him of the crime. The article then claims that he had shot the president from a building saying “The police said at least six witnesses placed Oswald in the building at the time of the assassination.” However, they do not explicitly say who those six witnesses were. Later, the New York Times reports and conversation with Captain Fritz, when “asked whether Oswald had been linked with the assassination, the officer replied: he doesn’t admit it- we have some more work to do on that case” as if already committing him of the crime. In the time when objectivity in journalism was questioned and critics claiming it was distorted, journalists tried hard to get the facts and report the truth as much as they could, or sometimes as much they were provided by other news sources and officials. But there’s no question that the news media made use of the publics reaction by making articles of sorrow around the nation. Were newspapers trying to make sales by publishing headlines and articles the nation could relate to and sensationalizing the situation? It might have been hard enough for the public to take in with all the constant coverage. Take for instance the attack on the twin towers in New York City on September 11 2001, many news media early on covered how people were reacting by showing people weeping hysterically while playing the incident on a loop at first. Later on, they would provide as much information as they were given regarding who was involved, why it happened and so forth. President Kennedy’s assassination was hard for the nation to take in, as seen with articles claiming he was a Great President, and no one could argue that the nation was not affected by losing a young leader many believed in. For journalism at the time, skepticism and objectivity on who killed the president was very important. By putting clues, eyewitness reports, and official reports together, journalists were somehow able to find the person responsible for John F. Kennedy’s death.


By TOM WICKER Special to The New York Times. . "Gov. Connally Shot; Mrs. Kennedy Safe :President Is Struck Down by a Rifle Shot From Building on Motorcade Route-- Johnson, Riding Behind, Is Unhurt Suspect Captured After Scuffle Priests Administer Last Rites Johnson Embraces Mrs. Kennedy Resuscitation Attempted In Operating Room 40 Minutes Kennedys Hailed at Breakfast Approaching 3-Street Underpass Rumors Spread at Trade Mart Mrs. Kennedy's Reaction Eyewitness Describes Shooting Tour by Mrs. Kennedy Unusual. " New York Times (1857-Current file) [New York, N.Y.] 23 Nov. 1963,1.

By GLADWIN HILL Special to The New York Times. . "LEFTIST ACCUSED :Figure in a Pro-Castro Group Is Charged-- Policeman Slain Worked in Warehouse Leftist Charged With Murder in Assasination of Kennedy and Policeman's Death PRISONER LINKED TO CASTRO GROUP He Is Subdued in Theater --Ex-Marine Defected to Soviet and Returned Appears in Line-Up State Has Jurisdiction. " New York Times (1857-Current file) [New York, N.Y.] 23 Nov. 1963,1. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005). ProQuest. SFSU, San Francisco, CA. May. 2009

"JOHNSON TAKES OATH :Dallas Assassin Kills President. " Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif.] 23 Nov. 1963,1-2. ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1986). ProQuest. SFSU, San Francisco, CA. May. 2009


  1. I like that you kept this piece short and to the point - that you highlighted what the articles did and did not do. With so many other posts covering this topic, i appreciated seeing that someone kept it 'short & sweet.'

  2. This story is easily one of the most important stories of the time. I thought you did a good job at analyzing the coverage; I liked how you included descriptions of the pictures that were included with the articles. That helps show a little bit more how heartbreaking it was to a lot of people in our country. I also like the way you tied in the fact that journalists at the time had to use investigative journalism to finally figure out who killed him. Good job.