Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You


George de Mohrenschildt, a friend of accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, is back in the news following his mysterious death in 1977.

His death marked the beginning of the end of official investigations of the JFK murder. The circumstances showed that neither Congress, most media, nor the justice system dared confront that historic tragedy even though important witnesses remain alive today.

Bill O'Reilly 2010As for the recent news, CNN reported this month that Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly lied about hearing the fatal shot killing de Mohrenschildt in Florida. JFK researcher and former Washington Post editor Jefferson Morley revealed the fabrication on his blog JFK Facts.org two years ago and repeated it March 1 under questioning by Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter in a CNN segment entitled Stelter: Audio tapes disprove O'Reilly's reporting.

Even more important than O’Reilly’s boast has been the timidity behind his bluster on the JFK issue, much like the stagecraft of many other journalists, authors, professors, and public officials.

O'Reilly's dubious claim in his best-selling book Killing Kennedy reminds us how the top-rated cable commentator evolved from a hard-charging young reporter seeking the facts about the JFK assassination to his current position: a bombastic pundit who disdains citations while parroting the misleading conventional wisdom that Oswald acted alone to kill Kennedy.

Hence the significance of de Mohrenschildt, shown in a file photo below.

Describing himself as "The Baron," he was a well-born oil engineer, professor and CIA asset whose friendships included members of the Oswald, Kennedy and Bush families. At the time of his death, he had just been invited by a congressional investigator to repeat his claim for the record that he was part of a "Dallas conspiracy" of oilmen and Cuban exiles planning on settling a "blood debt" — and that he instructed Oswald on how to act.

He was prepared to testify that Oswald did not kill the president, according to the Kennedy researcher Morley, who more than anyone else has highlighted O'Reilly's false statement about hearing the gunshot that killed the prospective witness.

George de Mohrenschildte at deskAt roughly the same time de Mohrenschildt was found dead of a shotgun blast that local authorities ruled self-inflicted, congress in effect sabotaged its own probe. It replaced its chief counsel, Richard Sprague, with a play-it-safe substitute, Robert Blakey. Blakey deferred to the CIA instead of investigating it, as he conceded last fall at a major Warren Commission 50th anniversary conference. I participated as a speaker and in coverage. I reported on Former U.S. House JFK Murder Prober Alleges CIA ‘Lied,’ Seeks Hidden Records and gave an address k carried on C-SPAN, The JFK Murder 'Cover-up' Still Matters -- As Does C-SPAN's Coverage.

Partly as a result of the probe's late 1970s breakdown in Washington, the late congressional investigator Gaeton Fonzi recalled in his memoir The Last Investigation that federal authorities failed to confirm the circumstances of de Mohrenschildt's death. He saw also first-hand that authorities failed to move after the death to nail down the investigative leads the dead man could have provided.

Today's column, Part 24 of the Justice Integrity Project's "Readers Guide" to the JFK assassination, explores why the corporate-owned mainstream media self-censor so much evidence of CIA involvement in the Kennedy assassination and similar news items that extend to the present. Be advised that this column is unusually long at five thousand words. But that length is necessary to document the tale sufficiently, especially for new readers. The topic of media manipulations from the JFK era to the present has huge impact but is carefully hidden.

As an overview, the shortcomings of O’Reilly and Fox News exemplify a pattern that pervades all of the major media, including liberal and alternative outlets.

This Readers Guide series began in 2013 to make sense of the varied JFK assassination evidence and theories, much of it suppressed. As indicated in an appendix below, our first Readers Guide columns listed all important books, videos, and events in comprehensive fashion with minimal commentary. Later columns based on additional research analyzed evidence and expert opinion.

Our most recent commentaries build on that foundation to show that the Warren Commission's key findings could not have been true. The presidentially appointed commission chaired by Chief Justice Earl Warren claimed in 1964 that Oswald acted alone in firing three shots from the rear, killing Kennedy. The commission also claimed that nightclub owner Jack Ruby had no mob ties. Ruby killed Oswald, as portrayed below, at the Dallas police station on Nov. 24, 1963, two days after the president's assassination.

Jack Ruby Murders Lee Harvey OswaldThe Warren Commission, whose members included former CIA Director Allen Dulles, could not have been correct since evidence now indicates that Kennedy was shot at least once from the front. Furthermore, Oswald had covert colleagues, and Ruby was indisputably a longtime figure in organized crime. The latter fact helps contradict the notion that he was such a good citizen that he stalked Oswald to kill him.

So, we must conclude (as does the majority of the American public according to many years of polling) that the Warren Commission misled the public.

Further evidence shows that the CIA, FBI and their powerful allies Wall Street, the media and elsewhere have enforced massive self-censorship and other evidence suppression that has continued to the present on issues on the assassination and its more current consequences. Just last fall, former Cuban exile assassination group leader Antonio Veciana described publicly for the first time that he saw his CIA handler David Atlee Phillips meet with Oswald in Dallas six weeks before the assassination.

Today's series segment begins with a summary of the recent controversy over O'Reilly's claim in his best-selling book Killing Kennedy and elsewhere that he traveled from Texas to interview de Mohrenschildt and was present at his death in Florida.

We next show that the dispute is part of a massive, ongoing propaganda campaign involving all major media to sell the public immediately after the 1963 presidential assassination on the theory that Oswald acted alone.

Such major institutions as Time-Life Inc., then controlled by Publisher Charles Douglas "CD" Jackson, a longtime CIA asset, played a vital role in shaping news coverage of the story, as did then-emerging network stars such as Dan Rather and White House communications director Bill Moyers.

The successful sales job has continued. O'Reilly's book was a well-reviewed best-seller even though it has scanty sourcing for its rehash of the discredited Warren Commission conclusions. Furthermore, his book spawned a widely watched television special and was republished in a children's version that serves to propagandize the next generation.

Finally, we show the enormous career benefits for those journalists, other researchers and government officials who adhere to official claims on matters like the major assassinations in the 1960s and subsequent events extending to the present. Their cowardly actions fostered what has become the well-grounded fear of prospective whistleblowers like de Mohrenschildt that their attempts to speak up will go unheard.

Such fears extend to those at the top of our system. As reported in my book Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters, President Obama has feared taking on the CIA, explained also in such news reports as Obama Team Feared Coup If He Prosecuted War Crimes.

The media often downplay the brutal realities involved in physical and political protection of a president. Two recent examples:

The heavy recent coverage of Secret Service misconduct and security failure rarely mentions the mind-boggling lapses that enabled President Kennedy's assassination. Coverage is rare also of the failure of Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, to discipline anyone in the Secret Service for the breakdowns.

Similarly, the media rarely cover disloyalty within the inner-circles of high officials. Yet back-stabbing and a perceived need for secrecy, even between colleagues, occurs even within the same administration on occasion with the stakes in Washington so high.

That kind of information gaps helps explain why Hillary Clinton wanted her own intelligence network and her own email system as secretary of state, even if doing so may have violated law or public sensibilities, as we shall report March 30 in a column entitled, What's Important About Hillary Clinton's Emails.

Fortunately for the understanding of those who want to learn about such matters, however, we now have enough tools to begin to discern independently the main lessons from the past applied to current developments, as shown below.

The Oswald-De Mohrenschildt Connection

This 24th segment of our Readers Guide builds on the previous material showing strong CIA and FBI connections to Oswald, shown below as a Civil Air Patrol cadet before his enlistment in the Marines at age 17. Those connections suggest that Oswald had been playing a government-orchestrated role as a defector and dissident before the JFK killing, thereby enabling investigators to blame him as a patsy while allowing more expert marksmen to escape while he took the fall.

Our next segment after this, Part 25, will show in detail just how many of Oswald's jobs had covert purposes, including his posting as a Marine to the ultra-secret U-2 spy operation at the Atsugi Air Force Base in Japan.

Lee Harvey Oswald militaryFor now, however, we mention only briefly Oswald's return to the United States from the Soviet Union as notorious "defector" in 1962 and his six-month relationship in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with de Mohrenschildt, an oil engineer who befriended Oswald, his Russian-born wife Marina, and their infant daughter. 

In Family of Secrets, author Russ Baker reported in detail the unique position of George de Mohrenschildt as a friend of Oswald, the Kennedy, and Bush families. De Mohrenschildt was an eclectic individual who, as described by Normal Mailer in Oswald's Tale, presented himself at various times as right-wing and left-wing — typical positioning for a spy and covert agent, not so much in normal life.

More specifically, Baker continued, "The de Mohrenschildts were major players in the global oil business since the beginning of the twentieth century, and their paths crossed with the Rockefellers and other key pillars of the petroleum establishment."

George de Mohrenschildt arrived in the United States from Poland in 1938 with a doctoral degree. Other members of his family had already developed strong relationships with the high-end of United States society via prep school, Yale College, Time-Life publishing, Wall Street finances, and oil exploration in Texas, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

The "Baron" was thus an unlikely person to seek out the friendship of Oswald, a minimum wage worker with no college education who seemingly had defected to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War and tried to hawk U.S. secrets. Nonetheless, de Mohrenschildt sought to help Oswald find work and companionship for his family. The motive? Ostensibly, according to apologists for the Warren Commission, de Mohrenschildt and those he recruited to help the Oswalds socialize with the fiercely anti-communist White Russian community in Texas of those who had fled the Soviet Union.

As documented by Baker and others in ways beyond the scope of this column, de Mohrenschildt and his associates were CIA assets, as was Oswald, a participant in the government's "false defector" program that sought to entangle Ruth Painethe Soviets in spy intrigues. That ruse failed for the most part. So, Oswald returned to the United States with the assistance of authorities as he prepared for his next mission, one that would cost both him and the president their lives.

De Mohrenschildt assisted Oswald in Texas until the engineer handed off the responsibility to another such friend, Ruth Paine, shown in a file photo. Her true role was as an undercover intelligence asset who guided Oswald to a job at the Texas Book Depository shortly before the president's parade.

Later, Paine smeared Oswald as an assassin. The late University of Hartford professor George Michael Evica documented her role in his book A Certain Arrogance: The Sacrificing of Lee Harvey Oswald and the Cold War Manipulation of Religious Groups by US Intelligence. Evica, who broadcast research also on a weekly University of Hartford radio show from 1975 until 2007, revealed breakthrough findings about how Paine's circle of Quakers was among the Protestant groups that served as covert breeding grounds for intelligence operations that were effectively disguised because most Quakers are known for advocating peace.

De Mohrenschildt, meanwhile, left Texas and the Oswalds to pursue other opportunities. The mystery man decamped for Haiti, ostensibly to search for offshore oil. According to such researchers as Russ Baker, however, his mission included help in planning a coup against Haitian dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. To that end, the Baron reputedly visited Air Force Col. Howard Burris, Vice President Lyndon Johnson's top military advisor in April 1963. Also, he received some $250,000 in federal dollars, a large sum in those days.

The JFK Assassination

According to the Warren Report and virtually all mainstream news accounts beginning in the early morning after JFK's assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963: Oswald fired three shots from the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository and was captured in a movie theater because police were seeking a slender white man dressed in a tee shirt based on such a description from a street-level witness. Oswald claimed innocence during an interrogation that was not recorded, and was promptly murdered by Ruby.

Dealey Plaza Picket Fence (Andrew Kreig Photo)Declassified documents and other evidence show that authorities essentially ended their investigation at that point except to assemble evidence that portrayed Oswald as bearing sole guilt and minimizing evidence pointing to other shooters or conspirators.

Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach wrote incoming White House Communications Director Bill Moyers a long, secret memo Nov. 25, for example, describing how federal authorities would focus on Oswald's guilt in order to reassure the public. "The public must be satisfied," Katzenbach wrote Moyers in the now declassified memo, "that Oswald was the assassin; that he had no confederates who are still at large; and that evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial."

J. Edgard Hoover file via Creative CommonsFBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (shown at right) similarly assured incoming President Johnson that same day that the case was solved, and no one need to look for additional suspects — even though more than half of the Warren Commission's witnesses would say shots came from the grassy knoll to the front/right of the president.

[A picket fence still remains at the top of the knoll, illustrating a perfect hiding place for an assassin. Dallas residents often paint an X on the street at the approximate site of Kennedy's death. City authorities routinely erase it.]

Immediately after the president's death, the nation's major news organizations promptly accepted the federal judgment of Oswald's sole guilt even though he maintained his innocence. Among  contemporary news stories, one of the more striking was the description within days of the shooting by CBS News Southern Bureau Chief Dan Rather of his exclusive viewing of a film made by Abraham Zapruder. Federal authorities allowed Rather to see a snippet of the film and he raced to a television studio to describe the film's portrayal of the president after being struck by a fatal bullet: "His head could be seen," Rather intoned, "to move violently forward."

Rather's description fit the government's theory that the president had been struck from behind, presumably by Oswald's gunfire.

The full story is much more troubling, but can only be summarized here since many books are entirely devoted to the details:

One of the most remarkable facts about the Zapruder film was its immediate purchase by Time-Life Publisher Charles Douglas "CD" Jackson, shown in a file photo.

Charles Douglas JacksonJackson joined the Luce publishing empire in 1931. For the next three decades, he held (sometimes simultaneously) high-level positions in it (such as publisher of Fortune Magazine) and also in U.S. government intelligence. He served during World War II, for example, as a high-ranking official in psychological warfare and then as special assistant to President Dwight D. Eisenhower beginning in 1953, with responsibility at the White House for coordinating activities between the fast-growing CIA and the Pentagon. He left government after President Kennedy's election in 1960 and became publisher of Life, the nation's largest circulation magazine.

Also, he was the publisher of its influential sister publication, Time Magazine, which illustrated the ongoing pattern this year in Behind the Scenes: The Complete Kennedy Assassination Story, its nine-page special supplement on Sept. 24 extolling the Warren Commission and vilifying Oswald, shown at right in an unflattering photo illustrating a 1964 Time cover story. 

Immediately after the Kennedy assassination, Jackson undertook two vital initiatives that helped suppress key facts while ostensibly seeking to report them.

Time Magazine Lee Harvey Oswald Cover Oct. 2, 1964First, Jackson secured the Zapruder film, which Time-Life turned over to authorities for processing and otherwise kept secret for years excerpt for law enforcement purposes or occasional publication of a few selected frames. He acquired the film in his own name, thereby keeping it even more secure than if ownership were by the corporate entity. The full film was not available to the public until the mid-1970s when pirated copies seeped out via the JFK research community.

Jackson's other initiative was to secure exclusive rights to Marina Oswald's life story. But, curiously, Time-Life never published the book, illustrating yet again the adage that some stories are worth more dead than alive. After Jackson's death his private papers revealed that he had been a CIA asset since 1948, as well as a key figure in the Operation Mockingbird and other secret propaganda programs.

With the advent of the Internet, the lay public could see that Rather was at best mistaken in reporting the movement of Kennedy's head. Rather explained in his memoir The Camera Never Blinks that mistakes can occur in rushing to report events, as he did.

Whatever Rather's role and explanation, several more general and remarkable facts stand out from news coverage of the assassination, including to the present day:

  • Second, the coverage was no accident. Declassified documents show that the CIA ran a covert program of domestic propaganda called Operation Mockingbird, which was a secret consortium of the owners of the leading newspaper and broadcast outlets aimed at publishing CIA-friendly slants on news developments as a patriotic duty during the Cold War. The program was led by Washington Post Publisher Philip Graham, who dined weekly with the CIA's propaganda leader Frank Wisner, according to biographers. Disclosure of operation's specific goals were on a need-to-know basis. So, ordinary reporters, editors and producers would not have been informed about strategies, only their narrow assignments. But the scope of the program and similar ones affecting other sectors has since been documented by many experts, including by former Washington Post Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein in a 30,000-word report in Rolling Stone in 1977 preceded by an earlier column by The Realist Magazine in 1972 by JFK researcher Jerry Policoff, "How All About Political Assassinations in the United States Has Not Been Fit To Print In the New York Times."
  • Bill Moyers and Lyndon B. Johnson 1963 White HouseFinally, many of the nation's most prominent journalists received their first big break during the JFK assassination and thereby launched themselves into journalism's top ranks for decades. Aside from Rather, these include current CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer and longtime Public Broadcasting Service "News Hour" co-anchors Jim Lehrer and Robert "Robin" MacNeil. Bill Moyers (shown with his boss Lyndon Johnson) switched from helping orchestrate assassination coverage in the Johnson White House to becoming a noted pundit from a liberal perspective at PBS for many years. Also, Moyers led a foundation that helped fund many liberal news and commentary outlets for decades, few of whom have ever documented the evidence of CIA and FBI complicity in the Kennedy assassination, as I wrote in Nearly Too Late, Public Learns of Bill Moyers’ Conflicts Over PBS, LBJ. Each of these individuals is highly talented, of course. But few have shown much initiative in examining the kind of alternative theories raised here.   

Historical context helps make the situation at least somewhat understandable.

Many officials and members of the general public intensely feared a Communist threat. Oswald's public persona was tailor-made to fit the popularly imagined profile of a terrorist.

"We don’t know what kind of a Communist conspiracy this might be,” said President Johnson in his first words after being informed of his ascension to office upon Kennedy's death. That was the recollection of Kennedy aide Mac Kilduff, who informed of Johnson of JFK's death at 1:20 p.m. — which was 30 minutes before Oswald was even arrested on Nov. 22. Kilduff was filling in for JFK press secretary Pierre Salinger, who did not make the Dallas trip. Kilduff's quotation of Johnson's comment is at the 11-minute mark of a 1991 video interview.

In recruitment talks with prospective Warren Commission members and later with the news media, Johnson and his team continued to plant the concept of a Communist conspiracy that, unless the case were solved with Oswald as the lone suspect, might escalate the assassination into a nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union that could kills tens of millions of people.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Johnson's neighbor and close friend, voiced similar themes and promised Johnson's staff just three days after the shooting that the FBI could prepare a comprehensive report within days proving that Oswald was the sole killer. The FBI produced in early December a 900-page report. In the impressive book in his Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why, Professor Gerald McKnight later assessed the 1963 FBI report as almost entirely a "diatribe" against Oswald and his alleged Communism and flawed character. The report that contained so little other usable information that it was never published or even cited by the Warren Commission in its 26 volumes of exhibits the following year.

We know know from declassified records that many investigators took such Communist and world war fears seriously, thereby inspiring their cover-up. In addition, six of the seven Warren Commissioners (aside from former CIA Director Allen Dulles) had demanding day jobs, thereby limiting their review of evidence and theory. U.S. Sen. Richard Russell (D-GA), for example, was the de facto leader of Southern segregationists engaged in their historic but unsuccessful effort to block the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Scholars have discovered that Russell was so busy with his Senate work that he did not even notice that the Warren Commission's announcement of its supposedly "unanimous" findings in 1964 did not include his dissent on a key point of the "single bullet theory," as Russell had been promised when he staunchly refused to endorse the commission's concept that one bullet from Oswald could have inflicted so many wounds on two victims, and emerged in near pristine condition found by accident on a hospital stretcher.

This was not necessarily innocent or happenstance. We need not dwell now on specific names of the tiny few masterminds most likely to have been orchestrating a plan but we know that several key suspects have long been regarded as brilliant masterminds of intrigue, propaganda, and psychological warfare at other times and places. The dustcover of Professor Evica's book, for example, described the Christian crusades against "Godless Communism" were personified by Allen Dulles and his brother, Eisenhower Administration Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, "and then brilliantly sold to the American People by media geniuses like Henry R. Luce and his Cold War Machiavelli, C.D. Jackson."

Such factors helped thwart many low-level government officials, reporters and whistleblowers who tried to break stories or write books on the Kennedy assassination. Most encountered extraordinary roadblocks in obtaining follow-ups of their articles or book reviews.

Among such expert whistleblowers was retired Air Force Col. Fletcher Prouty, the Pentagon's top liaison to the CIA for covert operations during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. In 1973, Prouty authored The Secret Team, one of the first insider books about the CIA and in 1996 JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, a book alleging the agency's orchestration of assassination on behalf of the nation's hawks who regarded as near-treasonous JFK's plans to deescalate the Cold War and Vietnam fighting.

Yet even Prouty, whose assignment at one point was to help place CIA assets into major United States corporations, apparently failed to appreciate that his first book's distribution problems may have stemmed from his publisher's use of William Casey — a media mogul, former Office of Strategic Services officer and future CIA director — as a part-time senior editor.

Another such whistleblower with official credentials was New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who brought an unsuccessful and widely vilified murder case in the 1960s against businessman and covert CIA asset Clay Shaw for conspiracy to murder the president.

Garrison (shown below), Prouty and many police, CIA, FBI and other government officials with inside information faced powerful institutional forces arrayed against them.

In April 1967, the CIA privately published a 50-page memo, "CIA Dispatch Jim Garrison1035-960." The directive instructed CIA assets worldwide to persuade their media contacts to defend the Warren Report and attack its critics. The document is here in the original, and here in reformatted text of its summary. This memo initiated the “conspiracy theorist” smear that continues to this day against anyone who speaks against a crime potentially committed by United States government agents working in military, law enforcement or intelligence services.

To secretly advance those smears, NBC News (a core member of the CIA's Operation Mockingbird program) hired former FBI, CIA and NSA official executive Walter Sheridan as a special investigator reporter who functioned in effect as a smear expert to disrupt Garrison's murder conspiracy prosecution of New Orleans businessman and secret CIA Clay Shaw. These events  were documented by Joan Mellen, among others, in her biography of Garrison, A Farewell To Justice. Shaw won acquittal by denying (falsely as it turned out) that he had been a CIA asset working under the cover of leading a New Orleans based global trade organization.

Under enabling legislation in 1947, the CIA has always been forbidden to engage in domestic propaganda and similar covert activities in the United State but enforcement by other agencies has been lax, for obvious reasons.

By the mid-1970s, revelations of the CIA's assassination program in the wake of Watergate and growing doubts in the black community about the credibility of the Justice Department's prosecution of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s accused murderer, James Earl Ray, led congress to create the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in September 1976. Its purpose? To show the public before that year's elections that congress was serious about re-investigating the Kennedy and King assassinations.

Richard SpragueAppointed to lead the probe under Chairman Henry Gonzalez (D-TX) was Chief Counsel Richard Sprague, at left, of Philadelphia. Sprague recruited as his deputy the well-regarded New York prosecutor Robert Tanenbaum. But Sprague antagonized Gonzalez and other power brokers that included media by seeking a budget and staff adequate for the task, and making clear that his open-ended probe would grill law enforcers as well as the usual suspects.

In his first months, Sprague needed to fight not just Gonzalez and other opponents but beg to continue the probe. Such special committees automatically end in January with the beginning of a new two-year session of congress.

Tanenbaum, shown in a file photo below, has said he resigned from the investigation once he realized that congressional leaders did not dare question CIA personnel, especially former Western Hemisphere covert operations Robert Tanenbaumleader David Atlee Phillips under oath about obvious discrepancies in the record. David Atlee PhillipsPhillips, shown at right, founded the politically powerful Association of Former Intelligence Officers in 1976 after a career of intrigue. Phillips created a hundred secret identities so that even his CIA peers would not know of his activities, according to the in-depth research of Dr. John M. Newman, a professor, author, and former military intelligence officer who achieved high rank at the NSA.

We are indebted to the late HSCA investigator Gaeton Fonzi and his memoir, The Last Investigation (first published in 1993 and republished in 2013), for an account of what happened next as Gonzalez resigned and threatened to use his clout to shut down the assassination probe unless Sprague quit also.

While Sprague struggled to persuade congress to fund the probe, Tanenbaum and Fonzi encountered what seemed like breakthrough tips involving de Mohrenschildt. Yale-educated Dutch journalist Willem Oltmans (1925-2004) said the mysterious consultant had confided that he had been working in Dallas before the assassination with revenge-seekers from the oil industry and Cuban exile community who wanted to settle scores with the White House.

Fonzi recalled de Mohrenschildt (1911-1977) as one of the most fascinating and independent-minded witnesses before the original Warren Commission, which failed to pursue the implications of his testimony about the Oswalds.

Furthermore, de Mohrenschildt — a colorful figure — was working with Oltmans on a book sympathetic to Oswald (with a working title "I Am A Patsy") and seemed in a position to become a breakthrough witness for the HSCA.

George H.W. Bush at CIABut obstacles remained. The prospective witness had had a nervous breakdown, and several suicide attempts cited by his ex-wife, Jeanne. He lived in fear so severe that he wrote to the CIA in September 1976 seeking help from a family friend, CIA Director George H.W. Bush, shown a photo at the agency's headquarters.

The future president (who had been a secret CIA asset operating in the private sector for more than a decade after his graduation from Yale) responded in non-committal fashion to the troubled man, who by then was teaching at a black college that the CIA was covertly funding in Texas. Bush also authorized an FBI investigation of his correspondent, whose nephew had been Bush's roommate at the exclusive prep school Phillips Andover.

Furthermore, de Mohrenschildt's relationship with Oltmans troubled de Mohrenschildt, according to researcher Jerry Policoff, who published a brief item for New Times about the men and then received a call from Oltmans requesting a meeting. In a recent series of emails to this editor, Policoff recalled that Oltmans threatened him at the meeting and seemed "definitely a spook" operating in the guise of a journalist. In sum, Policoff believes de Mohrenschildt reasonably feared that he was yet another witness in the JFK/Oswald case being set up by a pseudo-journalist and pseudo-friend for an ignoble end.

Fonzi persisted and learned that de Mohrenschildt was in Florida, visiting the sister of one of his three former wives.

Fonzi made plans for a surprise visit March 29 to the address in Manalapan, a strip of wealthy homes in Palm Beach. First, however, he responded to a call March 28 from Bill O'Reilly, who in those days was a reporter at WFLAA-TV, the ABC affiliate in Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Earle Cabell, Dallas mayor and congressmanO'Reilly in those days was making a name for himself by aggressive reporting, including on news leads tending to undermine the official story of the JFK assassination. The oil-dominated power structure of Dallas had long been hostile territory for Kennedy. The reasons are too many to list but included his Northern and Catholic background, and his civil rights policies that in 1963 inflamed substantial sections of a still-segregated South.

Relevant also is that Kennedy had fired Deputy CIA Director Charles Cabell, brother of Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell (shown at left), in his 1961 housecleaning of the CIA's three top leaders. Ousted from the top was CIA Director Allen Dulles, who was later able to help guide the Warren Commission as one of its most active and well-connected members.

As further context for O'Reilly's work in 1977, many in his Dallas TV station's market were embarrassed by the assassination and eager to accept the Warren Commission's theory that the killing had been the work of a lone nut with who had no significant community or institutional connection.

Nonetheless, O'Reilly was aggressive in pursuing newsworthy leads on the case and worked for a management that supported such work with the confidence that at least a niche audience wants to learn more about important local news. Several of our Readers Guide segments have similarly highlighted how ordinary citizens in the Dallas region, including legal secretary Mary Ferrell, helped preserve documentation that researchers ever since have relied upon.

Enter Bill O'Reilly, Maybe

Meanwhile, O'Reilly, apparently phoning from Dallas, had multiple phone calls with Fonzi on March 28 and 29 stating that he wanted to join him ASAP, according to tape recordings recently distributed to JFK researchers by Marie Fonzi, Gaeton Fonzi's widow.

Fonzi visited the address he had for de Mohrenschildt and left his card with his daughter, who said she would give it to her father when he returned. Fonzi was saddened and surprised to learn that de Mohrenschildt was reported to have killed himself unexpectedly with a shotgun later that day, much of which was spent with freelance writer Edward Jay Epstein. In his book The Last Investigation, Fonzi treated the tragedy in detail as a lost opportunity to question a potential breakthrough witness.

Fonzi described also fierce infighting at the congressional committee whereby Sprague resigned as a trade off to enable funding. He quotes Sprague as reflecting afterwards that the funding problems had seemed to arise when Sprague and Tanenbaum made clear they planned to investigate potential CIA ties to the JFK assassination. Tanenbaum resigned several months after Sprague, and has made similar allegations of a cowardly congressional investigation doomed to failure for failure to follow leads. Sprague's successor as chief counsel, G. Robert Blakey, deferred to the CIA, a tactic Blakey conceded last fall was a mistake.

Bill O'Reilly Killing Kennedy Cover (High definition)In the end, Blakey and the HSCA chairman Louis Stokes (D-OH) issued a report saying there may have been a conspiracy in the Kennedy killing but it could not be determined who was involved besides Oswald. The report did contain, however, the de Mohrenschildt three hundred page manuscript entitled, "I Am A Patsy," words spoken by Oswald to the media as he begged for a lawyer to defend him before Ruby silenced him.

The recent controversy arose on CNN and elsewhere because O'Reilly claimed on page 300 of his book Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot that he had been knocking on the de Mohrenschildt family's door when he heard the shotgun blast killing the prospective witness on March 29.

Two years ago, the JFK researcher Jefferson Morley, shown at right, had argued that O'Reilly's claim could not be true for several reasons, including his locale in Dallas. Other pundits, many of them from Jefferson Morleyleft-leaning outlets, jumped into the fray a month ago or so to accuse O'Reilly of lying about the incident and similarly embellishing other reporting in the manner of suspended NBC News anchor Brian Williams. Epstein wrote in Newsweek that O'Reilly's account was not credible, as reported in Journalist Says He Can Prove Bill O'Reilly Wasn't Present At JFK-Related Suicide.

Fox News stood by their embattled anchor, in contrast to NBC's reaction to the Brian Williams scandal. Furthermore, a former WFAA colleague, Bob Sirkin, has stepped forward to assert he had traveled to Florida with O'Reilly with arrival in the wee hours of March 29 to cover the story, although Sirkin says he did not visit the Manalapan site with O'Reilly. A Washington Post blogger covered the matter in Journalist Says He Can Prove Bill O'Reilly Wasn't Present At JFK-Related Suicide. An array of the varying coverage is listed below in an appendix.

One new overview arising from this column comes from Dr. Walt Brown, a longtime college professor and JFK researcher. Brown has authored multiple books on the topic (including the forthcoming The Cold War Was A Fraud: JFK Died To Keep It Alive) after beginning his career as a special agent with the Justice Department.

"O’Reilly’s claim regarding de Mohrenschildt [GDM] is patently false," Brown emailed me. "It can be easily proven by viewing the case file of GDM's suicide. Anyone standing at the door and hearing 'the shotgun blast' (no doubt muffled with the gun in GDM's mouth) would have immediately notified police. Is O'Reilly's name on the police blotter?" 

One logical explanation I have not yet seen argued is that O'Reilly's co-author, Martin Dugard, carelessly hoked up the incident without fully understanding the logistics. Then when the issue became controversial everyone dug in their heels because the brand-name of O'Reilly is too big to jeopardize by admission of error. Little known to the public, many celebrities do not write their own books. They use ghostwriters who may be rewarded with a co-authorships listing and/or a share of the proceeds with almost no public credit, depending on the deal. Thus the basketball commentator and former star Charles Barkley once complained that he was misquoted in his own autobiography.

Whether this happened with O'Reilly's tall tale is speculation on my part to some extent, although NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen offered a parallel theory on CNN March 1. Rosen, a noted media critic, opined that both Fox News management and the audience retain a special loyalty to a unique cultural warrior like O'Reilly in a way that does not exist for a generalist such as Brian Williams and his employers at NBC.

Whatever the case on that, my issues with the book are threefold and each more serious.

  • First, the entire section on Oswald's actions and indeed guilt is extremely short, thinly sourced and derivative of the Warren Report and several rubber-stamp treatments of the report. The book fails completely to address the possibility argued in well over a thousand other books — and indeed by declassified transcript of Warren Commission executive sessions — that the CIA and other law enforcement agencies worked with Oswald to present a false personality to the public, such as by using a double.

  • Second, O'Reilly was well aware of these subtleties from his early, aggressive work on them. In April of 1977, for example, O'Reilly took a film crew to the Dallas office of CIA official to challenge him on his knowledge of both Oswald and de Mohrenschildt. That was far from normal behavior for a mainstream media reporter, especially since the CIA theoretically under the law lacked authority to undertake domestic political and propaganda operations.

  • Finally, the vast success that O'Reilly has enjoyed for such a shallow if not deceptive treatment of the crime of the century should trouble anyone who believes fair and balanced reporting has a place in society. Primary blame for shortcomings falls on the co-authors and their publisher, of course. But they are hardly likely to protest when the boo has sold a reputed two million copies, and has spawned a high-rated television documentary and a children's book to carry the message to a new generation. This kind of success has been shared by other books that for the most part rubber-stamped the Warren Report findings, including books by James Swanson, Norman Mailer, Vincent Bugliosi, and Gerald Posner. Fault must be shared with play-it-safe mainstream journalists, who dare not even after all these years to touch on the kinds of themes raised in this column. The New York Times review of Killing Kennedy by Janet Maslin, for example, praised O'Reilly's book as Unabashed in the Face of Tragedy, as if including O'Reilly's account of White House sex scenes showed bravery when he and his co-author dared not address tough questions about the CIA and other alleged plotters. Praising the concept of the Killing series, Maslin wrote, "The books are punchy. They are blunt and clear, not being burdened with an overload of pesky footnotes," thereby making a virtue out of nearly unsourced, reckless opinion by authors earning millions.

 
Summing Up

Two disclaimers are in order for those readers who have made it thus far.

  • The emphasis here on documenting hidden intelligence operatives within the news media that affected JFK coverage does not mean that I think all such activities and their operatives are bad. Presidential Puppetry reveals that my late mother, Margaret KreigMargaret Kreig, once prominent author and journalist shown at right from the cover photo from her final book, had at times been a CIA asset and undercover federal drug investigator. Her actions stemmed from the same patriotic motives motivating many others in such activities and I'm certain she would have supported this kind of disclosure for the larger cause of an informed public. In her case, she dropped out of college in 1943 to become one of the first women to join the Marines during World War II as a reservist, then embarked on a long writing career that included consumer reporting for Parent's Magazine and Reader's Digest, globe-trotting book research, occasional debriefings by a high-ranking CIA official, and courageous testimony as the star witness in a 1967 congressional hearing exposing Mafia infiltration of the prescription drug industry. In that spirit, the disclosures above are primarily to provide readers the tools to cope with current affairs, which are often confusing even for those following "the news."
  • JFK researcher Jefferson Morley extended a peace offering of sorts to Bill O'Reilly in a column this month. Under the title In defense of Bill O’Reilly, Morley wrote: "The Fox News host fibbed about his glory days as a young reporter. These CIA officers took deceptive — and possibly criminal — action in the course of the investigation of the murder of a sitting president. They have yet to be shamed, investigated, or even much noticed by the liberal (or conservative) media. That doesn’t excuse O’Reilly. It just puts his misdemeanors in perspective.opined that 'elite media' have more consistently suppressed the truth about the Kennedy assassination than O'Reilly."

Gaeton Fonzi's widow, Marie, has a quite different view. Noting that she is a fellow "conservative," she emailed me that O'Reilly's profiteering from a false narrative about the assassination remains despicable, especially his initiative to repeat the slant in children's books for those too young to remember and realize that multiple perspectives exist. I believe his slant is a disservice to my husband, who befriended Bill when he was a young aspiring journalist.  O'Reilly is, in effect, saying my husband lied in his account in The Last Investigation (p. 192)."

Finally, this column carries a headline suggesting that readers "might" find the topic of interest. That low-key approach reflects the reality that most viewers and readers are busy and many are satisfied with the array of information available from the media. This is not for them but instead for those who want to understand the news, not simply watch it.

That is a personal choice for every citizen. The perspective here is merely to recommend a KEY: Knowledge Empowers You.

 

Andrew Kreig will speak April 1 about this column and his recommended reforms at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The public is welcome to the lecture and discussion of exciting new developments, which begins at 7 p.m. following a Dutch-treat, optional dinner at 6:30 p.m. The host is the Sarah McClendon Group, named for the late White House correspondent, which has organized such inside-DC talks for the past quarter century on cutting-edge topics. For details, including directions for free parking, contact the author.

 

Note: This column was updated with minor revisions March 28, 2015.

 
Contact the author Andrew Kreig
 
 

 

Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide To JFK Assassination

* Denotes major articles in this Readers Guide series

Dealey Plaza Panorama (Andrew Kreig Photo)At right is a photo by this editor in Dallas showing Dealey Plaza. The Texas Book Depository Building where Oswald worked is behind the row of trees. The car in the center lane is near the location of President Kennedy's limo at the time of his fatal shooting.

  1. Project Launches JFK Assassination Readers' Guide, Oct. 16, 2013.
  2. Project Provides JFK Readers Guide To New Books, Videos, Oct. 26, 2013. This is a list of new books and films in 2013.
  3. Disputes Erupt Over NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post Reviews of JFK Murder, Nov. 7, 2013. *
  4. Self-Censorship In JFK TV Treatments Duplicates Corporate Print Media's Apathy, Cowardice, Nov. 7, 2013.
  5. 'Puppetry' Hardback Launched Nov. 19 at DC Author Forum on ‘White House Mysteries & Media,'  Nov. 19, 2013.
  6. Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory, Nov. 27, 2013.
  7. JFK Murder Scene Trapped Its Victim In Kill Zone, Nov. 30, 2013.
  8. Project Lists JFK Assassination Reports, Archives, Videos, Events, Nov. 2, 2013. Leading video, events and archives from the last 50 years. *
  9. JFK Murder, The CIA, and 8 Things Every American Should Know, Dec. 9, 2013. The CIA implicated itself in the cover-up, according to experts who have spoken out. *
  10. JFK Murder Prompts Expert Reader Reactions, Dec. 19, 2013. Reactions to our Dec. 9 column. 
  11. Have Spy Agencies Co-Opted Presidents and the Press? Dec. 23, 2013. *
  12. Don't Be Fooled By 'Conspiracy Theory' Smears, May 26, 2014. *
  13. Experts To Reveal Secrets of JFK Murder, Cover-up at Sept. 26-28 DC Forum , Sept. 5, 2014. 
  14. Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later, Sept. 22, 2014. *
  15. JFK Experts To Explode Myths, Sign Books In DC Sept. 26-28, Sept. 24, 2014.
  16. Former Cuban Militant Leader Claims CIA Meeting With Oswald Before JFK Killing, Sept. 27, 2014. *
  17. JFK Readers Guide: Assassination Books, Reports, Oct. 15, 2014. *
  18. Former House JFK Murder Prober Alleges CIA ‘Lied,’ Seeks Hidden Records, Oct. 18, 2014. *
  19. The JFK Murder 'Cover-up' Still Matters -- As Does C-SPAN's Coverage, Nov. 11, 2014. *
  20. JFK, Nov. 22 and the Continuing Cover-Up, Nov. 24, 2014. *
  21. JFK Assassination Readers Guide To 2013-14 Events, Nov. 28, 2014. *
  22. CIA, Empowered by JFK Murder Cover-up, Blocks Senate Torture Report, Dec. 1, 2014. *
  23. Nearly Too Late, Public Learns of Bill Moyers’ Conflicts Over PBS, LBJ, Jan. 2, 2014.
  24. Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You, March 17, 2015.
  25. Free Videos Show Shocking Claims About CIA, JFK Murder Probes, June 29, 2015.
  26. Pioneering Black Secret Service JFK Guard Abraham Bolden Warns Of Current Lessons, July 22, 2015.
  27. Understanding Hollywood-Style Presidential Propaganda From JFK To Trump, Aug. 18, 2015.
  28. Beware Of Wrong Conclusions From New CIA Disclosure On Oswald, Sept. 28, 2015.
  29. The JFK Murder Cover-Up: Your Rosetta Stone To Today’s News, Nov. 29, 2015.
  30. Austin Kiplinger, David Skorton: Two Civic Giants Going And Coming, Dec. 15, 2015.

JIP Editor's Other Recommended Columns

Bill SimpichSan Francisco attorney and prominent JFK Assassination researcher Bill Simpich (shown in a file photo) has published on OpEd News a series so far in 12 parts on "The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend." The series began in 2010 with: The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part One: Mother, Meyer, and the Spotters).

The argument builds on the work of other researchers to document how Oswald was an asset of U.S. military and intelligence authorities who was operating as a covert agent of the United States during his activities before the assassination. The most relevant segment to George de Mohrenschildt is Part 7: The hand-off from De Mohrenschildt to the Paines:

OpEdNews, The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 7: The hand-off from De Mohrenschildt to the Paines), Bill Simpich, Oct. 22, 2011. When Lee Harvey Oswald and his family returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth area from the Soviet Union, they knew that they had make contacts if they were going to put food on the table. Dallas oilman/spy George de Mohrenschildt became a benefactor to the Oswald family, providing them with money and contacts after their return to the US from the Soviet Union. De Mohrenschildt's lawyer Max Clark was also General Dynamics' industrial security consultant and a leader within the White Russian community. Oswald contacted Max Clark's wife shortly after his return, explaining that the Texas Employment Commission had referred her to him as a Russian-speaker and that his wife would like to spend time with another Russian-speaker. Oswald had legend makers precisely because he and his wife presented a perceived threat to national security. De Mohrenschildt visited and exchanged cards and letters with CIA official J. Walton Moore on a regular basis during the fifties and sixties. Moore wrote a memo in 1977 claiming that he only met de Mohrenschildt twice, in 1958 and in 1961. Moore's hazy memory on the number of visits was exposed by the House Select Committee on Assassinations. De Mohrenschildt revealed a few hours before his death that Moore took him to lunch in late 1961, and described to him an ex-Marine in Minsk in whom the CIA had "interest."  In the summer of 1962, an associate of Moore suggested that de Mohrenschildt might want to meet Oswald. De Mohrenschildt then called Moore, suggesting that suitable payback would be a little help by the State Department with an oil exploration deal in Haiti.

The first part of the series is immediately below, with additional segments listed below that in chronological order. A photo of the Oswalds is via the National Archives:

OpEd News, The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part One: Mother, Meyer, and the Spotters), Bill Simpich, Aug. 22. 2010. With millions of documents released in the years since the JFK Act was passed in the nineties, the intelligence backgrounds of the twelve who built the Oswald legend have come into focus. A legend maker can range from a "babysitter" who just keeps an eye on the subject to someone handing out unequivocal orders. I count twelve of them, and I'll tell you about them here in this series of essays here.

  1. Lee Harvey Oswald and Marina Oswald National Archives08/22/2010     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part I:   Mother, Meyer, and the Spotters)
  2. 09/02/2010     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 2:  An Instant Visa Gets The Marine Into Moscow)
  3. 12/06/2010     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 3:  Counterintelligence goes molehunting with Oswald's file)
  4. 11/16/2010     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 4:  When the U-2 Goes Down, Oswald is Ready to Return)
  5. 12/27/2010     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 5:  The Double Dangle)
  6. 11/22/2011     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 6:  White Russians Keep An Eye On Oswald In Dallas)
  7. 06/03/2012     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 7:  The hand-off from De Mohrenschildt to the Paines)
  8. 06/04/2012     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 8:  The CIA-Army Intelligence Mambo)  
  9. 08/30/2012     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 9:  Oswald Takes Center Stage As An Intelligence Asset
  10. 07/26/2013     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 10: Nightmare in Mexico City)  
  11. 12/21/2014     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 11: The Paines Carry the Weight)
  12. 12/31/2014     The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 12: The Endgame

 

Related News Coverage

Kennedy Assassination

JFK Facts, Investigator’s tape exposes Bill O’Reilly’s JFK fib, Jefferson Morley (shown in a file photo), Feb. 24, 2015. (First published in JFK Facts, January 30, 2013) In his best-selling book Killing Kennedy, Bill O’Reilly tells a brief tale of an intrepid reporter Jefferson Morley— himself — chasing the historical truth of JFK’s assassination in south Florida. But the story itself is a fiction, as O’Reilly reveals here in his own voice. In the annals of the JFK assassination story, rife with CIA and FBI malfeasance, O’Reilly’s fanciful anecdote might seem trivial. It is not the saddest feature of his book, which manages to ignore all of the high-quality JFK assassination scholarship of the last two decades. But as O’Reilly’s yarn is presented as fact in USA Today and the Fort-Worth Telegram; as his book dominates the best-seller charts; and as a credulous National Geographic embarks on making a documentary of Killing Kennedy, O’Reilly’s credibility matters. In O’Reilly’s account, the dramatic incident happened on March 29, 1977. The Fox News talk show host was then a 28-year-old television reporter in Dallas seeking to make a name for himself by investigating a popular subject that other reporters disdained: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Working in Dallas at a time when Congress re-opened the JFK investigation in the mid-1970s, O’Reilly scored some real scoops, especially about a man named George de Mohrenschildt. A Russian emigre who moved in both European high society and the American underworld, de Mohrenschildt would have made a splendid character in a Graham Greene novel, except he was a real living CIA asset involved in the events that would culminate in JFK’s murder on Dallas on November 22,1963. De Mohrenschildt was good copy. He was probably the only person on the planet on friendly terms with both the family of First Lady Jackie Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of killing her husband. De Mohrenschildt was not a paid CIA employee, but as JFK investigators closed in on him, he expected CIA assistance.

Veracity Voice, Blow Back From The JFK Assassination, Melinda Pillsbury Foster, March 28, 2015. Andrew Kreig, founder of the Justice Integrity Project, is not the first to point out the inconvenient truths surrounding the 1964 report of the Warren Commission. His continuing series of articles on the details contain a series of shocks, which bring into high relief the falsehoods sold to the public by the major media. His book, Presidential Puppetry, has built out a picture of events both compelling and frightening. Kreig has been thorough, building a monumental data base which, along with following the action, examines the impact of the assassination on American politics, those who report the news, and the many incidents following the death of JFK and continuing to today.

JFK Boston Globe HeadlniesJFKcountercoup, Phillip Shenon's "A Cruel and Shocking Twist," Bill Kelly, March 14, 2015 (Review of Phillip Shenon's book A Cruel and Shocking Act — 2013 Macmillan — Audio version by Robert Petkoff). As a serious and respected journalist Phillip Shenon deserves a listen when he says the whole truth about the assassination of President Kennedy has yet to be told, that much of the evidence and many of the official records have been destroyed, and there are still some unquestioned witnesses who have been ignored or intimidated into silence. Among the destroyed, some incinerated, some flushed down toilets, others simply gone missing, include original autopsy notes and photos, Oswald's note to the FBI, backyard pictures, JFK's brain, Jackie's pink pill box hat — all gone. This is not to mention the Air Force One radio tapes, the Secret Service radio tapes, Mary's box of evidence lost by the Dallas PD, the ONI investigative reports on Oswald, the USMC investigative report that concluded Oswald not capable of committing the assassination alone, and private interviews with Oswald's USMC buddies -- and there's more that Shenon doesn't bother to mention. So we are left with what Shenon calls a "Duel Curse," too little direct evidence has survived, yet thanks to the JFK Act too much has been released — millions of pages of government documents, too much for any one person to read it all, yet Shenon doesn't mention that there are still so many records being withheld for reasons of national security that the National Archives can't even tell us how many. Shenon tells us that no one person can read it all, but he himself reads the Prologue to the audio version of his book in which he tells us how he came to this story — while sitting at a desk of the New York Times Washington DC office when he got a phone call from a former Warren Commission attorney who wanted the truth to be told — "the best detective story you have never heard."

Deadline Hollywood, Bill O’Reilly’s Publisher Jumps In As Oswald Biographer Blasts JFK Report, Lisa de Moraes, March 9, 2015. Bill O’Reilly tonight directed his viewers to the website of his Killing Kennedy publisher Henry Holt & Company, which today posted a statement from a former colleague of O’Reilly who insisted the Fox News Channel host was in Florida at the time a person of interest in the JFK assassination investigation committed suicide. Coincidentally — or not — this topped O’Reilly’s Fox News Channel show the same day Newsweek posted a report today, written by Lee Harvey Oswald biographer Edward Jay Epstein, calling pure horseradish O’Reilly’s account of being at the front door when Oswald acquaintance George de Mohrenschildt, took his life.

Huffington Post, Journalist Says He Can Prove Bill O'Reilly Wasn't Present At JFK-Related Suicide, Catherine Taibi, March 9, 2015. Investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein says he can prove that Bill O'Reilly was not present at the 1977 suicide of a JFK-related figure that the host said he witnessed. He can prove it, because he was there. In a searing takedown published in Newsweek on Monday, Epstein said it was "impossible" for the Fox News host to be there. He wrote: "I was the actual — and only — reporter interviewing de Mohrenschildt on the last day of his life." O'Reilly has claimed on numerous occasions that he was present for the death of George de Mohrenschildt, a friend of alleged John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald who took his own life on March 29, 1977. During an appearance on "Fox & Friends" to promote his 2012 book, Killing Kennedy, O'Reilly said that he was just about to knock on the door of Mohrenschildt's daughter's house when he heard the gunshot go off. His former colleague, however, told Media Matters in February that O'Reilly was in Dallas at the time, nowhere near the site of the suicide. The allegations against the host came as several of his war reporting experiences are under scrutiny, as some say O'Reilly embellished events or claimed to be places he may not have been. A series of tape recordings released by CNN last week purportedly showed that O'Reilly was in fact in Dallas at the time the gunshot went off, and was only told about suicide over the phone while working as a reporter for a local station.

Bill O'Reilly CBS Newsweek, O'Reilly's JFK Reporting Was Impossible. I Know Because I Was There, Edward Jay Epstein, March 9, 2015. I was recently bemused to see that Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News host, managed in 2012 to parachute himself back in time to March 29, 1977 so as to make himself a witness to the gunshot that killed George de Mohrenschildt. De Mohrenschildt, a well-connected Russian émigré, was a figure of interest in the mystery of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy because he had befriended Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of JFK. How did O’Reilly get into the act? In his 2012 best-selling book Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot, he wrote himself — as a 29-year-old reporter — into the de Mohrenschildt death scene, stating on page 300: “As the reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s home, he heard the shotgun blast that marked the suicide of the Russian, assuring that his relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald would never be fully understood. By the way, that reporter’s name is Bill O’Reilly.” But O’Reilly’s insertion suffers from a reality deficiency disorder. How do I know? I was the actual — and only — reporter interviewing de Mohrenschildt on the last day of his life in 1977. I was meeting him at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, because I was writing a biography of Oswald (Legend: the Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald).

Washington Post, JFK-Florida dustup: ‘I have no explanation’ for audiotape, Erik Wemple, March 10, 2015. Bob Sirkin has specific recollections about the time he spent with reporter Bill O’Reilly in late March 1977, when they both worked at Dallas TV station WFAA. Late on the night of March 28, said Sirkin in a long chat with the Erik Wemple Blog, he and O’Reilly flew from Dallas-Fort Worth to West Palm Beach on now-defunct Braniff International Airways. As he tells it, the pair had traveled in pursuit of an interview with George de Mohrenschildt, a Russian emigre and a fascinating character in the re-opened investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. “Bill and I were working on various aspects of the Kennedy assassination cover-up,” recalls the 69-year-old Sirkin. The King of Cable News himself helped to propel this latest chapter in the vetting of his journalistic record. On his program last night, O’Reilly steered viewers to Sirkin’s statement on the site of “Killing Kennedy” publisher Henry Holt Co. In the segment, O’Reilly said, “One footnote — as you may know, the far left attacks on my reporting continue. Nothing I can do about it, but if you are interested, the reporter who was with me 38 years ago has put out a statement on my book Killing Kennedy. It is posted on HenryHolt.com. Type in ‘Killing Kennedy’ and scroll to the media section, whatever that means. Henry Holt is my publisher.”

Huffington Post, Journalist Says He Can Prove Bill O'Reilly Wasn't Present At JFK-Related Suicide, Catherine Taibi, March 9, 2015. Investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein says he can prove that Bill O'Reilly was not present at the 1977 suicide of a JFK-related figure that the host said he witnessed. He can prove it, because he was there. In a searing takedown published in Newsweek on Monday, Epstein said it was "impossible" for the Fox News host to be there. He wrote: "I was the actual -- and only -- reporter interviewing de Mohrenschildt on the last day of his life." O'Reilly has claimed on numerous occasions that he was present for the death of George de Mohrenschildt, a friend of alleged John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald who took his own life on March 29, 1977. During an appearance on "Fox & Friends" to promote his 2012 book, Killing Kennedy, O'Reilly said that he was just about to knock on the door of Mohrenschildt's daughter's house when he heard the gunshot go off. His former colleague, however, told Media Matters in February that O'Reilly was in Dallas at the time, nowhere near the site of the suicide. The allegations against the host came as several of his war reporting experiences are under scrutiny, as some say O'Reilly embellished events or claimed to be places he may not have been. A series of tape recordings released by CNN last week purportedly showed that O'Reilly was in fact in Dallas at the time the gunshot went off, and was only told about suicide over the phone while working as a reporter for a local station.

JFK Facts.org, In defense of Bill O’Reilly, Jefferson Morley, March 5, 2015. At Salon, Joan Walsh asks if Bill O’Reilly’s JFK fib will “unravel” him? I doubt it. As Brian Stelter notes, O’Reilly’s ratings are up. Rachel Maddow is scornful but Jefferson Morleyhis friends are unfazed, and O’Reilly has moved on. His strategy is clear: Declare victory and get out. Which leaves us where we were before David Corn first called attention to O’Reilly’s tall tales. Media Matters still wants to take him down because he’s a bad influence on American public discourse. CNN still has sound journalistic and commercial reasons for questioning his credibility. But from the narrower point of JFK Facts, I’m satisfied with O’Reilly’s response. The much-abused Fox News host does not contest the facts first reported in JFK Facts two years ago. I credit O’Reilly. Once upon a time, he understood the JFK story better than most of his peers. Maybe he still does. So leave aside contemporary media politics. In the historical record of the JFK assassination story, O’Reilly’s fib is immaterial. What he wrote in his book is certainly less important than the behavior of certain senior CIA officers after the popular liberal president was murdered in broad daylight. Compare O’Reilly’s after-dinner yarn to:

  • the bland perjury of deputy CIA director Richard Helms;
  • the deceptive evasions of counterintelligence chief James Angleton;
  • the slithery perjury of Cuba operations chief David Phillips;
  • the felonious stonewalling of Miami branch chief George Joannides.

Salon, Reilly’s trouble deepens: A Kennedy tall tale that could unravel Fox News’ bully, Joan Walsh, March 2, 2015. His Kennedy assassination lie is proven by a recording of O'Reilly himself. Why Fox's strategy may suddenly John F. Kennedy side profilechange. Writers and advocates on the left have long cataloged the exaggerations, meltdowns and many stumbles of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, to show that the guy who runs the No-Spin Zone is frequently unfair and relentlessly unbalanced. But now O’Reilly has a different sort of watchdog in CNN media reporter Brian Stelter, host of “Reliable Sources” – and Stelter is attracting more company. Oh sure, the Fox bully dismisses Stelter — along with his critics at Mother Jones, Media Matters and, for that matter, Salon — as just another left-winger out to get him. But that charge won’t stick. The bright, earnest, hardworking former New York Times reporter isn’t known for his ideological crusading; he goes after MSNBC, not just Fox. But when Stelter finds an important story, he digs in.

CNN, Stelter: Audio tapes disprove O'Reilly's reporting, Brian Stetler, March 1, 2015. On March 1, CNN's Reliable Sources reported that a 1977 tape recording of an O'Reilly telephone call to a congressional investigator shows that O'Reilly did not really hear a witness suicide, as he had claimed in his best-selling book Killing Kennedy, published in October 2012. JFK researcher and former Washington Post editor Jefferson Morley made the fabrication claim on his blog JFK Facts.org two years ago and repeated it this month under questioning by Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter.

New York Times, For Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, A Symbiotic Relationship, Jonathan Mahler and Emily Steel, Feb. 26, 2015. Reports have since emerged questioning some of O’Reilly’s other assertions. Most notably, Media Matters has challenged Mr. O’Reilly’s claims that he was outside the Palm Beach, Fla., home of an acquaintance of Lee Harvey Oswald when he killed himself with a shotgun in 1977.

Daily Mail and Associated Press via Fifth Estate, Bill O'Reilly Accused Of Lying In Book About Being At Door Of "Ex - FBI Agent Who Held Key To Kennedy Assassination" At Moment He Killed Himself, Louise Boyle, Feb. 26, 2015. Introduction by Editor Robert Finnegan: Fox "News" loudmouth reaps what he has sewn over the years; the real question is when will Fox corporate attorneys finally decide that O'Reilly is now a serious liability and cut him loose even as Ailes attempts futile cover-up for the sputtering, filth-spewing, completely discredited hack. 

WFAA-TV ABC affiliate in Dallas), Oswald image disrespects JFK memorial, historian says, Jim Leavelle, March 17, 2015. There was a startling sight in downtown Dallas this weekend. "I thought maybe I missaw Oswald. Maybe it was something else," said Farris Rookstool III. A life-sized metal cutout of Lee Harvey Oswald was propped up against a tree at the corner of Main and Market streets, just feet away from the city's memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Rookstool, a JFK historian, said the sight forced him to do a double-take on his way home. "I was disgusted because of the fact this is John F. Kennedy's memorial," he explained. "This is supposed to be sacred or a respectful place by definition alone." It turns out that a company called Dallas City Tour set out the image of Oswald. It's around the corner from Dealey Plaza and behind the Big Red Courthouse at the city's memorial to the assassinated president. Ricardo Hernandez, the tour company owner, said he had no intention of causing a controversy. He said he received no complaints and no negative feedback. In fact, Hernandez said that cutout of Lee Harvey Oswald was quite popular with picture-taking tourists.

Media Matters, O'Reilly Lied About Suicide of JFK Assassination Figure, Former Colleagues Say, Ben Dimiero, Feb. 24, 2015. Bill O'Reilly has repeatedly claimed he personally "heard" a shotgun blast that killed a figure in the Bill O'Reilly Killing Kennedy Coverinvestigation into President John F. Kennedy's assassination while reporting for a Dallas television station in 1977. O'Reilly's claim is implausible and contradicted by his former newsroom colleagues who denied the tale in interviews with Media Matters. A police report, contemporaneous reporting, and a congressional investigator who was probing Kennedy's death further undermine O'Reilly's story. George de Mohrenschildt was a Russian emigre who befriended Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and testified before the Warren Commission investigating the Kennedy assassination. On March 29, 1977, the same day he was contacted by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, he committed suicide at his daughter's home in Florida. At the time, O'Reilly was a reporter for Dallas' WFAA-TV who regularly reported on stories related to the Kennedy assassination.

O'Reilly has bizarrely inserted himself into de Mohrenschildt's story, claiming in books and on Fox News that he was outside the house seeking to interview de Mohrenschiltd at the time of his death. O'Reilly is under heavy criticism and scrutiny for his false claims about his 1982 Falklands War reporting. O'Reilly's implausible tale was first flagged by Jefferson Morley in a 2013 post for his website JFKFacts.org. Morley has worked as an editor for the Washington Post, Salon.com, and Arms Control Today, and is a visiting professor at the University of California, Washington Center. New interviews with former O'Reilly colleagues who say he wasn't in Florida on the day of de Mohrenschildt's suicide and documents obtained by Media Matters bolster Morley's reporting. In his 2012 best-selling non-fiction book Killing Kennedy, O'Reilly writes on page 300 that as a "reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt's daughter's home, he heard the shotgun blast that marked the suicide of the Russian ... that reporter's name is Bill O'Reilly."

​Reopen the Kennedy Case, The O'Reilly Factor in the JFK Assassination: J. Walton Moore & Lee Harvey Oswald, Bill Kelly, undated. The Bill O’Reilly Factor in the JFK Assassination is his thwarted attempt to get at the truth in Dallas. In 1977, Bill O’Reilly worked as a reporter for the WFAA-TV news station in Dallas when he unsuccessfully attempted to get an interview with J. Walton Moore, the resident agent of the CIA’s Domestic Contacts Division. Moore had been associated with George de Mohrenschildt, a close friend of Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy, and O’Reilly was investigating a possible association between Moore and Oswald himself.

Hartford Courant, George Evica Dies, Longtime Radio Commentator, Professor Aired WWUH's `Assassination Journal,' Susan Campbell, Nov. 12, 2007. For two generations, George Michael Evica was known internationally as the grandfather of all John F. Kennedy assassination researchers. The University of Hartford emeritus professor of literature emphatically held that the commonly accepted wisdom -- that malcontent Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in shooting the president in November 1963 -- was a lie.

 

Other O'Reilly Controversies

Update on Bill O'Reilly's Books

Washington Post, 7 mistakes in Bill O'Reilly's book about Ronald Reagan, Craig Shirley, Kiron K. Skinner, Paul Kengor and Steven F. Hayward, Oct. 16, 2015. Here's what Bill O'Reilly's new book about Ronald Reagan, "Killing Reagan," gets wrong—according to four Reagan scholars. The book Killing Reagan by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard is supposed to be a book of new scholarship on the Reagan presidency. Instead, it restates old claims and rumors, virtually all of which have been discredited by the historical record. In this best-selling book, there are no endnotes, no bibliography, no long list of interviewees and only a smattering of footnotes. There is a section titled “Sources,” but it is only two-and-a-half pages long. It includes about two dozen sources, but that is not adequate for a subject, Ronald Reagan, who has been the focus of thousands of books and articles and who was one of the most consequential political figures of the 20th century. The works of three of us are not noted at all, and between the four of us, we have written 19 books on Reagan, not to mention countless articles. The sources section does, however, reference long-questionable works, including the sensational 1991 attack by Kitty Kelley — which is clearly incorporated throughout the book — and the 1999 biography by Edmund Morris, roundly criticized for its intermingling of fact and fiction.

There are small and large mistakes throughout Killing Reagan. Repeatedly, Ronald Prescott Reagan is referred to as “Ron Jr,” a minor matter but a revealing one. The book states that Reagan’s radio broadcasts of the late 1970s were once a week, but they were delivered five times a week. There are dozens of Kelley-type references to horoscope readers, astrologers, an imperious Nancy running the country and generally a persistent, clueless and oblivious Ronald Reagan — addle-brained, out of touch, dangerously uninformed. The most common word used to describe Reagan is probably “confused.”

A large part of the storyline refers to the erroneous contention that there was serious consideration about removing Reagan from office via the 25th Amendment after John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate him in 1981. What’s so remarkable about the 11 days Reagan spent in the hospital recovering from his wounds is that beyond the standard discussion of temporary presidential disability among some of the president’s closest aides, none of these aides or cabinet members attempted to invoke the 25th Amendment or succession laws. Former Attorney General Ed Meese, who was not interviewed for this book but who served as Reagan’s closest aide and friend for many years, was dismissive of the allegation about the 25th Amendment as utterly and completely false. We four have interviewed Meese often, and some of us have talked to him about this book and its sourcing.

It speaks volumes that none of the hundreds of former Reagan White House staffers has stepped forward to corroborate the story. Reagan’s national security adviser, Richard V. Allen, told us flatly that “Killing Reagan” is “garbage.” Allen was also there the day Reagan was shot, but again, neither O’Reilly nor Dugard spoke to him. They list only four people interviewed, including Lesley Stahl — a CBS journalist who was not a primary source and who was always extremely dismissive of Reagan’s cognitive abilities.

Washington Post, Bill O’Reilly’s denial problem, Erik Wemple, May 21, 2015. In February, the host of Fox News’s “The O’Reilly Factor” attempted to swat away reports concluding that he had told some tall tales about his years reporting from foreign and domestic hotspots, starting with a Mother Jones piece citing the host’s recollections of his Falklands War coverage that didn’t withstand scrutiny. After several weeks of rest, the O’Reilly denial mill is churning again. On Wednesday, Gawker released partial transcripts from a custody trial with ex-wife Maureen McPhilmy. In testimony from last year, a forensic examiner appointed by the court testified that O’Reilly’s daughter told him that she’d seen O’Reilly “choking her mom” in grabbing her neck as he “dragged her down some stairs.” Also according to these records, the daughter told the forensic examiner that O’Reilly told her that her mother is an “adulterer.” The testimony also alleged that O’Reilly “struggles to control his rage around his family” and that he has been an “absentee father.” O’Reilly responded via his attorney Fred Newman: “All allegations against me in these circumstances are 100% false. I am going to respect the court-mandated confidentiality put in place to protect my children and will not comment any further.” Guardian via Raw Story, Another shoe drops: Bill O’Reilly’s ex-colleagues call his L.A. riot stories ‘completely ficticious,’  Jon Swaine, Feb. 25, 2015. Former colleagues of Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News host whose tales of past reporting exploits are facing renewed scrutiny, have disputed his account of surviving a bombardment of bricks and rocks while covering the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. Six people who covered the riots with O’Reilly in California for Inside Edition told the Guardian they did not recall an incident in which, as O’Reilly has claimed, “concrete was raining down on us” and “we were attacked by protesters.”

Deadline.com, Jon Stewart Defends Bill O’Reilly: “No One’s Watching Him For The Actual Truth,"  Lisa de Moraes, Feb. 25, 2015. Jon Stewart rose to the defense of his friend Bill O’Reilly last night, telling The Daily Show viewers that no one should expect the truth from the Fox News Channel host. “Really? We’re going after O’Reilly for exaggerating being in a war zone?” Stewart marveled at the top of last night’s The Daily Show, in re the Mother Jones article that called into question some of O’Reilly’s reporting over the years — particularly his work in Buenos Aires at the end of the Falklands War in ’82. In the wake of Brian Williams’ suspension by NBC News over claims he made about his work, the media has glommed on to the Mother Jones investigation, including recent articles in the New York Times.

New York Times, For Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, A Symbiotic Relationship, Jonathan Mahler and Emily Steel, Feb. 25, 2015. When the magazine Mother Jones reported that Bill O’Reilly had engaged in self-aggrandizing rhetoric about his coverage of the Falklands war, he called one of the authors of the article “an irresponsible guttersnipe” and used his nightly show to fight back against his accusers. His bosses at Fox News, including the chief executive, Roger Ailes, rallied to his defense. Fox’s handling of the controversy says a lot about the network. It also says a lot about its most visible star, a man who perhaps more than any other has defined the parameters and tenor of Fox News, in the process ushering in a new era of no-holds-barred, intentionally divisive news coverage. Since dethroning CNN’s Larry King as the king of cable news almost 14 years ago, Mr. O’Reilly has helped transform a start-up news channel into a financial juggernaut, with estimated annual profits of more than $1 billion. He and Fox News have risen not on the back of big interviews or high-impact investigations but on the pugnacious brand of conservatism personified by Mr. O’Reilly. Reports have since emerged questioning some of O’Reilly’s other assertions. Most notably, Media Matters has challenged Mr. O’Reilly’s claims that he was outside the Palm Beach, Fla., home of an acquaintance of Lee Harvey Oswald when he killed himself with a shotgun in 1977.

Media Matters, Another Fabrication: O'Reilly Never Witnessed The Murder Of Nuns In El Salvador, Olivia Marshall, Feb. 25, 2015. O'Reilly's Claim To Have Seen Nuns "Shot In The Back Of The Head" Contradicted By His Own Timeline. In a statement to Mediaite, Bill O'Reilly says that when he said on Fox News "I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head," he was referring to seeing "horrendous images" of nuns murdered while reporting from El Salvador, not witnessing those murders firsthand. His statement, however, does not address his radio show claim, "I've seen guys gun down nuns in El Salvador."

Mother Jones, Bill O'Reilly Has His Own Brian Williams Problem, David Corn and Daniel Schulman, Feb. 19, 2015. The Fox News host has said he was in a "war zone" that apparently no American correspondent reached. After NBC Bill O'Reilly Reality Check Fox News ChannelNews suspended anchor Brian Williams for erroneously claiming that he was nearly shot down in a helicopter while covering the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly went on a tear. On his television show, the top-rated cable news anchor declared that the American press isn't "half as responsible as the men who forged the nation." He bemoaned the supposed culture of deception within the liberal media, and he proclaimed that the Williams controversy should prompt questioning of other "distortions" by left-leaning outlets. Yet for years, O'Reilly has recounted dramatic stories about his own war reporting that don't withstand scrutiny — even claiming he acted heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in. O'Reilly has repeatedly told his audience that he was a war correspondent during the Falklands war and that he experienced combat during that 1982 conflict between the United Kingdom* and Argentina. He has often invoked this experience to emphasize that he understands war as only someone who has witnessed it could. As he once put it, "I've been there. That's really what separates me from most of these other bloviators. I bloviate, but I bloviate about stuff I've seen. They bloviate about stuff that they haven't."

New York Daily News via Free Republic, How Covers Came off O'Reilly Sex Scandal, Richard T. Pienciak, Oct. 12, 2004. On Sept. 29, a messenger hand delivered a six-paragraph letter to the office of Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corp., the parent company of Fox News. The missive, with carbon copies going to Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes and two other top News Corp. executives, spoke in obtuse but ominous tones. Producer Andrea Mackris, 33, was identified simply as "a young woman employee of Fox." Bill Andrea MackrisO'Reilly, 55, was identified simply as "one of Fox's most prominent on-air personalities." Typed on the letterhead of Mackris attorney Benedict Morelli, the correspondence accused the cable TV star of "constant and relentless sexual harassment" as well as "constant sexual innuendo and attempts at telephone sex." Thus, an explosive phone sex scandal was born.

The Smoking Gun, O'Reilly Falafel Suit Turns Five; Fox News star's pervy sex fantasies, boasts never get old, staff report, Oct. 13, 2009. On this date five years ago, the Fox News Channel host was named in a sexual harassment lawsuit brimming with lurid details about vibrators, phone sex, threesomes, masturbation, Caribbean shower fantasies, a Thai sex show, falafel, stewardess trysts, vehicular coupling, and Al Franken. The New York State Supreme Court lawsuit filed by Andrea Mackris, a former Fox News producer, quoted O'Reilly verbatim and at length, leaving readers to believe that the TV star's dirty soliloquies were surreptitiously recorded (an impression reinforced when the lawsuit was settled within two weeks). Time has not robbed the document of any of its page-turning entertainment value. It is unknown how the litigants will mark today's anniversary, though were it a marriage, tradition would call for gifts of wood. But we'd wager that the volcanic O'Reilly, 60, is still incensed about writing that hefty check. For her part, Mackris, 38, has stayed mum, presumably pursuant to some kind of confidentiality agreement. She has relocated from Manhattan to Missouri, where she was recently named to St. Louis Magazine's best dressed list. According to the monthly, Mackris (seen at right) volunteers at Planned Parenthood and her closet is stocked with Prada, Gucci, Valentino, and Manolo Blahnik. She is pictured in the magazine wearing a Halston gown.

 

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Danny SchecterAlternet, Danny Schechter, the News Dissector, Dies in NYC at 72, Don Hazen, March 19, 2015. Danny Schechter, one of America’s best known, most talented, and effective progressive leaders renowned for his activism, and ground-breaking media making, died March 19 in New York City of pancreatic cancer. Known as the “News Dissector” from his days at Boston radio station WBCN, Schechter (shown in a file photo) was truly a renaissance progressive -- with a long list of achievements and creative endeavors. He is best known for his passionate relationship with Nelson Mandela, fighting apartheid in South Africa, and the brilliant TV series South Africa Now produced by Globalvision, the New York City-based television and film production company he created with his longtime business partner Rory O’Connor. Schechter was also a producer for ABC’s news magazine 20/20, where he won two Emmys and was part of the start-up team that created CNN. As O’Connor explains:  "Danny always used to say that he got into making media because he wanted to do something about the problems of the world. "It was until later," he would then add,"that I learned the media was one of the problems of the world."

Guardian, The death of the American newsroom – in pictures, Will Steacy, March 21, 2015. Photographer Will Steacy spent five years documenting the decline of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Here we show work from the resulting series Deadline, and images from his archive series Ink In My Blood, which charts his father Tom and grandfather John’s careers in newspapers. See more at willsteacy.com

OpEdNews, Truth Is Our Country, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in photo), March 16, 2015. Last week in Mexico at the annual awards conference of the Club De Periodistas De Mexico, I was given the International Award For Excellence In Paul Craig RobertsJournalism. In my speech I emphasized that Truth is the country of real journalists. Unlike presstitutes, the loyalty of real journalists is to Truth, not to a government or corporate advertiser. Once a journalist sacrifices Truth to loyalty to a government, he ceases to be a journalist and becomes a propagandist.

Thank you for this recognition, for this honor. As Jesus told the people of Nazareth, a prophet is without honor in his own country. In the United States, this is also true of journalists. In the United States journalists receive awards for lying for the government and for the corporations. Anyone who tells the truth, whether journalist or whistleblower, is fired or prosecuted or has to hide out in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, like Julian Assange, or in Moscow, like Edward Snowden, or is tortured and imprisoned, like Bradley Manning. Mexican journalists pay an even higher price. Those who report on government corruption and on the drug cartels pay with their lives. The Internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has as an entry a list by name of journalists murdered in Mexico. This is the List of Honor. Wikipedia reports that more than 100 Mexican journalists have been killed or disappeared in the 21st century. Despite intimidation the Mexican press has not abandoned its job. Because of your courage, I regard this award bestowed on me as the greatest of honors.

In the United States real journalists are scarce and are becoming more scarce. Journalists have morphed into a new creature. Gerald Celente calls US journalists "presstitutes," a word formed from press prostitute. In other words, journalists in the United States are whores for the government and for the corporations.

The Intercept / First Look, The Sting: How the FBI Created a Terrorist, Trevor Aaronson, March 16, 2015. In the video, Sami Osmakac is tall and gaunt, with jutting cheekbones and a scraggly beard. Osmakac says he’ll avenge the deaths of Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere. He refers to Americans as kuffar, an Arabic term for nonbelievers. Osmakac was 25 years old on January 7, 2012, when he filmed what the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice would later call a “martyrdom video.” He was also broke and struggling with mental illness. After recording this video in a rundown Days Inn in Tampa, Florida, Osmakac prepared to deliver what he thought was a car bomb to a popular Irish bar. But if Osmakac was a terrorist, he was only one in his troubled mind and in the minds of ambitious federal agents. The FBI provided all of the weapons seen in Osmakac’s martyrdom video. Osmakac was a deeply disturbed young man, according to several of the psychiatrists and psychologists who examined him before trial. He became a “terrorist” only after the FBI provided the means, opportunity and final prodding necessary to make him one. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI has arrested dozens of young men like Osmakac in controversial counterterrorism stings.

Barack Obama, James Clapper, John Brennan and national security teamDirector of National Intelligence James Clapper (right) talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present (White House photo).

Consortium News via OpEdNews, Guiding Obama into Global Make-Believe, Ray McGovern, March 14, 2015. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (right) talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present (White House photo). CIA Director John Brennan told TV host Charlie Rose on Friday that, on assuming office, President Barack Obama "did not have a good deal of experience" Ray McGovernin intelligence-related matters, adding -- with remarkable condescension -- that now "he has gone to school and understands the complexities." If that's the case, I would strongly suggest that Obama switch schools. Judging from his foreign policy team's inept and increasingly dangerous actions regarding Ukraine and the endless stream of dubious State Department and senior military cry-wolf accusations of a Russian "invasion," Obama might be forgiven for being confused by the "complexities." He should not be forgiven, though, if he remains too timid to bench his current foreign policy team and find more substantively qualified, trustworthy advisers without axes to grind. He is, after all, President. Has he no managerial skill ... no guts? This U.S. pattern of exaggeration — making scary claims about Ukraine without releasing supporting evidence — has even begun to erode the unity of the NATO alliance where Germany, in particular, is openly criticizing the Obama administration's heavy-handed use of propaganda in its "information warfare" against Russia. The German magazine Der Spiegel has just published a highly unusual article critical of the NATO military commander, Air Force General Philip Breedlove, entitled "Breedlove's Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine." It is becoming clearer day by day that the Germans are losing patience with unsupported and alarmist U.S. statements on Ukraine, particularly in the current delicate period when a fledgling ceasefire in eastern Ukraine seems to be holding tenuously.

OpEdNews, CNN Is Beating the Drums of War, Paul Craig Roberts, March 14, 2015. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a conservative scholar, author and former Reagan administration assistant Treasury secretary. Wolf Blitzer (CNN, March 13) used the cover of a news program to broadcast a propaganda performance straight out of the Third Reich or perhaps from George Orwell's 1984. The orchestration presented Russia as a massive, aggressive military threat. The screen was filled with missiles firing and an assortment of American General Strangeloves urging provocative measures to be deployed against the Russian Threat. Blitzer's program is part of the orchestrated propaganda campaign whose purpose is to prepare Americans for conflict with Russia. It was such irresponsible propaganda and so many blatant lies for a media organization to sponsor that it was obvious that CNN and Wolf Blitzer had no fear of being called on the carpet for spreading war fever. The so-called "mainstream media" has been transformed into a Ministry of Propaganda. Similar propaganda is being spread in the UK where defense minister Michael Fallon declared Russia to be a "real and present danger" to Europe. US troops and tanks are being rushed to the Baltics on the pretext that Russia is going to attack. 

Keith OlbermannCBS News, ESPN's Keith Olbermann suspended for Penn State tweets, Staff report, Feb. 24, 2015. ESPN has benched anchor Keith Olbermann, shown in a file photo, from hosting his show for the rest of the week following comments he made on Twitter regarding Penn State University. "We are aware of the exchange Keith Olbermann had on Twitter last night regarding Penn State," ESPN said in a statement on Tuesday. "It was completely inappropriate and does not reflect the views of ESPN."

Nomi Prins.com, Presidents, Bankers, the Neo-Cold War and the World Bank, Nomi Prins [best-selling author of a new book], March 23, 2015. At first glance, the neo-Cold War between the US and its post WWII European Allies Nomi Prins Bankers Covervs. Russia over the Ukraine, and the stonewalling of Greece by the Troika might appear to have little in common. Yet both are manifestations of a political-military-financial power play that began during the first Cold War. Behind the bravado of today’s sanctions and austerity measures lies the decision-making alliance that private bankers enjoy in conjunction with government and multinational entries like NATO and the World Bank. It is President Obama’s foreign policy to back the Ukraine against Russia; in 1958, it was the Eisenhower Doctrine that protected Lebanon from a Soviet threat. US military might protected its major trading partners, which in turn, did business with US banks. One power reinforced the other. These actions, then and now, have roots in the American ideology of melding military, political and financial power that flourished in the haze of World War II.  It’s not fair to pin this triple-power stance on one man, or even one bank; yet one man and one bank signified that power in all of its dimensions, including the use of political enemy creation to achieve financial goals. That man was John McCloy, ‘Chairman of the Establishment’ as his biographer, Kai Bird, characterized him. Editor's Note: He was also a member of the Warren Commission.] The relationship between McCloy and Truman cemented a set of public-private practices that strengthened private US banks globally at the expense of weaker, potentially Soviet (now Russian) leaning countries.

Business Insider, New York Times wrote a brutal takedown of Chelsea Clinton's husband's hedge fund, Julia La Roche, March 23, 2015.  The New York Times threw shade at Bill and Hillary Clinton's

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Hacked HRC e-mail shows that she was made aware of a Romney-Petraeus "October Surprise" the day after it was reported by WMR, Wayne Madsen, March 13, 2015 (subscription required). An e-mail sent by unofficial adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Sidney Blumenthal, which was revealed by the computer hacker known as "Guccifer," describes the belief by some higher-ups in the Obama administration that the resignation of Central Intelligence Agency director David Petreaus on November 8, 2012, the day after Barack Obama's re-election, was tied to a plot by Mitt Romney and Petraeus to engineer an "October Surprise" to engineer Obama's electoral defeat. As can be seen in the email, dated November 12, 2012, the idea of the Petreaus resignation being tied to an October Surprise gambit was reported by Blumenthal to Clinton the day after WMR reported: "Petraeus indiscretion may be linked to 'October Surprise' plot."

Washington Post, Reform the Secret Service, Ronald Kessler, March 15, 2015. Ronald Kessler is a former Post reporter and the author of “The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents.” When Michaele and Tareq Salahi crashed a White House state dinner five years ago, President Obama said he “could not have more confidence” in the Secret Service.

Washington Times, Was Hillary Clinton running her own rogue intel operation? The truth may be found in her private emails, Monica Crowley, March 18, 2015. Conservative pundit Monica Crowley, a longtime Washington insider, is her newspaper's online digital editor. We all know that the only reason you would deliberately and pre-meditatedly set up a private email address and server is to have total control over your communications — to keep people away from those communications and to retain the ability to edit and delete your content. In Hillary Clinton’s case, given her long history of concealment and duplicity, total control was the system’s purpose. What was the Clintons’ hatchet man [Sidney Blumenthal] really doing? How did he cultivate such sensitive intelligence sources, and on whose orders? Why was he apparently hip-deep in intelligence matters while his close friend was secretary of state?

  • Was the real reason Mrs. Clinton created a private communications system because she planned to run her own intelligence operation via Mr. Blumenthal, away from the prying eyes of the president, his White House, the intelligence and diplomatic communities, Congress, the press and the American people?
  • Did she set up this private system because she didn’t trust the Obama team to provide the intelligence that she needed or wanted?