Constructing Lee Harvey Oswald

Constructing Lee Harvey Oswald | lee_harvey_oswald_arrest_card_1963-2-460x286 | Black Ops US News

On November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy was killed in a crossfire of bullets while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Over the course of the next 72 hours US government sources and major news media presented false and misleading information to cultivate in the public mind the notion that one Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin.

Extensive research and documentation indicate that Oswald was only a “patsy” in the event, having been maneuvered, captured, and presented to the world as the lone culprit.

As New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison observes, the evidence available through the time of Oswald’s autopsy indicated that he “had killed no one, but it made no great difference. The world had been informed that he was the assassin, and that is, for governmental purposes, the same as being the assassin. In either case,” Garrison continues, “there is no difference in the funeral ceremony. Power structures have no compassion. Consequently, what a man has done or has not done is not of any great importance. It is what the government says he has done that is important.”[1]

In 1966 the National Broadcasting Company published Seventy Hours and Thirty Minutes: A Minute-By-Minute Log from the Assassination of President Kennedy Through His Funeral. In this compilation of broadcast transcripts, excerpts of which are reproduced below, one may observe how the Oswald personage–alienated youth, drifter, defector, “Marxist”–took shape over the course of three days to become the enigmatic fixture in the popular historical memory that is unquestioningly maintained by corporate media and proper academics alike.

Oswald is one of many figures to be tried in the court of public opinion long before the facts of their respective cases were gathered and judiciously assessed. Not unlike more recent villains–Timothy McVeigh, Osama Bin Laden, James Holmes, and Adam Lanza–Oswald was methodically designed over the course of several years and subsequently exhibited to secure expedient narrative closure to one of the nation’s greatest tragedies.

What remains over time is a historical record ruled by impressions and shorn of concrete evidence whereby truth may be established. Much like the proles’ function vis-a-vis the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984, the public is condemned to psychic slavery—in other words, to exist and function in a milieu not of its choosing.-JFT

November 22, 1963
1:46:45PM
NBC News Bulletin
(Network)
Announcer (voice over): President Kennedy and Gov. John Connally of Texas were cut down by an assassin’s bullet in downtown Dallas and were rushed to an emergency room at Parkland Hospital. The President’s limp body was seen cradled in the arms of his wife. There is no information at present on his condition.[CONTINUOUS COVERAGE BEGINS. ALL REGULAR PROGRAMS CANCELED.]
2:05PM
New York
Frank McGee speaks with NBC Newsman Robert MacNeil by telephone from Parkland Hospital, Dallas, where President Kennedy has been taken.McGee: MacNeil reports that the President is seriously wounded—this from Sen. Ralph Yarborough of Texas, who was with the President. The shots were fired while the motorcade was proceeding through downtown Dallas; Gov. Connally was also hit. Mrs. Kennedy, who was seated beside the President, was not hurt. The assassin is believed to have fired from a building overlooking the parade route. People fanned out and were asked if they saw anyone at a window. MacNeil says he was with the motorcade when the shooting occurred. When the shots rang out, people lay down and screamed….A white man was seen in a window with a rifle. [McGee hooks up the phone with a speaker device, but there is too much feedback. MacNeil says he will call back later to report.]
Bill Ryan: The President is in very critical condition.
Chet Huntley: The President is still in the emergency room. Gov. Connally has been taken to the operating room of Parkland Hospital.
2:15PM
Dallas, Tex. (WBAP-TV)
Charles Murphy: A time of controlled panic. Mrs. Kennedy was not injured….A man was seen in a window a block away from the freeway where President Kennedy’s car passed by. The President’s condition is critical, but to our knowledge he is still alive….A young man has been taken into custody, vehemently protesting his innocence—a young man in his early twenties, neatly dressed….Two Roman Catholic priests were summoned to the room of President Kennedy….The President has been given blood transfusions.
2:21PM
Dallas
Tom Whelan conducts an interview with Jean Hill, an eyewitness to the shooting.
Jean Hill: I heard two shots ring out. The President fell over, and then Mrs. Kennedy fell over him and shouted, “My God, he’s been shot.” The car speeded away, and I saw a man running back up the hill.
2:23PM
New York
Ryan: The report is confirmed: The President is dead. This has been substantiated by Charles Murphy in Dallas.
2:36PM
Dallas
MacNeil: The White House has announced that President Kennedy is dead. The President died approximately 25 minutes after the shooting took place. A priest emerged from the emergency room after giving last rights….The Dallas police had set up a stringent protection force, anticipating demonstrations such as those which greeted Adlai Stevenson here a short while back….The shots came from a building called the Texas School Book Depository.
2:45PM
New York
Huntley: The President was seen cradled in his wife’s arms, and was reportedly unconscious at the hospital. The last rites of the Roman Catholic Church were administered by the Very Rev. Oscar L. Huber. Johnson’s whereabout are not known. The President Lived only about an hour after the bullet cut him down. The announcement by the two priests brought sobs and outcries at the hospital. The shots came from the right and rear and struck the President’s head….[Huntley recalls the day President Franklin Roosevelt died—and the assassination attempt on President Harry Truman in 1950.]
2:49PM
Dallas
Murphy: A car has been stopped at Fort Worth which may have some connection with the shooting….A Dallas policeman has been shot to death two miles from the scene of the assassination. A suspect is now in custody.
2:50PM
New York
Merrill Mueller: A man saw a gun in the window of a building as the President’s car went beneath the underpass….Gov. Connally is in satisfactory condition….Mrs. Johnson was in another car with her husband. The Johnsons are in seclusion….This is the first assassination since William McKinley.
McGee: John F. Kennedy was the third American President to be assassinated since Abraham Lincoln.
On Camera: The White House flag flying at half-staff.
3:00PM
New York
McGee comments on President Kennedy’s visit to New York City last week. He speaks with MacNeil on the telephone in Dallas
MacNeil: There was a good reaction to President Kennedy by the people of Dallas today. It was thought that right-wing conservatives might have given the President a bad reception, and there was a strong campaign by the police force to make sure that the name of Dallas would not be dragged in the mud by extremists….The President’s body will be placed in a bronze casket….Men and women were lying on the ground to escape the bullets; there was the sound of wailing when it became clear what was happening. As far as we know, no one but President Kennedy and Gov. Connally were hit. The assassin fired the shots from a fourth floor window, 100 yards from the President’s car. The President was struck in the right temple by the bullet. It is now an hour and a half since he was killed….I was in the reporter’s car, three cars behind the President. The President was seated. There were very few people on the street at that particular point in the motorcade. The Texas School Book Depository building is aobut eight floors high. With a high-powered rifle it would have been possible to hit the President at this distance. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson—now President Johnson—was in the car immediately behind the President. He was not hurt.
3:13PM
Dallas
Tom Whalen: The weapon which was used to kill the President, and which wounded Gov. Connally, has been found in the Texas School Book Depository on the sixth floor—a British 303 rifle with a telescopic sight. Three empty cartridge cases were found beside the weapon. It appeared that whoever had occupied this sniper’s nest had been there for some time.McGee: The sniper’s nest has been found. It has been reported that a Dallas policeman and a Secret Service agent have been shot. A wanted car has been picked up, and a suspect. The body of President John F. Kennedy has been taken from Parkland Hospital. We assume it will be taken to the airport for return to Washington.
Ryan:….Tass, the Russian news agency, carried an announcement saying, “It has been officially announced that President Kennedy is dead after being shot by a man of the extreme right-wing element.” A white man in his early twenties has been taken into custody for the shooting of a Dallas policeman in the Riverside section of Fort Worth….We have conflicting reports on the weapon used to murder the President. Reports now indicate that a German Mauser has been found. Three bullets were used—one was still in the gun. The gun had a telescopic sight.
3:43PM
New York
Ryan: A man has been arrested for the shooting of a Dallas policeman. There has been no arrest yet for the murder of President Kennedy.
3:44PM
Mobile Unit,
Rockefeller Plaza,
New York
Geoffrey Pond conducts on-the-street interviews. A first man is angered, shocked and hurt, and hopes that “all Americans will fight the ultra-conservatives who spread hate in the South. The second interviewee, a woman, is shocked and saddened,” and believes that “a southern integrationist crackpot killed the President.” A third person, a man, says, “This event does not reflect the majority. It is very unfortunate for the U.S. This is the sort of thing you read about in the history books, but it doesn’t happen in the U.S. in this day and age.”
3:56PM
New York
Ryan: A report from Dallas has just come in: President Lyndon Baines Johnson has taken the oath of office on the Presidential plane. He was sworn in at 2:38PM Central time.
3:58PM McGee: The Russians are broadcasting funeral music on the radio. Our ambassador to Russia, Foy D. Kohler, has been informed of President Kennedy’s death. Russian papers are saying that right-wing elements killed President Kennedy.
On Camera: Outside the hospital. The camera focuses on a young boy in the crowd holding a placard reading, “Yankee, Go Home.”
4:15PM
New York
Ryan: More news from Dallas concerning the assassin….A rifle was found on the fifth floor of the Book Depository….The police received a tip that the man who shot and killed the policeman entered a movie theater… The man has been captured.
4:16PM
Dallas
Murphy interviews eyewitnesses Mary Norman and Jean Hill, who photographed the President and Mrs. Kennedy slumped over in the car. (The Polaroid snap shot appears on camera.) They describe hearing the shots ring out and Mrs. Kennedy crying, “My God, he’s been shot.”
Film Repeat: The Presidential motorcade and shooting scene.
4:23PM Murphy: There is little doubt that 24-year-old Lee Oswald, the suspect picked up earlier, is the slayer of the Dallas policeman. Eyewitnesses report that Oswald brandished a pistol and shouted, “It’s all over now.” Oswald worked as a stock man at the Depository, and is reported to be a defector. He is the same man picked up earlier in the theater.
4:26PM
Dallas
Murphy: Lee Harvey Oswald, the man picked up in the theater, applied for Russian citizenship on Nov. 1, 1959. He is married to a Russian woman. Dallas police say 24-year-old Oswald shot and killed Officer J.D. Tippit and might be connected with the assassination of President Kennedy.
4:39PM
New York
McGee: It is now apparent that no Secret Service man was injured. A Dallas policeman was killed….It is reported that Mrs. Kennedy turned to the President just before the shooting and said, “You can’t say Dallas wasn’t kind to us.” She cradled her husband all the way to the hospital.
4:42PM
Dallas
Film: Outside Parkland Hospital, Mrs. Kennedy is seen conferring with the Dallas police. The camera shows the Presidential car, roses lying on the back seat. A Secret Service man is seen pounding his fist on the car.
4:54PM
New York
Ryan: Lee Oswald seems to be the prime suspect in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
On Camera: Scenes of the Texas School Book Depository, from where the shots were fired, and the rifle being removed from the building.
McGee: Oswald is still only a suspect….the President’s body will lie in state until Monday. The actual funeral service will probably be held in Boston.
5:44PM New York Ryan: Suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was a member of a pro-Castro committee in New Orleans, and had renounced his U.S. citizenship. In a gunfight with two Dallas policemen, he shot and killed one of them, saying, “It’s all over now.” Oswald was an employee of the building where the sniper’s nest was discovered—a building not far from where the motorcade passed.
Ryan: There was never the least hope of saving the President’s life. The priest said that when he arrived to administer last rites, the President was already dead. He drew back and sheet and saw him….All circumstantial evidence points to the guilt of the suspect Lee Oswald. Conservative right-wing extremist elements were thought to be responsible, but now it seems evident that the left wing, the pro-communists, were responsible for the assassination….We are waiting for the plane arrive in Washington with President Johnson.
6:29PM
New York
McGee: The man who was arrested—Lee Oswald—is being interrogated…Expressions of regret are coming in from all parts of the world.
6:40PM Huntley: This hatred by the right and left—this is the type of hatred that explodes into violence. It’s a self-generating disease. Let’s hope we’ve heard the last of it.
7:00PM
New York
Huntley: The Dallas police are holding suspect Lee Oswald. In 1959, Oswald wanted to become a Russian citizen. He said getting out the U.S. was like getting out of prison.
Tape (audio only): Interview with Lee Oswald in New Orleans held August 21, 1963 at station WDSU-TV.
Huntley: Oswald had become involved  with the police because of his activities with the “Fair Play for Cuba Committee.” He called himself a Marxist.
7:45PM
New York
Tape Repeat: Interview with Lee Oswald, station WDSU-TV, New Orleans, this time with sound as well as video.
Reporter: Are you a Marxist?
Oswald: Well, I have studied Marxist philosophy, yes sir.
Reporter: But are you a Marxist? I think you did admit on an earlier Radio interview that you consider yourself a Marxist.
Oswald: Well, I would definitely say that I am a Marxist; that is correct. But that does not mean, however, that I’m a communist. [Oswald goes on to explain what he feels are the differences between Marxism and Russian communism, and outliens the aims of the “Fair Play for Cuba Committee.”]
Film: President Kennedy speaks in Fort Worth, Texas. He describes his wife, Jacqueline, explaining that while she takes longer getting dressed than he does, she always looks better. Mrs. Kennedy enters the room and joins the late President. Lyndon Johnson also appears on this film.
8:17PM
Dallas
Murphy: Suspect Lee Oswald has been taken to a secret location. There is a report that he was seen rushing from the Book Depository after the shooting.
Film: Oswald being taken into custody, a detective in charge.
8:19PM
New York
Ryan: Every candle is lit at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Saks Fifth Avenue has curtains across all its display windows.
8:25PM
New York
McGee: The prime suspect, Lee Oswald, is being held in Dallas, still claiming he did not do it. Police describe him as a calculating man—very arrogant. He has been charged with the killing of the policeman.
Ryan: The funeral mass will be Monday. Cardinal Cushing of Boston will celebrate the mass. He is a close friend of the Kennedy family.
8:50PM
New York
McGee: It has been established that Oswald was in the building where the shot that killed the President was fired.
8:51PM
Chicago
NBC Symphony Orchestra plays memorial music, Joseph Gallicihio conducting.
9:01:40PM STATION IDENTIFICATION
9:02PM McGee: Lee Oswald still insists he had nothing to do with the killing. He was picked up four miles from the Depository. Dallas policeman J. D. Tippit was shot and killed while pursuing Oswald. Both Oswald and his brother were questioned by the F.B.I. Oswald’s wife is Russian and does not speak English….The woman cashier at the theater says Oswald came in shortly after she had heard of the assassination. The police raced into the theater. The house lights were turned on. Oswald stood up and said, “This is it.”
9:05PM
Washington, D.C.
Brinkley: President Kennedy’s body is now at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
9:21PM
San Francisco
(KRON-TV)
Jerry Jenson conducts on-the-street interviews outside the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle. A woman says she still cannot believe it; a man asserts that “we all share the blame….The moderate South should now take a firm stand.” A man who works at the Chronicle says he is shocked by the event. “JFK worked hard to ban the bomb,” he says. “A hero of peace is dead.”
9:24PM
New York
Ryan: Lee Oswald is still being questioned by authorities.
9:48PM
New York
Ryan: Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested earlier in New Orleans this summer for handing out literature on the “Fair Play for Cuba Committee.” Station WDSU-TV in New Orleans had Oswald on a program called “Conversation Carte Blanche,” where he stated that he was a Marxist, that he had married in Russia, and that he was now a member of “fair Play for Cuba.” Oswald was in the building where the shots that killed President Kennedy were fired. He is now in custody and is still being questioned.
9:57PM McGee continues his rundown on other Presidential assassinations.
  Edwin Newman: This event is unreal, absurd—one of the things we just don’t let happen. But if one in one hundred ninety million wants to kill the President, he will. The unpleasant truth about America is that it is a country of violence. Violence plays a part in our very lives—yet what we worry about is our image abroad. Today, American does not appear to be an adult country. Emotions run high—regional, religious and economic. We must begin at the top, for the political climate is set by the President. In the days to come we will hear much of how we must stick together. It is within our power to take our public life more seriously than we have. Americans tonight are a grossly diminished people.
Brinkley: If we have come to the point where a President cannot appear in public without fear of being shot, then we are less civilized than we think we are.
10:28PM
New York
Ryan: Oswald was given $437 by the American government for the return trip home from Moscow.
10:29PM
Washington, D.C.
Brinkley comments on the murder weapon.
11:37PM
New York
Film: A police officer emerges from the Book Depository with the murder weapon.
Photograph: President Kennedy slumped forward after the shooting.
Film Repeat: Outside Parkland Hospital.
Tape Repeat: Charles Brend’s eyewitness account.
Photograph: The swearing-in of Lyndon Johnson as President.
Photograph: The Fort Worth movie theater where Lee Oswald was arrested for the murder of Dallas patrolman Tippit.
Film: Dallas City Jail.
Pettit (voice over): This is where Lee Oswald is being held. We can see Capt. Will Fritz, head of the Homicide Bureau, in the background….Oswald is still being questioned.
MacNeil: The nation is still in shock form this tragic event. The city of Dallas wishes it had not happened here….
11:57PM
New York
McGee: Oswald had been given paraffin tests to determine whether he had shot the rifle.
12:05AM
New York
Ryan: Arrangements are being made to remove the body of the late President Kennedy from Bethesda Naval Medical Hospital to the East Room of the White House. From there it will be taken to the Capitol Rotunda.
12:44AM
New York
McGee comments on the incident that occurred last October in Dallas on “UN/US Day” during with right-wing elements picketed and spat upon Adlai Stevenson.
12:45AMWashington, D.C. Agronsky: Before the President went to Dallas, Adlai Stevenson called the White House and spoke with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., recommending that President Kennedy reconsider his trip in light of that city’s mood and attitude. Stevenson later called back and asked that his recommendation be withdrawn.
12:54AM
Dallas
MacNeil: ….Oswald has been formally charged with the murder of President Kennedy.
Film: Oswald is heard to say, “I didn’t shoot anybody.” Lee Oswald protesting his innocence. Jerry Hill, Dallas police sergeant who apprehended Oswald in the movie theater, then describes the arrest.
12:59AM
New York
Mcgee makes a few closing remarks on the tragedies that the Kennedy family has endured: Joe Jr.’s death in the war, Kathleen’s death in a plane crash, Rosemary’s mental retardation, Joe Sr.’s stroke, the death of newborn son Patrick, and, finally, the death of the President.
On Camera: The Presidential Seal.
STAR SPANGLED BANNER
1:02:17AM SIGN-OFF
 Saturday, November 23, 1963
7:00AM
New York
SIGN-ON
8:03AM Charles Murphy: Lee Oswald is still protesting his innocence.
Film: Lee Oswald asking for legal assistance.
Murphy: No one know if the assassination was an organized plot or whether Lee Oswald did it on his own….Gov. Connally slept well last night. He has not yet been told of the President’s death.
9:06AM
Washington, D.C.
Sen. John Tower (D-Tex.) reads a letter written to him several years ago by Lee Oswald, requesting the Senator’s help in returning to the U.S. from the Soviet Union. Sen. Tower states that his secretary remembered Oswald’s name and produced the letter from his files yesterday.
Rep. Hale Boggs (R-La.): The whole country is suffering from shock. We are not a country of violence, and the notion of an American President being assassinated is abhorrent to everyone…
Rep. Gerald K. Ford, Jr. (R-Mich.): There is a whole-hearted and sincere effort to stand by the new President…
9:20AM
New York
Hugh Downs: Lee Oswald has been charged with the murder of the Dallas policeman. He has not confessed.
10:00AM McGee: President Kennedy’s body will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda tomorrow….Lee Harvey Oswald has been charged with the assassination of the President. He professes a love for Russia. Doctors say he is sane….
10:06AM
Old State Dept. Building
Scherer: John McCone, head of the CIA, has conferred with President Johnson….It is now raining heavily in Washington.
10:11AM
New York
McGee: The Dallas police are convinced that Lee Oswald is guilty, but they still have no confession or admission of guilt….President Kennedy’s ailing father has been told of his son’s death.
10:12AM
Dallas City Hall
Tom Pettit interviews Deputy Police Chief M. W. Stevenson.
Stevenson: An investigation into the assassination is fully underway. Eyewitnesses are being sought. So far no one has been found who actually saw Oswald pull the trigger. Oswald was jailed on a charge of murdering President Kennedy; there is not charge on the books for assassination as such. Oswald is being held in jail on the fourth floor. He continues to deny that he killed President Kennedy.
10:49AM
New York
McGee: Oswald still insists he did not kill the President. The paraffin tests proved positive—Oswald did fire a gun during the last 24 hours. Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry says Oswald has been charged with murdering the President and Dallas policeman J. D. Tippit.
10:59AM
Atlanta, GA.
Tape: Interview with Dr. Martin Luther King.
Dr. King: President Kennedy’s Civil Rights Bill was the best we have had from any President. Unmerited suffering is redemptive, a price paid to free our children from a spiritual death. When a cause is right, we must have courage. When a man lives constantly under the threat of death, he becomes immune to fear after a while.
11:36AM
Dallas Police Hdq.
On Camera: On Lee Oswald being taken from the elevator to the homicide bureau.
Pettit: There is a tremendous crush of reporters around Lee Oswald….He is being held without bond.
Curry: FBI men, Secret Service police and Capt. Will Fritz of the homicide bureau are all participating in the questioning of Lee Oswald.
11:38AM
New York
McGee: When Gov. Connally was Secretary of the Navy, Lee Oswald wrote him a letter asking him to reverse his dishonorable discharge from the Marine Corps. Connally refused.
12:41PM
New York
Ryan: Lee Oswald, the man accused of murdering the President, was interviewed by the FBI a week ago. According to Police Chief Curry the FBI did not notify the Dallas police of Oswald’s presence in Dallas.
12:43PM
Dallas Police Hdq.
Curry: We have no knowledge of Oswald’s presence in the city. They—the FBI—didn’t warn us of his presence, although they usually do. They usually let us know when any communist sympathizers and subversives are in the city. Oswald is known to have brought a large package to work with him yesterday morning—believed to be his rifle—and he was up on the sixth floor around noon. When a police officer saw him in the building, the manager of the Depository told the officer, “He’s all right—he works here.”
Pettit and Curry discuss the fact that Oswald wrote a letter to Gov. Connally.
Curry: Perhaps Gov. Connally was his real target. Or maybe he wanted to kill both men.
1:03PM
New York
McGee: A second man has been arrested….A justice of the peace issued a search warrant to enter Oswald’s rented room. Oswald was a Marine at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and a fairly expert marksman. He called himself a Marxist. Police Chief Curry says that Oswald later made no distinction between the terms Marxist and communist.
1:07PM
New York
McGee: Lee Oswald has been formally charged with the murder of President Kennedy. Paraffin tests on the side of Oswald’s face proved that he had indeed fired a rifle.
1:31PM Tape: The Kennedy rocking chairs being removed from White House to moving van.
Mueller: The Defense Department will not change under the new President. The role of the military in space will be reviewed.
1:36PM
Dallas Police Hdq.
Pettit: Oswald still refuses to confess to the murder or to take a lie-detector test.
1:38PM
New York
McGee: Oswald refuses to take a lie-detector test….The place of the Kennedy burial has not yet been decided….
Ryan: Oswald sent a letter to Gov. Connally some time ago regarding Oswald’s dishonorable discharge form the Marines.
3:14PM
Dallas Police Hdq.
Pettit: Police have uncovered several details in connection with the suspect Lee Oswald. It is known that he left the Texas School Book Depository building after the assassination took place, headed for home, changed his clothes, and went to a movie theater. A cab driver and a bus driver have been located who recognized Lee Oswald.
Capt. Fritz: This man Oswald killed the President. We have a cinch case against him.
3:16PM McGee: The FBI, I am told, interviewed Oswald a few days before the President came to Dallas. People who knew Oswald said he was a bookish introvert—always a “loner.” After reading Das Kapital he felt converted to communism. Oswald joined the Marines and twice faced possible court martial. He never rose above Pfc. In the Marines he acted aloof.—a lonely boy. His Marine career ended in 1967. Oswald was placed on inactive reserve with a dishonorable discharge. He then traveled to Russia, claiming he was a Marxist. He turned in his U.S. passport and affirmed his allegiance to the Soviet Union. He married a Russian woman. While in Russia he wrote a letter to Sen. John Tower of Texas asking for help in returning to the U.S.; Tower referred his letter to the State Department.
6:32PM
New York
Huntley: John Jr., son of the late President, was heard to say, “My father was killed by a bad man. I don’t have anyone to play with.” John. Jr. cannot understand why he can’t go into the Oval Room, the President’s office. Caroline comprehends this tragedy. Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy has tried to hold up bravely through all of this. Those close to her say that the full impact has yet to hit her.
7:03PM
New York
Huntley: The first critical Pravda editorial has appeared. It objects to the characterization of Lee Oswald as a communist.
7:11PM
New York
Huntley: The Dallas police have stated publicly that there is no doubt in their minds that Lee Oswald is the murderer of the President.
7:15PM
Dallas
H. Louis Nichols (President of the Dallas Bar Association): I visited with Oswald in his cell. He indicated he wanted a lawyer named John J. Abt of New York, or one from the American Civil Liberties Union, who, as he put it, “believes in the same things I do.” He was not defiant, but he definitely did not want a Dallas attorney to represent him. The Oswald family is endeavoring to get in contact with Abt. I believe Oswald will get a fair trial in Dallas.
Murphy: Lee Harvey Oswald is being moved once more—into the interrogation room for further questioning. It is difficult to see him for all the reporters and photographers gathered here. The Dallas police are calling this an iron-clad case—they are positive he shot and killed the President.
7:24PM
New Orleans
Film: The Oswalds’ apartment in New Orleans. Jim Kempt interviews the landlady, who says that the Oswald couple caused no trouble during their stay.
Landlady: They were quiet and cooperative and they left promptly when they found themselves unable to pay the rent. A car with a Texas license plate arrived one day—the same care that had brought them to New Orleans—and off they went.
Kempt interviews the owner of the local grocery store.
Grocer: Mrs. Oswald came in once in a while for a loaf of bread. Lee Oswald came in the store twice. One time he tried to borrow money. The other time he asked me to turn on the TV set so he could watch something. I told him no both times.
7:31PM
Dallas Police Hdq.
Pettit interviews Police Chief Curry, who states that Oswald will soon be transferred from the jail. There is no information on the accomplices, if indeed any exist. Jose Rodriguez Molinas, a bookkeeper at the School Book Depository, has been arrested but has not been formally charged with any crime.
Film: Lee Oswald asking for a clean shirt.
Film: Oswald’s wife, child and mother visiting him in jail.
8:26PM
Dallas Police Hdq.
Pettit: Two new pieces of evidence have turned up.
Curry: the FBI has just informed us that they’ve found a letter received by a mail-order house in Chicago for the purchase of the rifle which is believed to be the one that killed the President. The handwriting on the order is Lee Oswald’s. The order is dated March 20,1963. Photographs have also been found which show Oswald holding this rifle. The name of the return address was A. Hidell, and the gun cost $12.78.
Tape: Lee Oswald in the third floor corridor of the Dallas jail.
8:31PM
New York
Huntley: Authorities report that Oswald was confident when accused and when confronted with the photograph mentioned, but slightly shaken when the authorities left.
Huntley: Oswald has admitted to being a communist, although the Communist Party the world over is disavowing Oswald
8:41PM
Washington, D.C.
Brinkley: The President of the United States was killed by a punk with a mail-order rifle.
9:37PM
Washington, D.C.
Brinkley: The Secret Service has indicated they will tighten their security. The Secret Service has always operated under great stress, fearing an event like the one which happened yesterday.
9:55PM
Washington, D.C.
Brinkley: It is confirmed that the rifle in the hands of the authorities is the murder weapon. Sen. Dodd of Connecticut has pressed for legislation to curb the sale of firearms by mail-order houses. Fidel Castro spoke tonight and said that Cuba may face a worse fate with Johnson as President than it did with Kennedy. Louis Lomax urged Negroes all over the country to demonstrating until after the first of the year. The body of the late President will rest in the Rotunda of the Capitol after it is taken from the White House.
10:50PM
Washington, D.C.
Huntley: Lee Oswald is being held in a Dallas jail…
11:0PM Memorial to President Kennedy produced by NBC News. Music by the NBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Skitch Henderson.
1:02AM
WNBC-TV ONLY
SERMONETTE [sic]
MEMORIAM [sic]
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
 Sunday, Nov. 24, 1963
SIGN-ON OF CONTINUING COVERAGE
8:00AM
New York
Frank Blair reads Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!”
Blair: This is Sunday, Nov. 24, 1963. Today, we will show a nation and the world how we mourn the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Blair reviews the assassination and reads a Dallas newspaper editorial: “A blot on the city…”
Blair: Lee Oswald has been officially charged with the murder of President Kennedy and will leave City Hall in Dallas for his jail cell today.
12 noon Ryan: One hour from now the body of John Fitzgerald Kennedy will be taken to the Capitol Building. President Johnson, his wife and children, are attending church services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington….
12:05PM
Dallas Police Hdq.
Pettit: We are standing in the basement corridor where Lee Oswald will pass through momentarily. Extraordinary security precautions have been taken for the prisoner.
12:07PM
Dallas County Jail
Murphy: I am here with Bill Decker, Sheriff of Dallas County. We are expecting word any moment as to when Oswald will be moved.
12:08PM
White House
Vanocur: The body of the late President will be moved in less than an hour. President Johnson was given an intelligence briefing on Vietnam by CIA Director John McCone; a meeting will be held today at 3:00PM….Attendance at St. Matthew’s Cathedral tomorrow will be by invitation only.
12:13PM
Pennsylvania Avenue
Goralski: The temperature is 46°. Crowds of mourners are quietly gathering. The police are wearing mourning clothes. The traffic is heavy.
12:14PM
Capitol
Scherer: A line four blocks long and four abreast is waiting to view the catafalque in the Rotunda.
12:16PM
St. Matthew’s Cathedral,
Washington, D.C.
Hackes: President Kennedy’s funeral service will be held in this church. It will be a low mass.
12:18PM
St. Francis of Xavier Church
Hyannis Port
Tape: The 11:00AM high mass, Msgr. Daly presiding.
12:20PM
Basement of Dallas City Jail
On Camera: The start of the transfer of Lee Harvey Oswald from Dallas City Jail to Dallas County Jail. The cameras are trained on Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy. He is flanked by detectives, moving toward the ramp where an armored car is waiting to effect the transfer. Suddenly, out of the lower right corner of the screen, a man wearing a hat lunges forward, his back to the camera. A shot rings out. Oswald gasps, grabs his side and starts to fall.
Pettit: He’s been shot! He’s been shot! He’s been shot! Lee Oswald has been shot! There’s a man with a gun. There’s absolute panic, absolute panic in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters. Detectives have their guns drawn. Oswald has been shot. There’s no question about it. Oswald has been shot. Pandemonium has broken loose here in the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters.
On Camera: Someone in the crowd tells Pettit that the man who shot Oswald was well dressed, in a brown coat and hat, and gave the appearance of being a detective. The ambulance arrives as police are clearing the area.
Pettit: The police recognized the man. He is known locally, and owns a gambling Casino in Dallas.
On Camera: Lying on a stretcher, Oswald is placed in an ambulance.
Pettit: Oswald will be taken to Parkland Hospital—the same hospital where the mortally wounded President was taken…. The man who shot Oswald is known locally. He is in the custody of the Dallas police.Tape Repeat: The shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald.Pettit: The reports are that the man who shot Oswald came out of a green car parked outside the Dallas jail. He had no difficulty whatsoever entering the basement though the area was supposedly under heavy guard.Pettit interviews a policeman who states that Oswald’s assailant is a resident of Dallas, whose name cannot be released at this time. After the shooting, the man was immediately disarmed and subdued by police.

Pettit gives his eyewitness account of the shooting of Oswald.

12:42PM
New York
McGee: We will replay the tape of this bizarre shooting in slow motion.Tape Repeat: The Oswald shooting—in slow motion.
McGee: The man has been identified as Jack Ruby—a nightclub owner in Dallas.
Oswald arrived at the hospital about the same time Mrs. Connally arrived to visit her husband, who is recovering from wounds inflicted by an assassin—to all indications, Oswald himself. Mrs. Connally was making her first public statement as the ambulance arrived. Oswald’s head reportedly was lolling from side to side.
STATION IDENTIFICATION
12:30PM
White House
On Camera: President Kennedy’s body leaves the White House for the Capitol Rotunda.
On Camera: A caisson drawn by six horses arrives.
Mueller (voice over): Four young men in an old car were picked up in Washington today with shotguns in their possession.
On Camera: The caisson which will bear President Kennedy’s body passes under the White House portico…
2:24PM McGee (Voice Over): Lee Harvey Oswald died at 2:07PM today after being shot by Jack Ruby in the Dallas City jail.
3:34PM Harvard Glee Club (audio only) performs 15th century music as the camera continues to show mourners passing by the casket.
STATION IDENTIFICATION
3:45PM McGee: Lee Oswald was shot at 12:17 EST. Fifteen minutes later he was taken to the emergency room in Parkland Hospital—the same hospital President Kennedy was taken to. Heart massage failed, and Oswald died at 2:07PM. Jack Ruby, the man who shot Oswald, is a Dallas nightclub owner and is well known to police.Tape Repeat: The shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Tape Repeat: The shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald, run at one-quarter speed.Photograph: Jack Ruby holding his pistol against Oswald’s stomach.Ryan: Oswald’s chest was opened for heart massage….Jack Ruby is about 50 years old and owns two nightclubs in Dallas—strip-tease joints. His attorney has received two death threats. The U.S. government will establish federal jurisdiction over the case.
McGee and Ryan comment on the crowds of people from New York and New Jersey—especially students—who traveled to Washington to view the casket of the late President.
McGee: Lee Harvey Oswald died 48 hours after the President—in the same hospital and the same emergency room. It is a bizarre story—utterly incredible. Oswald had refused the Dallas Bar Association’s attorney. Many Dallas lawyers refused to take his case, stating that to do so would ruin their careers. Several lawyers offered to defend Ruby.
4:28PM McGee: In 1953-1954 Jack Ruby, the man who killed Lee Oswald, was charged with carrying a weapon. He was in trouble with the authorities in 1957 and 1959 for violating liquor ordinances, but he has never been convicted of a felony.
STATION IDENTIFICATION
McGee:
There have been various reactions around the country to Ruby’s shooting of Oswald. Some people believe Ruby “should be given a medal.” Others think that even if Oswald was guilty, Ruby had no right to kill him. There are those who believe Oswald “got what he deserved,” and others who think Ruby’s action was that of a gangster—an outrage to justice that compounds the tragedy. Ruby’s defense attorney says that Ruby is a fine man who admired the President.
4:40PMNew York McGee: Lee Oswald died without ever confessing….Jack Ruby’s real name is Jack Rubinstein. The remark “I can take care of him” has been falsely attributed to Ruby….Ruby was fond of animals. He never associated with “the ladies,” and is not married. It is reported that after hearing of the President’s death, Ruby walked around in circles saying, “Oh, that poor family.” He was known to the police as a flamboyant character, one who liked to be in on police press conferences and other official matters.
4:57PM
New York
McGee: When Jack Ruby shot Lee Oswald, there were cheers….Doctors in Parkland Hospital were unable to save Oswald. A detective in the crowd tried to stop Ruby from shooting Oswald but couldn’t reach him in time. Oswald saw the gun. He knew he was going to be shot. The Department of Justice has sent an investigator to Dallas.
4:59PM
Dallas Police Hdq.
Pettit: Jack Ruby is being led out of the questioning room—through the same door that Oswald passed. Reporters are crowding around….Dallas is a city of incredible ironies….
7:06PM
New York
McGee recaps the Oswald story and comments on Mrs. Kennedy’s decision to walk behind the casket in the procession.
9:00PM “THE STRANGE STORY OF LEE OSWALD”—an NBC News Special Report
Ryan: We would like to reconstruct what is known of this man Oswald.
Film Repeat: Oswald claiming to be a Marxist, not a communist.
9:02PM MacNeil: This is not a simple story: Oswald was not a simple man. Though charged with the assassination of President Kennedy, he died—technically—an innocent man. But unless something extraordinary happens—again-history will hold him guilty….Oswald was born October 18, 1939, in New Orleans, La. His father died before he was born. Subsequently his mother moved with him and two other sons to Fort Worth, Texas. At school, Oswald was bookish, but did not get good marks. At the age of 17 he joined the Marines, and was twice court-martialed, but he did manage to qualify as a sharpshooter. When he was released from the Marines he went to Russia, where he married a beautiful Russian girl. On Oct. 30, 1959, he appeared at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and said he wanted to renounce his American passport. Two years later he became disillusioned with Russia. He returned to New Orleans and became involved in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. The FBI says that on March 20 of this year, Oswald, using an alias, purchased a rifle with a telescopic sight from a mail-order firm in Chicago. At the beginning of October, Oswald got a job in the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. This was a few days after President Kennedy’s visit to this city had been announced. On October 14 he rented a small apartment for $8.00 a week, half a mile from the warehouse.
Film: Oswald’s landlady calls him “polite and thoughtful.”
Photograph: Oswald’s apartment.
MacNeil: On November 21, Oswald got up as usual, but did not return Thursday night. He spent the night in Irving, where his wife and children live.
Film: The Oswald home in Irving; the route to Dallas.
MacNeil: Friday morning, Oswald takes to work a long slim package wrapped with paper and string. He tells a neighbor it is a window blind.
Film: President and Mrs. Kennedy arriving at Love Field, Dallas. The motorcade drives through the heart of the city.
MacNeil: It is nearly 12:30 Dallas time.
Film: The motorcade rounds the corner. The President slumps down, and Mrs. Kennedy cradles his head in her lap. People at the scene are panic-stricken.
Film: The interior of the School Book Depository.
MacNeil: Oswald leaves the building and gets on a bus. He goes two blocks, finds the bus too slow, gets out and enters a taxi. He goes to his rented room.
Film: Mrs. Earlene Roberts, the housekeeper, testifies that Oswald came barging in, grabbed his coat, and went out.
MacNeil: He runs through the Oak Cliff area.
Film: A woman says she saw a police car stop Oswald. (“Oswald leaned in the window, and when the policeman stepped out, Oswald shot him.”) Two men, one a garage attendant, testify to seeing Oswald. A shoe store salesman says that Oswald stopped briefly in the lobby of his store, then walked up the street into a theater. The box-office cashier confirms this.
Film: The inside of the movie theater.
MacNeil: One hundred years ago, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln took place in a theater, and the chase from there. In this gruesome 20th-century parallel, the chase ends in a theater. But this pathetic hiding place was no help to Oswald. He narrowly avoided lynching and was jailed.
Tape Repeat: Jack Ruby Shoots Oswald.MacNeil: Oswald was rushed to the hospital—to the same emergency ward where the President was taken. Ten feet from where the President died, Oswald died.
9:20PM
New York
Ryan: Dallas police felt they had learned enough about Oswald to secure a conviction. Let’s go back to Friday afternoon, when Oswald was questioned about the murder of the Dallas policeman.
Tape: Oswald is questioned by federal and local officers in the homicide bureau of the Dallas Police Department. Capt. Will Fritz leads the questioning.
Ryan: Shortly after 11AM today, Oswald was formally charged with the murder of Dallas policeman J. D. Tippit and the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Dallas police chief Jesse Curry said today he would have moved Oswald last night, but he had already pledged newsmen that the transfer would not take place until today.
9:22PM
Dallas Police Hdq.
Pettit: It was right here in the basement garage of the Dallas police headquarters that an almost incredible series of events took place at 11:20 this morning. Twenty-four-year old Lee Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy, was shot and killed—right on this spot.
Tape Repeat: Jack Ruby shoots Oswald.
9:25PM
New York
Ryan: Pettit speaks to Dallas police sergeant Patrick Dean, just after the shooting.
Tape Repeat: Pettit asks Dean how Ruby managed to slip in despite all the strict security precautions.
Photograph: Police photo of Jack Ruby.
Tape Repeat: The activity surrounding the shooting. Oswald is carried on a stretcher to the ambulance.
Ryan: There is no end to the irony and the bizarre twists of this story….The doctors were unable to save Oswald’s life. The announcement of his death was made by Dr. Thomas Shires, chief resident in surgery at Parkland Hospital.
Film Repeat: The announcement of Oswald’s death.
Dr. Shires: Lee Oswald died at 1:07PM Dallas time of a gunshot wound. He never regained consciousness.
9:30PM
New Orleans
Tape Repeat: Oswald’s apartment where he lived with his Russian wife.
Jim Kent interviews Oswald’s New Orleans landlady.
Landlady: He was very quiet….He had a cute little Russian wife. He didn’t work much—read a lot. Once he placed a “Fair Play for Cuba” poster on my screen porch, and I made him take it down. He left very suddenly.
Kent interviews a grocer in Oswald’s New Orleans neighborhood.
Grocer: Oswald was a peculiar sort of fellow. Not very friendly.
Bern Rotman, WDSU-TV, interviews Ed Vogel, a junior high school classmate of Lee Oswald.
Vogel: We used to talk about ideas and plans. Once we got into a discussion about weapons, and he told me how he planned to rob a store on Rampart St.—there was a gun in the window. I told him not to do it, because of the burglar alarm.
9:44PM
New York
Ryan: And what of Jack Rubinstein, Lee Oswald’s murderer? He owns a night club and dance hall in Dallas, and calls himself Jack Ruby. His police record is unspectacular. He had a very high regard for the late President.
9:45PM
Los Angeles
Tape: Neal interviews Earl Norman, nightclub comic and friend of Jack Ruby.
Norman: Ruby’s a two-personality man. He’s strong and he’s not. He’s well-built, in good physical condition, able to defend himself….To my knowledge, he had no gangland connections….He did a lot of good things….
Tape: Neal interviews Nelson Saul, a boyhood friend of Ruby’s who had been in contact with him ever since they met.
Saul: A group of very prominent people in Beverly Hills are spearheading a movement to set up a defense for Sparky, that’s how we called Jack. I’m in the bail bond business, and I’m going to try to get bail set for him. There’s a lot involved in this shooting.
9:54PM
Dallas
Murphy interviews the wife of the slain police officer, J. D. Tippit. She appears on camera with her children.
Mrs. Tippit: We were told the news by the police department….I don’t know how I will manage….
Allen Tippit (the oldest son): My father always said he wanted me to be something other than a policeman.
Murphy: The mayor of Dallas has asked the people of the city to come to their senses.
Film: Jack Ruby is taken into custody by the Dallas police.
Film: A review of Ruby’s past. Ruby’s sister appears on the film, as well as his attorney, who calls Jack Ruby “a law-abiding citizen.”
Pettit interviews Tammy True, a performer in jack Ruby’s club.
Tammy True: Jack closed the club yesterday. He was extremely emotional over the death of the President.
Pettit: All of this is so bizarre. Dallas needs to calm down. Questions remain. What is going to happen to Jack Ruby? And what is the evidence against Lee Oswald?
10:05PM
Washington, D.C.
Vanocur: The Justice Department says that the Oswald case is not closed, and they will now allow the Dallas police department to close it….It was bad practice in any case to permit anyone entrance to the basement of the Dallas city jail without a pass.
STATION IDENTIFICATION
5:46AM
Capitol
Wright: Eighty-five thousand additional people will be able to get in. Police are trying to discourage others from joining the line.
6:00AM Changing of the Guard.
6:30AM Changing of the Guard.
Monday, Nov. 25, 1963
7:00AM
Washington, D.C.
“Today” Show (Special Edition)
Tape Repeat: The shooting of Lee Oswald by Jack Ruby, as carried live yesterday; then a slow motion of the same tape.
Tape Repeat: The Kennedy funeral cortege leaving the White House for the Capitol; the cortege arriving at the Capitol.
Downs: The whole sequence of events still seems unbelievable….People came all night long to view the casket, and are still coming. Some have been waiting nine and ten hours in the cold.
7:30AM
Washington, D.C.
Tape Repeat: A recap of yesterday’s events including the shooting of Oswald, the departure of the caisson for the Capitol; and the viewing of the casket by Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy.
2:32PM
Arlington National Cemetery
Brinkley (voice over): …The Soviet people have seen a TV documentary of the assassination and the subsequent shooting of Lee Oswald….In Moscow, communist propaganda is proclaiming that the President was murdered as part of a right-wing plot.
6:44PM Brinkley: Mrs. Kennedy and her children are staying in the White House tonight….The Justice Department has ordered a full investigation into the death of President Kennedy.
7:06PM
Dallas
Pettit: There were two funerals in Dallas today—that of Officer J. D. Tippit, and that of Lee Oswald.
Film: The funeral of J. D. Tippit. Ref. Jim Bowman delivers the eulogy.
Film: The funeral of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Pettit: This was a demonstration of morbidity and grief.
Tape Repeat: Interview with Tom Howard, attorney for Jack Ruby.
Howard: Jack ruby was very upset over the death of the President. When he first saw Oswald at the police station, he was angered at his cockiness, his smirk. He kept thinking about Jackie and her children and their suffering.
MacNeil: Police chief Jesse Curry is receiving telegrams urging him to resign.
Pettit: A map has been found, designed by Oswald, showing the route of the motorcade. Gov. Connally’s condition is improving….There will be a thorough public inquiry as to why all this happened.
7:18PM
Washington, D.C.
Tape: Carl Sandburg reads a poetic eulogy to President Kennedy.
Tape Repeat: The casket of the President being transported from the Capitol to the White House; the procession to the cathedral; excerpts from the funeral service and the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
STATION IDENTIFICATION

Notes

 

 

[1] Jim Garrison, A Heritage of Stone, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1970, 65.

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Professor James F. Tracy is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. James Tracy’s work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. James is editor of Union for Democratic Communication’s Journal Democratic Communiqué and a contributor to Project Censored’s forthcoming publication Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Additional writings and information are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.

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About The Author

James F. Tracy's work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. James is editor of Union for Democratic Communication’s Journal Democratic Communiqué and a contributor to Project Censored’s forthcoming publication Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Additional writings and information are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.

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