Deceptive mass media portrayals of President John F. Kennedy’s life and death help us understand the pervasive hokum in the 2016 presidential campaign in ways far beyond Donald Trump’s antics.
Trump’s stunning recent success on the campaign trail using strategies inspired by show business has forced some of his competitors to try to copy him as best they can.
But every concerned voter should understand that the spectacle goes far beyond entertainment. Instead, the campaign represents a brazen escalation of domestic propaganda efforts undertaken jointly by media and military-intelligence leaders whose minions have secretly cooperated from the World War II era to the present.
That’s the topic of this column, which was inspired by an invitation by the bold and independent-minded Connecticut radio personality Phil Mikan to join him Aug. 18 to discuss a controversial Hollywood portrayal of Kennedy’s death, JFK: The Final Shot. On Aug. 19, we next discuss the current state of the 2016 presidential campaign. The Phil Mikan Show is carried on WLIS-AM and WMRD-AM in Middletown and Old Saybrook, and archived
His invitation crystallized important themes of our recent Justice Integrity Project research showing how government propaganda experts acting on behalf of Wall Street and other elite interests have secretly funded many national media outlets, thereby distorting voter perceptions regarding presidents and candidates alike through the decades.
Kennedy’s “Camelot” glory, marriage, death, and scandal revelations, for example, provide a vivid case history of such the image-making, including suppression of scandal when our information gatekeepers thought it best for the public not to know about vice in high places.
But the pendulum has shifted. Wild and sometimes true charges of scandal — issued on a high-selective based in part on feuds, religion and ideologies — are now shaping what is likely to be one of the most important, deceptive, entertaining and controversial races in history. The 2016 GOP candidates are portrayed at their first debate Aug. 6.
We start with JFK: The Final Shot, a well-publicized supposed “documentary” released in 2013 that argued that the federal government has suppressed news that the late Secret Service officer George Hickey accidentally killed the president while riding in the Dallas motorcade — and that law enforcers have been so embarrassed since that they have covered up the facts with the complicity of most media.
That theme has always been absurd. Both common sense and evidence amplified below demonstrate why. Nonetheless, the film and at least two books on the topic distracted attention during the 50th anniversary of the killing in 2013 from credible evidence of how the murder occurred and why a cover-up has been maintained.
The disinformation techniques constitute the dark side of the overly-glamorized earlier coverage of Kennedy, which was heavily shaped by such friends and admirers as the late Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Ben Bradlee.
All of this is a long way around the mountain to get to the 2016 presidential race. But kindly bear with us. We shall try to make this overview productive and entertaining, even if sinister ghosts appear below.