The Washington Post reported Jan. 2 important conflicts of interest involving the career of liberal commentator Bill Moyers. The newspaper omitted an even bigger conflict regarding Moyers’ role in the JFK murder investigation.
To commemorate Moyers’ last scheduled "Moyers & Co." show this week on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the Post’s Paul Farhi reported financial relationships regarding the 1967 creation of PBS and some of its operations since then.
Omitted from the Post profile A Crusader’s Quiet Farewell was Moyers’s key role helping his mentor Lyndon Johnson coordinate news coverage of President Kennedy’s 1963 assassination. That killing enabled the Johnson presidency, of course, and also propelled the aide's career. Three recent books have alleged that Johnson helped coordinate the murder. Many others have argued that Johnson orchestrated a cover-up of the murder, at the minimum, via the Warren Commission's claim that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to kill JFK with three shots from behind.
We start with recognition of Moyers's impressive career. He has provided a rare and often brave window via mainstream media into the inner councils of the powerful and the harm they inflict on the public.
So it is with that high standard in mind that we report on the singular omissions below. We hope Moyers one day soon will fill in the gaps speaking bluntly with his rare combination of eloquence, experience, and audience.
In a 1963 photo, Moyers is shown as an aide to President Johnson in the weeks after the assassination when Moyers was coordinating media coverage.
The establishment liberal media have been less than aggressive in probing the JFK assassination, thereby illustrating the overlap of journalism and politics.
For such reasons, we at the Justice Integrity Project draw what we can from the mainstream media and augment that information with alternative sources. The Moyers story provides an apt kick-off for our 2015 efforts. This is our first column of the year.
Kennedy’s murder remains at the heart of recent American history. Among the many impacts: Kennedy had tried to stop the Vietnam War but Johnson promptly countermanded Kennedy's order and greatly increased U.S. involvement. The record is inevitably mixed, of course. Johnson, a Texan and longtime segregationist, pushed civil rights legislation through the Southern Democrat-dominated Congress in ways that would have been difficult for Kennedy, a Massachusetts native.
Whatever the case, the public deserves full disclosure especially on matters involving the media itself.
Some commentators, including Moyers (shown in a 2005 photo), have argued that the United States has endured a long-term destruction of democratic institutions and Constitutional freedoms. But few in the traditional media, including its liberal outlets that Moyers has helped fund, dare try to connect the JFK murder to subsequent events in direct fashion.
Retired professor and diplomat Peter Dale Scott, for example, argued last fall at a conference on the Warren Commission that the commission's cover-up of the JFK murder led oligarchs to use similar methods to oust Richard Nixon from the presidency, sabotage the re-election of Jimmy Carter, undertake heinous arms and drug smuggling in the Iran-Contra scandal, and obscure (at the minimum) important facts about 9/11, such as funding of the hijackers.
Scott's new book The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack on U.S. Democracy, parallels arguments by others that gain relatively little traction in the media.
We now know about the once-secret 1960s Operation Mockingbird program and a 1967 CIA directive to smear government critics as "conspiracy theorists." CIA Dispatch 1035-960 instructed agents to contact their media contacts and urge them to disparage those who criticize the Warren Commission findings. The 150-page CIA document is here in the original, and here in reformatted text of its summary.
Even in media circles or popular discussions today about civic affairs, many people respond to new information by stating they are not interested in criticism of government on sensitive matters because it might be considered "conspiracy theory." Few repeating such adages seem to know that a secret government plan in 1967 popularized those words to immunize government in effect from any suspicions of gross misconduct in major events.
We have described that process in Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later. That column was a segment of our recent 22-part "Readers Guide" to the JFK assassination. Today's column is part 23 in our series, and breaks additional ground below:
Let's start with Paul Farhi's Jan. 2 feature surveying Moyers' unquestionably illustrious career.
Farhi surveyed familiar terrain about Moyers, including his post as a Johnson aide, his PBS broadcasting career beginning in 1971, his many awards, and the intense hostility his work provoked from conservatives through the years, including a secret and determined effort by the late Corporation for Public Broadcasting Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson to force Moyers off the air in 2005.
The story also underscored how the nationwide network for both PBS and National Public Radio (NPR) were initiated under the Johnson administration by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.
Furthermore, Farhi reported that Moyers has served for years as president of the Schumann Center for Law and Democracy. The New Jersey-based center with 2012 assets of $28 million has helped fund such liberal media outlets as The Nation, Washington Monthly, and Mother Jones magazines, investigative websites like Truthout, $750,000 for the show Democracy Now! and public television stations WNET in New York City and WGBH in Boston.
Additionally, the Center helped fund entities associated with the Moyers family, Farhi reported:
For example, Schumann helped finance TomPaine.com, which was founded by Moyers’s son John, who was also a former member of Schumann’s board.
Further, in 2011, Schumann gave $859,146 to the Independent Production Fund, according to the foundation’s tax filing. The IPF has produced a number of Moyers’s public television programs over the years.
What’s more, Moyers occasionally featured on his program some of the very organizations Schumann financed without disclosing the connection. In 2012, for example, “Moyers & Co.” devoted an entire episode to an interview with Heather McGhee, the Washington policy director of Demos, a campaign-finance and advocacy organization. Schumann gave $375,000 to Demos in 2012 and 2011, the last years public records are available.
The funding from the Schumman Center appear to be relatively modest, mostly in the five-figure range. But the money is doubtless an important component of the outlets, which tend to have tenuous finances and thus need reliable contributors beyond their audience members.
All such funding information is useful in helping to explain the perception that we at our project share with other trusted investigative reporters that these traditional liberal outlets do not welcome cutting edge investigation on, for example, the JFK murder and other "Deep State" controversies.
"A lot of us in the JFK research community have wondered for years why a number of liberal outlets seem to stay away from JFK research findings," commented researcher Jerry Policoff, a progressive. "It is interesting that one of the few controversies Amy Goodman seems to avoid is the JFK assassination. The Nation, and Washington Monthly have been openly hostile to JFK conspiracy theories while Mother Jones has pretty much steered clear of the subject. Coincidence? That sounds a lot like the roster of grantees the Washington Post reported."
While the amounts of funding are not large by the standards of comparable conservative groups, Policoff concurred that the sums were quite important for the kinds of money-losing liberal and progressive outlets that he has known through the decades.
If so this seems an example of "controlled opposition." That is when the range of reporting is artificially narrowed to ignore matters of interest to millions of consumers but near-verboten to gatekeepers.
As specific examples of issues remaining at issue are, for example, the continuing refusal of the CIA, the National Archives, and the Obama administration to comply with the 1992 JFK Act's requirement for release of all documents relating to the Kennedy assassination.
The Assassination Archives and Research Center (whose Warren Commission conference I helped organize in September) estimates the number at more than 1,100 documents withheld by the CIA as especially sensitive.
The public deserves to know the facts after all these years, whatever they might be. As vice president, for example, Johnson is shown with Kennedy in a widely republished photo at right. Does it convey some sinister intention? Or is it a mere happenstance camera angle?
Similarly, Congress and the Obama administration have continued to suppress the 2002 findings of a congressional commission regarding which country funded the 9/11 terrorists. Congressional proponents of disclosure and 9/11 victim families have scheduled a major press conference Jan. 7 at the House Cannon Building to win release of that vitally important data.
We shall not attempt here to summarize all the sensitive articles on such topics that outlets supported by the Moyers-led Schumman Center have published and how many they have ignored. That's beyond our scope.
Readers here can make your own assessment from memory on, for example, where you have read in-depth treatments of 28 pages (reputed to name Saudi Arabia's government as funders of the hijackers via intermediaries), or such other matters as a former Cuban exile leader's revelation at our AARC conference that he saw his CIA handler, David Atlee Phillips, meet with Oswald six weeks before Kennedy's assassination.
In fairness, Moyers' own show earlier this year presented a hard-hitting commentary by author and former congressional investigator Mike Lofgren, Anatomy of the Deep State. Moyers introduced the segment in a positive fashion: The Deep State That Governs America: Mike Lofgren.
The implications are worth pondering whatever the final tally might be of legitimate stories published or ignored/suppressed.
One thing we do know is that the Washington Post is a leading gatekeeper of information undermining the Warren Commission, which it has always enthusiastically supported. Thus, today's profile of Moyers failed to mention his vital role during 1963 in helping the White House coordinate assassination and investigatory news coverage.
The scope of this control is indicated by a memo that the Justice Department's No. 2 official and future Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach addressed to Moyers on Nov. 25, 1963, just three days after the killing. Katzenbach wrote that the DOJ’s top priority should be to calm the public by focusing suspicion Oswald as a lone killer acting without accomplices.
That document, now declassified, is part of the vast evidence that shows the Warren Report was preplanned and inadequate at best, and a cover-up at worst. Most of the more than two thousand books on the topic tend to show that the Warren Commission undertook a whitewash that could not possibly have been correct in such key findings as Oswald acting alone, firing three shots from the rear, and being fatally shot by a mere concerned citizen, Jack Ruby, who supposedly was not connected to the mob.
Roger Stone, a longtime GOP consultant and more recently a best-selling author and blogger, has directly challenged Moyers' credibility by alleging that the commentator has never dared to report in depth on the JFK killing. Stone's book last year, The Man Who Killed Kennedy, became a bestseller on the New York Times list last year in building the case that Johnson helped orchestrate CIA and mob personnel to kill Kennedy.
We need not go anywhere near that far to believe it a shame if Moyers, as Stone alleges, has not treated the killing in depth during his long career as a commentator, and if the Washington Post does not mention the 1963 memo and its importance to readers in a career summary article, such as this week's.
In a column Will Bill Moyers Ever Tell the Truth About Lyndon Johnson? Stone reminded readers that Moyers, fellow Johnson administration alumni, and the Johnson family "went ballistic" when the History Channel aired a documentary in 2003 called The Men Who Killed Kennedy: The Guilty Men.The channel bowed to the pressure and removed the episodes.
Even more clearly, the Pulitzer-winning Johnson biographer Robert Caro slipped when he failed to address the most controversial assassination issues in the most recent book of his four-volume The Years of Lyndon Johnson.
Famed for decades as among the most thorough and fearless of the nation's high-prestige biographers, Caro's most recent book, The Passage of Power, failed even to mention LBJ cronies Malcolm Wallace or Billy Sol Estes in its 712-pages dealing with the Johnson's first years as president.
In Robert Caro Sins By Omission, Stone (among others) has alleged that Wallace was a convicted murderer whose fingerprint was found at the Texas Book Depository "sniper's nest" supposedly occupied by Oswald -- and that Estes submitted a sworn statement to the Justice Department that Wallace had murdered seven people, including JFK, on behalf of Johnson.
Mucking around in this is not a pleasant task. I greatly admire both Moyers and Caro on the whole. Moyers, an ordained Baptist minister before he worked for Johnson, as a rare if not unique eloquence and authority when he speaks calls for civic reform. His Schumman Center philanthropy is admirable also so long at it and its implications are known.
Regarding Caro, I admired his previous books so much that I made it my business two decades ago to try to learn why he was so rarely an expert guest regarding the Johnson presidency compared to fellow biographers Doris Kearns Goodwin and Robert Dallek. An insider then reminded me that Kearns Goodwin was married to the prominent former Kennedy and Johnson aide Richard Goodwin and that such relationships make a difference in news, history, and politics.
Moreover, research about the JFK assassination turns up the curious prominence to almost to this day of reporters who were on the scene in Dallas covering the killing -- but who rarely have anything to report about the serious discrepancies in the official account. Their numbers include longtime PBS MacNeill-Lehrer Report co-anchors Robert MacNeill and Jim Lehrer, plus Bob Schieffer and Dan Rather of CBS.
The nation's bids farewell -- and for many of us, thanks -- to Bill Moyers this week after his many valuable contributions through the decades. His intellect, voice and passion will be missed -- so much so that our appendix below contains a selection of several of his outstanding essays.
Yet the title of this essay begins "Nearly too late." The meaning is that in historical terms it's never really too late to know what we need to know, even if we don't necessarily want to hear it.
Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide To JFK Assassination
* Denotes major articles in this Readers Guide series
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.
- Project Launches JFK Assassination Readers' Guide, Oct. 16, 2013.
- Project Provides JFK Readers Guide To New Books, Videos, Oct. 26, 2013. This is a list of new books and films in 2013.
- Disputes Erupt Over NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post Reviews of JFK Murder, Nov. 7, 2013. *
- Self-Censorship In JFK TV Treatments Duplicates Corporate Print Media's Apathy, Cowardice, Nov. 7, 2013.
- 'Puppetry' Hardback Launched Nov. 19 at DC Author Forum on ‘White House Mysteries & Media,' Nov. 19, 2013.
- Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory, Nov. 27, 2013.
- JFK Murder Scene Trapped Its Victim In Kill Zone, Nov. 30, 2013.
- Project Lists JFK Assassination Reports, Archives, Videos, Events, Nov. 2, 2013. Leading video, events and archives from the last 50 years. *
- 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. *
- JFK Murder Prompts Expert Reader Reactions, Dec. 19, 2013. Reactions to our Dec. 9 column.
- Have Spy Agencies Co-Opted Presidents and the Press? Dec. 23, 2013. *
- Don't Be Fooled By 'Conspiracy Theory' Smears, May 26, 2014. *
- Experts To Reveal Secrets of JFK Murder, Cover-up at Sept. 26-28 DC Forum , Sept. 5, 2014.
- Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later, Sept. 22, 2014. *
- JFK Experts To Explode Myths, Sign Books In DC Sept. 26-28, Sept. 24, 2014.
- Former Cuban Militant Leader Claims CIA Meeting With Oswald Before JFK Killing, Sept. 27, 2014. *
- JFK Readers Guide: Assassination Books, Reports, Oct. 15, 2014. *
- Former House JFK Murder Prober Alleges CIA ‘Lied,’ Seeks Hidden Records, Oct. 18, 2014. *
- The JFK Murder 'Cover-up' Still Matters -- As Does C-SPAN's Coverage, Nov. 11, 2014. *
- JFK, Nov. 22 and the Continuing Cover-Up, Nov. 24, 2014. *
- JFK Assassination Readers Guide To 2013-14 Events, Nov. 28, 2014. *
- CIA, Empowered by JFK Murder Cover-up, Blocks Senate Torture Report, Dec. 1, 2014. *
- Nearly Too Late, Public Learns of Bill Moyers’ Conflicts Over PBS, LBJ, Jan. 2, 2014.
- Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You, March 17, 2015.
- Free Videos Show Shocking Claims About CIA, JFK Murder Probes, June 29, 2015.
- Pioneering Black Secret Service JFK Guard Abraham Bolden Warns Of Current Lessons, July 22, 2015.
- Understanding Hollywood-Style Presidential Propaganda From JFK To Trump, Aug. 18, 2015.
- Beware Of Wrong Conclusions From New CIA Disclosure On Oswald, Sept. 28, 2015.
- The JFK Murder Cover-Up: Your Rosetta Stone To Today’s News, Nov. 29, 2015.
- Austin Kiplinger, David Skorton: Two Civic Giants Going And Coming, Dec. 15, 2015
- Trump Alleges Rafael Cruz Tie To JFK Murder Suspect Oswald, May 3, 2016.
Office of U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
On Wednesday, January 7 at 9:30 a.m. Representatives Walter B. Jones (NC-3), Stephen Lynch (MA-8), and Senator Bob Graham (FL) will hold a bipartisan press conference on H. Res. 428, a resolution that calls on President Obama to declassify the 28 pages of the "Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 2001" that were initially classified by President George W. Bush and have remained classified under President Barack Obama.
Senator Graham, shown in an official photo, was the chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence when the Joint Inquiry was written and has repeatedly called for the 28 pages to be declassified.
H. Res. 428 states that declassification of the pages is necessary to provide the American public with the full truth surrounding the tragic events of September 11, 2001, particularly relating to the involvement of foreign governments. Congressmen Jones, Lynch, and Massie will introduce H. Res. 428 into the 114th Congress.
Related News Coverage
Washington Post, A Crusader’s Quiet Farewell, Paul Farhi, Jan. 1, 2014. This time, Bill Moyers really means it. After 43 years as public television’s most visible intellectual and its most unabashed liberal, he’s done. As of Friday, he’s officially retiring from TV. Yes, he’s said that before. Twice, actually. And both times (in 2010 and 2013) he reversed course, returning to TV to pursue his varied passions and crusades — against the corrupting influence of money in politics, for the environment and civil rights, against growing economic inequality — in familiar style, avuncular and Texas-inflected. The last time he retired he was on the sidelines for all of 17 days. But this time is different, he insists. Moyers, 80, said in a brief note posted on his Web site in September that the final show of his interview series, “Moyers & Co.,” which airs beginning Friday on public stations, would be his last. “I am writing to assure you that this time it’s the real deal,” he wrote then. “. . . It’s time finally to sign off.”
Washington Post, Bill Moyers’s journalism legacy, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Jan. 13, 2015. Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor of The Nation. After more than 40 years on the air, Bill Moyers has turned off his microphone. While the longtime face of public broadcasting had threatened to retire in the past, this time he has assured us that we have heard his final farewell. His voice and regular presence will be deeply missed, but his legacy, and his impact on public life will surely live on.
Sample Moyers Commentaries
Bill Moyers.com, The End Game for Democracy, Dec. 21, 2013. In one short, eloquent statement, Moyers hits all the right points. Bill Moyers says the parody and satire of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert pay Washington the disrespect it deserves, but in the end it’s the city’s predatory mercenaries who have the last laugh.
Bill Moyers & Co., The Children’s Climate Crusade, Jan. 1, 2015. BILL MOYERS: Welcome. This is our final broadcast. But you haven’t seen the last of us -- we’ll continue to report and comment at our website, BillMoyers.com, I hope you’ll join me there for a webchat later this month. We end our broadcast series on an encouraging word from the emerging generation. Remember Kelsey Juliana from Eugene, Oregon? She’s 18 years old, and co-plaintiff in a lawsuit spearheaded by the organization Our Children’s Trust, which claims that Oregon is not doing all it can to slow down global warming and protect the future. It’s one of several such suits around the country based on the doctrine of public trust, which goes back to ancient Rome. Transcript.
Bill Moyers & Co., The Deep State That Governs America: Mike Lofgren, Bill Moyers, Feb. 21, 2014. Producer: Gina Kim. Segment Producer: Lena Shemel. Editor: Rob Kuhns. Intro Editor: Sikay Tang. Mike Lofgren, a Congressional staffer for 28 years, explains to Bill Moyers that neither Congress, the President, nor the American people govern the United States. Everyone knows about the military-industrial complex, which, in his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned had the potential to “endanger our liberties or democratic process” but have you heard of the “Deep State?” Mike Lofgren, a former GOP congressional staff member with the powerful House and Senate Budget Committees, joins Bill to talk about what he calls the Deep State, a hybrid of corporate America and the national security state, which is “out of control” and “unconstrained.” In it, Lofgren says, elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. “It is … the red thread that runs through the history of the last three decades. It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war,” Lofgren tells Bill. Lofgren says the Deep State’s heart lies in Washington, DC, but its tentacles reach out to Wall Street, which Lofgren describes as “the ultimate backstop to the whole operation,” Silicon Valley and over 400,000 contractors, private citizens who have top-secret security clearances. Like any other bureaucracy, it’s groupthink that drives the Deep State. Read the transcript.
Bill Moyers and Company, Anatomy of the Deep State, Mike Lofgren, Feb. 21, 2014. There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. During the last five years, the news media has been flooded with pundits decrying the broken politics of Washington. The conventional wisdom has it that partisan gridlock and dysfunction have become the new normal. That is certainly the case, and I have been among the harshest critics of this development. But it is also imperative to acknowledge the limits of this critique as it applies to the American governmental system. On one level, the critique is self-evident: In the domain that the public can see, Congress is hopelessly deadlocked in the worst manner since the 1850s, the violently rancorous decade preceding the Civil War. Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country. As I wrote in The Party is Over, the present objective of congressional Republicans is to render the executive branch powerless, at least until a Republican president is elected (a goal that voter suppression laws in GOP-controlled states are clearly intended to accomplish). President Obama cannot enact his domestic policies and budgets: Because of incessant GOP filibustering, not only could he not fill the large number of vacancies in the federal judiciary, he could not even get his most innocuous presidential appointees into office. Democrats controlling the Senate have responded by weakening the filibuster of nominations, but Republicans are sure to react with other parliamentary delaying tactics. This strategy amounts to congressional nullification of executive branch powers by a party that controls a majority in only one house of Congress.
Bill Moyers and Company via Huffington Post, Watch: Incarceration Nation an interview with Michelle Alexander, Bill Moyers, Dec. 23, 2013. There are more African Americans under correctional control today -- in prison or jail, on probation or parole -- than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. According to The Sentencing Project, an advocacy group dedicated to changing how we think about crime and punishment, "More than 60 percent of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For Black males in their thirties, one in every ten is in prison or jail on any given day." Because of the 40-year war on drugs and get tough sentencing policies, the American prison population has exploded from about 300,000 in the 1970s to more than 2 million today. The United States has a higher rate of incarceration than any other nation and spends billions every year to keep people behind bars. The cost on democracy is immeasurable.
Sample Commentaries About Bill Moyers
Stone Zone, Will Bill Moyers Ever Tell the Truth About Lyndon Johnson? Roger Stone, Dec. 16, 2013. After the murder of JFK, Bill Moyers assumed a lot of power as a very young and inner circle aide to Lyndon Johnson. One of the things that attracted a young Bill Moyers to Lyndon Johnson was that LBJ exuded "power," not that LBJ was a decent, honest and likeable man. The reality of LBJ was that he was a mean, cruel, sadistic man whose corruption was of Biblical proportions. LBJ also had a spectacular hatred of the Kennedys. But he had power and that is what a young Bill Moyers was attracted to. Legendary Texas reporter Sarah McLendon (who rose to be the dean of the White House press corps) said that "religious aide" Bill Moyers was brought into the Johnson camp to act as a beard to facilitate the adultery of then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson with his secretary.
A good question to ask is why has Bill Moyers not written a book about his times with Lyndon Johnson? Moyers has said that he was attracted to LBJ's power. Post JFK assassination, Moyers (in his twenties) immediately becomes one of LBJ's closest, most powerful aides. This seems like a ripe topic for an interesting book. Maybe Moyers has sat on this book because if he wrote it he would have to tell the truth about LBJ's fantastic corruption, scary mental instabilities, hatred of the Kennedys, his sadism, his cruelty, his beyond outrageous behavior.
Bill Moyers is obviously a man not ready to deal with the terrible truth about Lyndon Johnson. A prime example of this was in 2003 when the History Channel ran a series on the JFK assassination that dealt with the role of Lyndon Johnson in the murder of John Kennedy. It was called The Men Who Killed Kennedy: The Guilty Men, episodes 7, 8 and 9. Moyers, Valenti and Gerald Ford and the Johnson family went ballistic and demanded that the series, one of the most insightful ever on the JFK assassination, be ripped down off of TV. The History Channel in a spectacularly craven act of folding to political pressure complied.
Stone Zone, Robert Caro Sins By Omission, Roger Stone, Nov. 19, 2013. As my book The Man Who Killed Kennedy the Case Against LBJ has become an Amazon Top 100 best seller (#18 at this writing), I have been asked again and again how Lyndon Johnson's definitive biographer Robert Caro could have missed LBJ's role in an assassination plot. Author Robert Caro wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning four-volume biography of Johnson. In this masterful work, Caro accurately depicts LBJ as an amoral psychopath. Caro's vivid portrait of Johnson shows LBJ's corruption to be of biblical proportions and correctly portrays Johnson as crude, vicious, vindictive, unprincipled, abusive, promiscuous and usually drunk. One Secret Service agent told author Ron Kessler that "if Johnson wasn't President, he'd be in a lunatic asylum."
Yet, Caro's masterful biography is flawed. There were two enormous scandals surrounding LBJ in the fall of 1963. One involved Secretary of the Senate, Bobby Baker, once described by Johnson as "my strong right arm" and the other involved the Texas wheeler-dealer, Billie Sol Estes. A review of news coverage of both scandals reveals substantially more column inches dedicated to coverage of the Billy Sol Estes scandal, yet nowhere in his biography does Caro even mention Sol Estes. Caro had 20 years but never so much as sought an interview with Sol Estes. Caro also never interviewed Madeleine Duncan Brown, Johnson's longtime mistress who said LBJ told her the night before the assassination, "After tomorrow those SOBs will never embarrass me again. That's no threat. That's a promise." Then there is the question of Malcolm "Mac" Wallace, described by Madeleine Brown as LBJ's "hatchet man." Like Lee Harvey Oswald Malcolm Wallace is a Marine marksman. Robert Caro knows of Malcolm 'Mac' Wallace, and knows his ties to LBJ's sister. He knows the Kinser murder involved a man, John Douglas Kinser, who was blackmailing LBJ with things he learned from the future president's sister, with whom Kinser enjoyed an intimate relationship.
Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues
Washington Post, For Blackwater founder, another messy conflict, Ian Shapira, Jan. 1, 2014. Eric Prince is embroiled in a lawsuit regarding his memoir and a writer who says he is owed more than $1 million.
Boston Globe, Why the Tsarnaev trial should be moved, delayed, Harvey Silverglate, Jan. 2, 2015. The upcoming trial of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, right, scheduled to begin Monday, should be moved outside Massachusetts or, at the least, postponed for a substantial period of time if he is to receive a fair trial. The Tsarnaev case is unique in modern Massachusetts history, and this must be recognized at every step of the proceedings. Nearly every citizen of the Commonwealth surely has thought that “there but for the grace of God go I.” The victims of the bombing extend well beyond the three spectators killed and 264 that sought hospital attention for serious, often life-changing injuries. Tens of thousands of residents in the cities and towns surrounding the bombing locale were subject to an unprecedented governmental “shelter-in-place” order to remain in their homes during the five days that para-military police squads, armed with weapons of war, hunted down the defendant and his older brother, who was killed in the shootout in which the defendant was seriously wounded.
People in such a situation, just like the residents of Oklahoma City after the 1995 bombing of a federal office building and nearby courthouse, rightly feel personally threatened and vulnerable from such a massive attack on their expectation that they live in a civilized society. There is no step that US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. can take, short of transferring the trial outside Massachusetts, that will alleviate the threat to the Constitution’s promise of a fair trial governed, in the words of the Fifth Amendment, by “due process of law.” O’Toole has flouted the teachings of two highly relevant precedents, the Timothy McVeigh Oklahoma City bombing case and the prosecution of admitted serial killer Gary Lee Sampson here at home.