COMMENTS: JFK Week Gets Under Way

Today anchor Savannah Guthrie appeared on the NBC newscast in her own package, as all three newscasts launched weeklong series to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy. She updated her own two-part interview, here and here, from 18 months ago with Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who was assigned to protect First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy at the time. Hill granted the interview to promote his book Five Days in November.

On CBS, Bob Schieffer had previously got the jump on the 50th anniversary coverage with promotion for Philip Shenon's book A Cruel and Shocking Act on the Warren Commission, and a replay of enhanced audio from that day from the Dallas police scanner. Now Schieffer finds Kenneth Salyer, a brain surgeon who had been at the President's deathbed at Parkland Hospital. Dr Salyer's theory was to blame JFK's back brace: if he had not been wearing a corset, he would not have sat so upright in the convertible after the first shot and so would not have offered such an inviting target for the fatal bullet.

As CBS' Schieffer had aired enhanced audio, so ABC's Byron Pitts aired enhanced video. Anthony Davison, a history buff from New Zealand, has worked on the 26 seconds of the home movie shot by Abraham Zapruder, the footage that Zapruder sold to LIFE magazine for $150K and that is now property of Dallas' Sixth Floor Museum. Pitts a veteran CBS newsman, now works for ABC so he did what ABC reporters do so often: he included a fictionalized clip from a Hollywood movie as part of his documentary report. Obviously, the movie Pitts picked to add to the list was Oliver Stone's JFK.


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