[Editor’s note: Make sure to read Robert Spencer’s masterpiece contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
It was an extraordinary yet now forgotten event: on July 15, 1967, NBC gave New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison nearly half an hour to rebut an earlier NBC show that had criticized how Garrison had conducted an investigation of people he thought were involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The segment was extraordinary because today we are accustomed to the major news outlets only allowing one point of view to be heard. It was doubly extraordinary because Garrison took the opportunity to explain to the American people that they were being lied to by the political and media elites, in words that are even truer today than they were when he spoke them.
Garrison’s central point was that the findings of the Warren Commission that investigated the circumstances of the Kennedy assassination were false, a claim that he neatly established by showing that the Commission’s reconstruction of the path of a bullet that supposedly hit JFK and then passed into the body of Texas Governor John Connally was physically impossible. Garrison contended that Lee Harvey Oswald was not and could not have been the lone assassin of Kennedy, and that he was, in fact, a CIA operative. The hit on Kennedy, according to Garrison, was a CIA operation emanating from the agency’s dislike of the Kennedy administration’s moves toward a thaw in the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
That’s an eminently plausible theory, as it coincides with the warning that Kennedy’s predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, issued about the military-industrial complex and its interest in keeping the nation embroiled in endless wars (the Vietnam war was just heating up at the time as a proxy war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union). In the course of explaining it, Garrison made several statements that could have been uttered by any astute observer of the political scene in 2023. Above all, he said: “Many of the things that the major news agencies have been telling you are untrue.” Well, yeah.
Garrison declared that “information concerning the cause of the death of your president has been withheld from you,” and likened the official explanation of the Kennedy assassination to a fairy tale. “Anything which is untrue,” he explained, “is dangerous. And it is all the more dangerous when the fairy tale becomes accepted as reality simply because it has an official seal of approval, or because honorable men announce that you must believe it, or because powerful elements of the press tell you that the fairy tale is true.” He said that powerful forces in the U.S. were withholding information and lying to the people in what they thought was the national interest, and stated: ”There’s no room in America for thought control of any kind, no matter how benevolent the objective.”
Yes. Yet today, 55 years later, the thought control is worse than ever. Consider the silencing of Donald Trump, even while he was president of the United States. On Nov. 5, 2020, The Verge reported that “cable networks, broadcast networks and Twitter cut short their broadcasts of President Donald Trump’s speech from the White House briefing room Thursday; some outlets fact-checked the president’s unproven statements rather than carry them live. Trump began his remarks by baselessly claiming that Democrats were committing ‘fraud’ and trying to ‘steal’ the election.” YouTube likewise restricted videos claiming that the 2020 presidential election was not entirely on the up-and-up until just a couple of weeks ago, when it suddenly began allowing this topic to be discussed again. Why now? Election fraud allegations aren’t dangerous “disinformation” anymore?
No, it’s just that now we’re far beyond any point at which the injustice that was committed could be remedied. But back in 2020, the networks and the social media giants decided that they knew what was best for you, and that it was best that you not even hear what Trump was saying. They deliberately withheld information from us in service of their agenda, just as Garrison contended back in 1967 that they did regarding the Kennedy assassination.
There are, of course, myriad other examples of this. YouTube is still at it, just days ago banning an interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that the elites claim contains “misinformation” regarding the deadly COVID vaccines. Networks devoted no time at all to evidence of Biden’s influence peddling, while giving lavish coverage to Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. And that insufferable and smug authoritarian, Barack Obama, lamented in May the decline of the media establishment’s stranglehold on the sources of information: “When I was coming up,” he reminisced, “you had three TV stations … and people were getting a similar sense of what is true and what isn’t, what was real and what was not.” Ah yes, it was a lot easier back then to control what people saw and what they didn’t, and to maintain a narrative. Now, however, the elites are still doing it well enough.
Jim Garrison told us of the dangers of all this long ago. NBC was actually canny to give him time, as it could then point to its having done so as evidence that it was actually a neutral and even-handed news source. But it wasn’t then and it isn’t now; nor are the other primary news outlets. As they did in Garrison’s time, they have an agenda to push, and they push it relentlessly and with considerable ingenuity. Most Americans today still think that while in totalitarian regimes such as National Socialist Germany and the international socialist Soviet Union, the news outlets just pumped out regime propaganda, we have a free press here that tells us the truth.
That assumption is testimony to the power of today’s propaganda. The news outlets didn’t give us the truth in 1967, and they don’t today. Americans should watch Garrison’s remarks and realize that the same forces are still in power, and even more effectively controlling the discourse now than they were then.