JFK Assassination

By: Brianna Hoelle

Basic Information on the Murder

Who: 35th President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald

What: The assassination of former president JFK and the subsequent death of his murderer, Lee Harvey Oswald.

When: November 22, 1963

Where: Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas

Why: Lee Harvey Oswald disapproved of US involvement in Cuba, specifically the use of force to prevent the spread of communism, and assassinated JFK due to political differences.

How: The single sniper fired three shots at JFK from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building.

Controversy Surrounding Assassination

JFK's death became controversial when the Warren Commission, the report on the shooting, didn't match everything that was believed to have happened. The 800+ page filing identified Oswald as the lone shooter who killed the president and injured the Texas governor. Along with that, several witnesses were found dead before they could reveal everything they had seen.

Media Coverage

The Dallas Times Herald

This article was published just hours after the assassination and had already pegged Oswald as the shooter, despite no trial formally placing the murder on him. The paper named Johnson as the new president, overwhelming US citizens with so much information in so little time, especially after such a horrific event.

Walter Cronkite

This media coverage was given by Walter Cronkite almost immediately after the shooting occurred. It was an informative announcement on what had happened to the president, showing raw emotion and the devastating impact JFK's death had on people. This broadcast was unlike most, in that there was a hodgepodge of different sources being mentioned, nearly all of which were unconfirmed at the time.

The New York Times

This newspaper printed several images from the scene of the assassination, using primary footage to explain the incident. Readers were able to see what had happened in Dallas, and get a better understanding of what occurred that afternoon; they were also able to experience more emotions from seeing it, rather than just hearing/reading about it.

Biases in the Media

One bias I discovered whilst reading an article was the bias of labeling. Within 12 hours of the assassination of JFK, officials had already declared Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin, despite no trial to prove this fact; at that point in time, they only had circumstantial evidence, weak evidence at that, yet instead of calling him a suspect, they had labeled him as the murderer.

Biases cont.

Another bias I came across was selection of sources; reporters questioned police and other law enforcement officials, but didn't question Oswald's friends, family, or co-workers. Media did not cover him as a person with human emotions and connections to others, but as a cruel man who committed a horrible act. No doubt, what he did was unforgivable, but there was more to the story of this man than what was covered, but this wasn't revealed at the time because news outlets only interviewed certain people who would only offer up negative information on him.

Historical Criticism

Historical criticism, which is looking closely at the original text to understand the meaning, can be used to observe the JFK assassination; at this point in time, the overwhelming majority of US citizens were anti-communism and supported the US involvement in other countries when it helped prevent the spread of communism. When looking back, it can be seen that Oswald was pro-communism, thus proved by reading his Cuba posters he often passed out on street corners, and his support for the Soviet Union views, which didn’t translate well into American life.

Marxist Criticism

Marxist criticism is when literally works emphasize the role of class and ideology, and challenge current social order. The assassination of JFK and the resulting media coverage can be viewed through this criticism because Lee Harvey Oswald was believed to have been a communist. Oswald lived under Soviet Union rules and supported Fidel Castro in Cuba. Oswald disapproved of US foreign policy and JFK’s involvement in Cuba, and murdered him for the difference of political opinions.

Works Cited

"Lee Harvey Oswald." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 03 May 2015.

"LEE HARVEY OSWALD." Lee Harvey Oswald. Web. 3 May 2015.

"November 22, 1963: Death of the President." - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. Web. 3 May 2015.

"The Dallas Times Herald" - November 23, 1963, Final Edition." :: Poage Library. Web. 3 May 2015.

"The Detective Who Arrested Lee Harvey Oswald Had No Idea He Had Just Shot JFK." Mirror. 8 Nov. 2013. Web. 3 May 2015.

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