Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How the Media Covered the Kennedy Assassination with the Author of a New Book "Three Shots Were Fired"

Mitchell Hadley at It's All About TV! recently interviewed Marc Ryan, the son of NBC newsman Bill Ryan and the author of a new book, "Three Shots Were Fired," that discusses television coverage of the assassination of JFK and its aftermath.  Although the clips of the TV coverage are everywhere, Ryan's book offers a behind the scenes look - his father was a CBS correspondent covering the story live.

Some highlights:

Marc Ryan: For the baby boomers, it is OUR first historical tragedy/news event. It’s not from history books; you felt a connection via TV.  A large part of that is due to JFK’s appeal. He was so good on TV, he engaged young people (with the Peace Corps and more) in a way Truman or Eisenhower did, even if they couldn’t vote. (I should copyright this phrase:) JFK and Jackie were the first President and First Lady who didn’t look like Grandma and Grandpa.

MH: Did the networks overdo it with their coverage?  Former President Eisenhower, for example, thought that continuing with regular programming – minus commercials – and providing regular hourly updates might have been sufficient.

MR: There’s an unspoken reality when a big story breaks, it’s “all hands on deck” and you stay with it.  There was no other way for TV to do the story. To have an hour network special and cut away for Twilight Zone or Burke’s Law would have been awful. Keep in mind, on that Friday night for instance, each network had symphony orchestras play to honor JFK and, to give newscasters a rest and ready more coverage. When any of them went to music, people changed the channel. They wanted information.

Read the rest of this timely interview concerning the media coverage surrounding the death of President Kennedy.