From The JFK Assassination to 9/11: Network TV and Government-Sanctioned Lies

NBC suspended Brian Williams


Williams reporting from Iraq with Tom Brokaw in 2003.

NBC suspended Brian Williams for six months on February 10. The fashionable anchor admitted to lying about being involved in a life-threatening combat situation while reporting in Iraq over a decade ago. Yet a survey of Williams’ career indicates that this isn’t the first time he’s been dishonest with the American people.

In one important instance while broadcasting from Dallas Texas on November 22, 2013, Williams began the NBC Nightly News by remarking,“We’re in Dealey Plaza just across from the sixth-floor window in the Texas School Book Depository building where three shots were fired fifty years ago today that changed the course of American history.”

The statement flies in the face of honest reportage by upholding the powerful myth devised by the Warren Commission that former US Marine and intelligence operative Lee Harvey Oswald was the principal assassin in President Kennedy’s murder.

“In this city where there are still so many reminders of that day half a century ago,” Williams continues, “not just Dealey Plaza itself and the School Book Depository building, but also the Texas theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested that afternoon.”[1]

The American public can now point to overwhelming evidence presented by attorney Mark Lane, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, the US Congress, and a host of other researchers indicating that the “three shots fired from the Texas School Book Depository” was a CIA-contrived conspiracy theory. In fact, at least three sharpshooter teams killed Kennedy and wounded Texas Governor John Connally in Dealey Plaza in a triangulated crossfire.

A few minutes into the November 22, 2013 broadcast Williams segues to an outtake from a 1963 broadcast with NBC’s David Brinkley, where Brinkley states:

“The essential facts are these: President Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, Texas. He was shot by a sniper hiding in a building near his parade route. He was dead within an hour. Lyndon Johnson is President of the United States.”[2]

Williams returns after the Brinkley soundbite to further emphasize the historical fallacy of a lone assassin, as if five decades of research and thousands of declassified government documents have not put the unfounded notion to rest. “[F]rom November 22, 1963, just over six hours after the shots were fired from the building here behind us, meaning this place and this city and our country would never be the same.”[3]

Thus not only is Williams perpetuating a lie—one might safely conclude that he is also a conspiracy theorist. And, he is among the world’s most famous journalists working at a major US broadcast network that intends to bring him back after a six month hiatus for “a second chance.”[4]

Later in this November 22, 2013 broadcast Williams introduced fellow NBC anchor Tom Brokaw–the same colleague he imparted his supposed combat exploits to in 2003.[5] “On November 22nd in 1963,” Williams begins, “Tom Brokaw was a young reporter in Omaha. He read the news of the assassination on the air, in fact.”

I think there was another element in all of this that helped us fifty years later remind each other about why we remember,” Brokaw intoned. “He was the first generational President who came along when television was pervasive in America. So he was a familiar figure to everyone, wherever they lived, in the big cities, small towns, and remote areas. And so when he was taken away at that young age–this dynamic man– it was a shock to the system because they felt that they knew him not just as a President but as a friend.”[6]

Amazingly, after 50 years Brokaw had yet to exercise journalistic due diligence by publicly questioning the implausible government cover story suggesting that Oswald killed Kennedy. Nor does Brokaw take the opportunity to do so during this broadcast, thus perpetuating one of the US government’s greatest lies.

Thus two of America’s most prominent journalists flagrantly misled the American public on this notable 2013 broadcast, yet no controversy surrounds their truly astounding assertions. Perhaps we need to ask, How differently would Williams or Brokaw behave as official press agents for the US government?

Brian Williams’ deception points to a larger truth: A major career journalist’s incorrect or embellished personal recollections are the stuff of controversy. In contrast, when it comes to the country’s most momentous events–from the JFK assassination to 9/11, the “war on terror,” “weapons of mass destruction”–star journalists are compelled to spread and perpetuate massive lies. So long as those falsehoods are sanctioned and promoted by America’s national security state, these celebs are allowed to proceed without question. Indeed, such figures are lauded for their “journalistic” service. The public be damned.


[1] Brian Williams, “NBC Nightly News for November 22, 2013,” NBC News.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] David Bauder, “NBC’s Brian Williams Suspended for 6 Months,” Palm Beach Post/Associated Press, February 11, 2015, A6.

[5] “Watch: Brian Williams Original Helicopter Report From 2003,”, February 4, 2015.

[6] Williams, “NBC Nightly News for November 22, 2013.”

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About the author:

James F. Tracy was a tenured Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University from 2002 to 2016. He was fired by FAU ostensibly for violating the university's policies imposed on the free speech rights of faculty. Tracy has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the university, with trial set to begin November 27, 2017. Tracy received his PhD from University of Iowa. His work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. Additional information is available at,, and

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