The assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the shocking events that followed were first relayed to a stunned world by a handful of reporters. Through rarely heard vintage audiotapes, archival film footage, and the voices of journalists who were on the scene, this documentary chronicles four days – from the president’s assassination through the transfer of presidential power, the murder of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, and the resulting funerals.
The story of the assassination of President
John F. Kennedy and the shocking events that followed
were first relayed to a stunned world by a handful
of reporters. The earliest news report crackled across
wire service teletype machines just four minutes after
the shooting. By the time the drama was over 80 hours
later, reporters had become the eyes and ears for a
grieving nation struggling to comprehend its terrible
President Kennedy Has Been Shot, based
on the book of the same name, is the first television
chronicle the story of the assassination through
the eyes of the reporters who covered it.
Created by award-winning
filmmaker Gerardine Wurzburg, and produced in association
with State of the Art Inc.,
President Kennedy Has Been Shot uses rarely heard
vintage audiotapes and television footage, to powerfully
the news that shook the world that weekend. Intimate
interviews with the key journalists of those days – Walter
Cronkite, Dan Rather, Robert MacNeil, Ike Pappas, Bob
Schieffer, Helen Thomas and Tom Wicker – takes
viewers through the whirlwind of four days in November
with a pace that matches the raw emotions of that time.
Interspersed among news reports and current interviews
with the journalists are tense communications from
Washington, D.C., the streets of Dallas and from
the newsrooms of New York.
From the doomed presidential
motorcade in Dallas on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, to
the mournful funeral procession
in Washington, D.C., three days later, reporters
were eyewitnesses of this poignant moment in American
Through the reporters’ recollections, President
Kennedy Has Been Shot provides surprising revelations
and vivid views of a story that changed history.
JFK's assassination still fascinates
40 years later As anniversary nears, media readies
USA Today- Monday, 11/10/2003
By Peter Johnson
The media love anniversaries,
especially ones that end in zero. But the upcoming
40th anniversary of
the assassination of John F. Kennedy will be
Coverage of this anniversary, observers
say, is particularly intense for reasons that eclipse
with Kennedy's death and an endless national
obsession with the Kennedy family.
First, many of the
witnesses to the event may not be alive for the next
big JFK anniversary,
parallels between Nov. 22, 1963, and Sept.
11, 2001 -- both were world-changing events -- make
of the assassination of interest to all generations.
November 15-21, 2003
HITS AND MISSES
By Susan Stewart
“President Kennedy Has Been
Shot” (Sun., CNN)
Operating on the axiom that journalism
is history’s rough draft, this evocative
special recounts the JFK assassination through
the eyes of the reporters who were there. Dan
Rather, Tom Wicker, and other journalists relive
that day in Dallas, aided by clips of themselves
reporting the event. Everybody choked up at some
point, and many still do, even now. Emotional
but not sentimental, Kennedy will intrigue not
only those who remember 1963, but also those
who think of it only as history.
MY SCORE (0-10):
The Eternal Flame of Cable: After
40 years, J.F.K.'s death still overshadows his
November 17, 2003
By James Poniewozik
...CNN's President Kennedy Has Been
Shot (Nov. 16, 8 p.m. E.T.) tells how print and
covered the shooting in the quaint days before
cable news and mobile satellite crews. A TV cameraman
inside the book depository had to throw his tape
out the window so it could be rushed to the studio,
and Walter Cronkite recalls that CBS had no camera
ready in its newsroom for his reading of the
bulletin. This is an intriguing piece for news
junkies, but it's curious that CNN should air
it, since the dignity of men like Cronkite (and
they are all men here) is a rebuke to today's
24-hour news culture. Announcing J.F.K.'s death,
Cronkite chokes back tears, but he does not — as
many anchors did on 9/11 and less momentous occasions — ostentatiously
remind his viewers that he shares their pain.
Yet when you watch Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey
Oswald live on the air, leaving reporters spinning
to fill time with little information, you see
why this is such a special anniversary for TV.
It was a week when a President died — and
the logorrheic age of instant news began.