JFK Assassination: A Turning Point In Television History

JFK assassination: a turning point in media history

The 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination is creating a media frenzy, with TV stations presenting documentaries, new theories, and a new movie about the tragic day premiering on Sunday.

Undoubtedly, the assassination of our 35th President in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 is a pivotal moment not only in American history, but that of the world.

President Kennedy represented many things to many people, but what the nation lost on that day is hope. Hope of a brighter, more peaceful future which the young, vibrant leader was promising.

Another reason this commemoration is such a big event is the cloud of suspicion surrounding it.

The conspiracy theories began almost immediately and intensified after Jack Ruby, the Dallas night club owner, shot and killed the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, a moment which was also recorded for posterity by television cameras, preventing authorities from further investigation as to his motive.

All the major networks are planning specials to mark the anniversary of JFK’s assassination in one way or another.

CBS, which is trying to shake off the 60 Minutes debacle (the false report about the Benghazi attack aired last Sunday) will lead the way.

CBS made history on November 22, 1963 when a teary and choked up Walter Cronkite announced for the first time the death of JFK. A moment that millions will not forget and made Cronkite a household name.

The network will air footage as it was broadcast throughout the day 50 years ago, much like we have seen with the events of September 11, 2001.

JFK motorcade on November 22, 1963.

Other networks have similar specials planned and have already started broadcasting documentaries in anticipation of November 22.

Countless books, trying to prove or disprove the many conspiracy theories have been written, the latest one being Killing Kennedy by Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly.

The movie adaptation starring Rob Lowe as JFK and Ginnifer Goodwin as Jackie Kennedy airs this Sunday, November 10. The book takes a closer look at Oswald and his wife and the events preceding the assassination.

Some believe the movie spends more time focused on Oswald than it does on JFK.

As far as the importance of the day from the media perspective, this is one of the first nationally televised major events in US history.

Everyone remembers where they were the day Kennedy was shot, it is one of those moments ingrained in the consciousness of millions, not only in America, but the world. Not many that were alive that day, don’t remember it vividly.

The nation in mourning and shock followed, for four days, the events that took place after the death of the President, ending with the State Funeral.

For many, the drum rolls and playing of the requiem, as the casket was moved from the Capitol Rotunda and taken to Arlington National Cemetery was something they will never forget.

The media changed forever, during the broadcast of the tragic events. NBC stayed up all night, broadcasting the steady stream of mourners coming to pay their final respects to the fallen President, a first in television.

For the first time, the media realized the power it had.

JFK funeral procession.

It is undeniable that the JFK assassination is one of the most tragic events in history and this month we will be taking a look back at how everything changed on that fateful day 50-years ago, including television as we knew it.