LETTER: Problems with news media are not new

Recent discourse on the efficacy and honesty of the U.S. media has surfaced in letters to the editor in Peninsula Voices (“Mainstream Media,” May 16, and “Media Critic,” May 19-20).

But the problems with the U.S. media are not at all recent.

Consider the events surrounding the John F. Kennedy assassination and the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald in the Dallas police building.

Disregard for order and police rules allowed a stampede of press people when Oswald was being transferred, with the result that Ruby was able to get close enough to shoot Oswald.

The Warren Commission later wrote, “a part of the responsibility for the unfortunate circumstances following the President’s death must be borne by the news media.”

The press was so preconvinced that this was a right wing conspiracy, and that Oswald would be beaten by police, that their actions actually helped cause a miscarriage of justice.

In the end, the misapplied public right to know superseded Oswald’s right to safety and eventual trial.

It does not matter how you align on the assassination — a conspiracy theory vs. Oswald acting alone — you cannot argue otherwise: One of the most important outcomes in 20th century history was seriously altered by too much liberty for the media.

The result was there was no trial for Oswald.

A perfect example of the consequences of the loss of the rule of law.

Herbert A. Thompson,

Port Angeles

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