Fifty years after JFK’s death, MacNeil and Lehrer assess conspiracy theories

On Nov. 22, 1963, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer were two reporters covering a presidential visit. MacNeil was a White House correspondent for NBC News. Lehrer was working the federal beat as a reporter for the Dallas Times-Herald. Both men were assigned to cover President John Kennedy’s visit to Dallas. They ended up reporting on his death.

On Nov. 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy became the fourth American president assassinated while in office. And, for the first time in history, it had been captured on camera. One week after the shooting, Lyndon Johnson established the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination. The commission eventually concluded there was no conspiracy and Oswald acted alone.

In 1976 the United States House of Representatives created the Select Committee on Assassinations to further investigate Kennedy’s shooting. In its final report, the committee stated that the assassination was likely the result of a conspiracy.

Even today, theories exist that the mafia or the Russians or even Vice President Johnson were behind the killing of Kennedy. But after years of news coverage and formal investigations, MacNeil and Lehrer both agree that no evidence was ever produced to convince them of any conspiracy This video is an extended excerpt from MacNeil and Lehrer’s conversation with Judy Woodruff for our special report on the Kennedy assassination, 50 years later. Watch the special report on Thursday night’s broadcast of PBS NewsHour.

Watch more of MacNeil and Lehrer’s full interview on the Kennedy assassination:

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