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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Harold Weisberg and Tom Wicker

New York Times journalist Tom Wicker wrote a long review of Oliver Stone's JFK on December 15, 1991:

Some key quotes from Wicker's article:

In fact, of all the numerous conspiracy theorists and zealous investigators who for nearly 30 years have been peering at and probing the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Mr. Garrison may be the most thoroughly discredited -- and not just by the NBC documentary. His ballyhooed investigation ended ignominiously when his chosen villain, Clay Shaw, was acquitted; and the whole Garrison affair is now regarded, even by other conspiracy believers, as having been a travesty of legal process.

But there's a gaping hole in the movie's advance counterattack: If a conspiracy as vast and consequential as the one claimed could have been carried out and covered up for three decades, why did the conspirators or their heirs allow Mr. Stone to make this movie? Why not murder him, as they supposedly murdered others? Why, for that matter, didn't they knock off Mr. Garrison himself when -- as Mr. Stone tells it with so much assurance -- the New Orleans District Attorney began so fearlessly to follow their trail?

And Wicker's conclusion:

My dissent from Mr. Stone's film is not that he believes that Oswald was a patsy or there was a conspiracy or even that he depicts the conspiracy as fascist, a corruption of Constitutional government so far-reaching as to threaten the end of the democratic system in America. He has a right to believe those things, even to believe against the evidence that Mr. Garrison's shabby investigation was a noble and selfless search for truth.

But I have other Americans have an equal right not to believe such things, a right to our own beliefs. Mr. Stone insists on one true faith about Nov. 22, 1963 -- as though only he and Mr. Garrison could discern the truth, among the many theories of what happened that terrible day. Moreover, he implies that anyone who doesn't share his one truth faith is either an active part of a cover-up or passively acquiescent in it.

Finally, he uses the powerful instrument of a motion picture, and relies on stars of the entertainment world, to propagate the one true faith -- even though that faith, if widely accepted, would be contemptuous of the very Constitutional government Mr. Stone's film purports to uphold.

Here is Oliver Stone's reply, along with a comment from Tom Wicker, which ran on December 22, 1991:

Harold Weisberg then wrote Tom Wicker:

And here is Weisberg's reply:

Previous Relevant Blog Posts

Highlights from an interview with Barry Ernest.

Two letter from Weisberg to Stone.

They had plans to write about Jim Garrison and Oliver Stone.


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