JDB on JFK 50

On November 22, 2013, I was deeply moved to participate in the BBC’s coverage of the events commemorating the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. I made a series of appearances on both BBC World News and on the BBC News Channel throughout the day, starting at 12:30 and ending at 20:30 as the station reflected on events from 1963 and the ensuing impact on US politics.

I was gratified to be able to work with the likes of Stephen Sackur, Nick Bryant and Tim Wilcox, as well as with the former White House correspondent for Time Magazine, Jef McAllister. Having watched Martin Sixmith’s report on the BBC news reflecting on the 25th anniversary in 1988 it was a poignant moment to be working with the BBC to mark this solemn occasion.

Whilst the BBC’s coverage of events was admirable, the ceremony designed to do so in Dallas was a travesty that appeared more to mourn the impact that the events had on the city than on the loss of the young president and the implications that this had for the nation and the world.

It was, in many ways, all too appropriate, for it reminded us of the manner in which Kennedy’s style, grace and charm was extinguished and replaced with Texan BBQ and crass antics 50 years ago.

Those chosen to speak clearly had no knowledge or interest in Kennedy; what he stood for, or what he sought to achieve. This was, along with move of the television coverage in general this week, an attempt to whitewash history and to deny certain truths. No mention was made, for example, of the Texan schoolchildren who cheered upon hearing the news of the shooting, having been raised in a climate of loathing toward the president in a city known then as The Hate Capital of Dixie. The clergy, tasked with reflecting on JFK, chose to use words initially spoken by George Bernard Shaw, adopted by RFK during his ill-fated campaign in 1968 and used so memorably in Ted Kennedy’s speech at Robert Kennedy’s funeral. Great words, but singularly unconnected with JFK. Asking David McCullough to speak was also strange. A gifted author and orator, but again, where was the Kennedy connection?

The crass nature of the remarks, the glib attempt at a memorial service made a mockery of the events being observed. Hardly any surprise that no one intimately associated with the family was represented.

The death of President Kennedy was a dark day in the history of the United States and one whose impact is all too often forgotten. The ceremony in Dallas did little to improve the city’s standing and served only, perhaps, to remind us further of what was lost 50 years ago.

JDB on David Cameron’s Trip To Washington (Part One)

So far it’s been a busy day: The BBC called at 8.15, on air at 11.15 and then again at 13.30. LBC Radio interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer at 13.00 and heading off again soon to Sky News for an interview at 16.30.

I hope to be able to lad up the Sky News interview this evening, but for now, here is my work from this lunchtime with Jane Hill.

Update!

I thought it was all over for the night, but I was wrong! I will be on the BBC News Channel this evening just after 20.00 London time to discuss the Santorum Sweep.

I will also be on the Voice of Russia on Friday and chairing a session at the American embassy on Friday afternoon featuring Congressmen Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Mike Oxley (R-OH).

JDB on the BBC News Channel Today

Following my recent work with Sky News, Talk Radio Europe and LBC 97.3 FM, I will be returning to the airwaves this afternoon on the BBC News Channel.

I will be appearing on the BBC News Channels’  Four o’clock News Hour to address the debt crisis and the implications for the wider world.

Watch live on the Internet at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10318089

Dr. James D. Boys on BBC News
Dr. James D. Boys on BBC News