Fox News has found a way to honor the upcoming 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination and still stay true to its core Republican-promoting, liberal-demonizing agenda: Spin Democrat JFK as a conservative and paint Lee Harvey Oswald as a “silly, squalid little communist.” As we all know, on Fox, “communist” is synonymous with “liberal.”
The spin started in an interview with JFK’s niece Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (Bobby Kennedy’s daughter) and JFK’s nephew, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, son of Ted Kennedy. Much of the interview was devoted to, as FoxNews.com called the segment, “Memories of ‘Uncle Jack.’”
But then, at about 7 minutes into the nearly 11-minute interview, Wallace began to try to co-opt Kennedy’s legacy for Fox News. As David, at Crooks and Liars’ Video Café pointed out, Wallace began by suggesting Democrat Kennedy was “quite conservative." From the Fox News transcript (edited for accuracy, punctuation and grammar):
WALLACE: Let’s talk about President Kennedy’s legacy half a century later. There is a growing body of thought that, in fact, that President Kennedy was quite conservative in some of his policies. He was a fierce Cold Warrior, he believed that tax cuts spurred the economy, Kathleen.
Both Kennedy family members politely pushed back. Kennedy Townsend noted that her uncle lowered the tax rate from 90 to 70 percent - far higher than the current 22 percent rate. She also said that JFK resisted generals who had wanted to go to war during the Bay of Pigs incident.
Patrick Kennedy pushed back more explicitly, especially with regard to Wallace’s subsequent suggestion that the “very troubled – I think some people would say ‘disastrous’ rollout of OBamaCare …raises doubts about big government solutions."
PATRICK KENNEDY: Well, I think President Kennedy was so universally beloved because his message was such idealism. It was setting the goals. Obviously, in our own lives and the life of our government we’re not always that efficient in achieving the goals we set for ourselves. But the goal is right. The goal is to treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated from the vantage point that you don’t want to be discriminated against because of preexisting condition in health care.
In the very next segment, the panel discussion, Wallace continued promoting Kennedy's supposed conservatism. Wallace's first question to the panel went to George Will. Will didn’t just affirm the “JFK was conservative” meme, he took it a step further to suggest that Kennedy was killed BECAUSE he was too conservative.
WALLACE: And we’re back now with the panel. George, your thoughts about John F. Kennedy’s legacy and this growing notion that he, in fact, espoused a lot of conservative values.
WILL: Well, he was a conventional liberal before liberalism changed in the late 1960s. He was a Cold Warrior in the tradition of Harry Truman, and domestically, he hired as his Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon, a Republican from Wall Street, he did indeed believe in supply side tax cuts, increased revenues from lower rates.
Chris, more people, substantially more people visit the fifth floor museum in the Texas Book Depository as it then was, than visit the Kennedy library. Which suggests to me that his hold on the nation’s imagination has more to do with the way he died than the way he lived. In fact, his record was rather thin.
And what his death did, was it gave rise to a narrative that America was somehow deeply flawed because of this. …Now, the narrative that immediately emerged, was a streak of violence, particularly on the right, killed Kennedy. We happen to know he was killed by a silly, squalid, little communist.
I’m surprised nobody found a way to blame President Obama or Hillary Clinton for it. But maybe that’s coming.
Video below via Video Café:
Yeah, Jon — JFK was a such a “conservative” that he was greeted by other conservatives with the, “Welcome Mr. Kennedy, To Dallas . . .” ad in the Dallas Morning News . . . and a handbill that circulated the city the day before had the title, “Wanted For Treason” with front and profile shots of Kennedy made to look like an old West wanted poster.
Talk about being a low information moron who’s ignorant of history . . .
No need to imagine that Fox really meant “liberal”; that’s just basic historical fact. Sheesh.
More proof that, not only are rightwingnuts ignorant of history, they’ll attempt to rewrite it for their purposes whenever possible . . .
Kennedy sided with the Republicans on some issues, but there’s no stretch of the imagination where he was a conservative. Even by the standards of his time. And no amount of rewriting history is gonna change that.
Will might also want to remember that Oswald was a Marine and that, as noted in my previous comment, there were plenty of conservative Americans who entertained the idea of a dead JFK (with more than a little glee). And it’s interesting that despite all the right-wing anti-Kennedy paraphernalia floating around in the days prior to Kennedy’s assassination, the official report focused almost exclusively on Oswald’s “Communist/Cuban” connection.
Anyone who’s interested can check out two of the ads at http://www.orwelltoday.com/jfkjbsdallasad.shtml
You have to click the images in order to read the contents, but what I found very striking is one of them (the one headlined “Welcome Mr Kennedy”) reads almost like something you’d expect to hear from FoxNoise today. Even more interesting is the name of the “group” which “sponsored” the ad—the name is “The American Fact Finding Committee” which states that it is “An unaffiliated and non-partisan group of citizens who wish truth.” Sounds like what you’d expect from modern groups like “Pacific Justice Institute” or the “Privacy for All Students” group (currently fighting the California law protecting trans students’ right to use the facilities matching their stated gender).
If the FoxNoise folks want to claim Kennedy was a conservative, then they’re going to have to explain why he was a TARGET of the ULTRA-conservative John Birch Society and why so many Southern Democrats actually voted AGAINST Kennedy as the Democratic Presidential candidate.
Seriously, these FoxNoise people (and the sheeple watching them) live in their own little world—one that bears zero resemblance to the one the rest of us inhabit.
“I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, the faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith. For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man’s ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves…
For the rest of the quotation,
Well that’s what’s happening here. The right like to stick us with Nixon saying that he was really a liberal. President Kennedy because of the way he died and being so young when most Americans grew up with our Presidents being old and grey will always remain young in our memories.
Watching all the clips again from that awful day that gets my attention is how thin everyone in the crowd looked. It seems the average American today has gained a lot of weight.