Pruden, Aynesworth, Rather: Propagandists All
by DCDave

Here is how editor Wesley Pruden of The Washington Times begins his twice-weekly column, "Pruden on Politics," in the Friday, May 14, 1999, issue:



Hollywood trashes the ethics, morals and manners of the young. Everybody, even Bill Clinton and Jack Valenti, knows that.

It gets worse. Hollywood trashes history, too.

Oliver Stone, with his fanciful version of a conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy, is only the best known of the worst. A generation of young people, who have forgotten how to pry a book open and rely instead on the movies for an entertaining version of the past, saw Stone's invented "newsreel" footage and are certain now that the movie is exactly the way it happened. (Even Oliver Stone knows better.) 

And you can be certain that Pruden knows better than virtually everything he tells us in the massive money-losing newspaper, ostensibly owned by the Reverend Moon Sun Myung, that he edits. One thing he must know for sure is that virtually any serious book that a young person might pick up on the Kennedy assassination will tell him that Oliver Stone's version of what happened that day in Dallas is a lot closer to the truth than anything he would be likely to read in the Moony Times, or any other "mainstream" newspaper or magazine, for that matter.

It's a close race, but The Washington Times and CBS News might well be the two very worst on the subject of the Kennedy assassination. That is connected in no small part to the fact that the lead people they have on the subject are Hugh Aynesworth and Dan Rather respectively. Here are some excerpts from the most recent book on the Kennedy assassination that this writer pried open: 

But of all the journalists to have been touched by the assassination, perhaps none would be more beholden professionally to this single event than Dan Rather and Hugh Aynesworth. By Rather's account he was near Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination; it was he who called in the first report of the president's death to his network anchor, Walter Cronkite. Rather was also the only television reporter to view the Zapruder film of the assassination. His report that the president's head jerked violently forward at the moment of the fatal shot (ergo the shot came from behind) was the only news account the American public had for twelve years, until a bootleg copy of the film was finally shown on national television in 1975...

If Dan Rather was distinguished by his silence in this matter, Hugh Aynesworth's role was marked by his ubiquitous presence on virtually every front of the assassination story. Aynesworth was, for example, one of the Dallas Morning News employees who provided an alibi for Jack Ruby, supporting Ruby's claim that he was at the offices of the Dallas newspaper when the president was shot. (Though why the reporter was at the newspaper building instead of out on the motorcade route, as were most reporters on November 22, 1963, is something Aynesworth has never explained, as his old news pal Lonnie Hudkins points out.) Remarkably, Aynesworth was also at the book depository within minutes of the assassination, at the Texas Theater when Oswald was captured, and in the police basement when Ruby shot Oswald.

Aynesworth still takes understandable pride in his whirlwind coverage of events during those assassination days. In a 1992 letter to the editor in Texas Monthly shortly after the release of JFK ( a letter in which he takes clinical note of "Oliver Stone's egomania, paranoia, and absolute distrust of anybody who didn't watch the sixties through a marijuana haze"), the writer informs us that:

"I covered the Kennedy assassination for the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Times Herald--almost every major happening until 1966. I covered every day of the Garrison extravaganza for Newsweek from 1967 to 1969 and various new theories and allegations for the Washington Times, where I am currently the Southwest bureau chief."

What Aynesworth omitted from his impressive Texas Monthly resume was that his reporting was even more extensive, for he not only "covered" the Garrison investigation for Newsweek* but provided undercover information of the details of the investigation to intelligence agents in the Dallas Police Department. His information contributed to the sabotaging of Garrison's efforts.

There follows three and a half pages of the details of how Aynesworth prevented the testimony of the key witness, Sergio Arcacha Smith, an acquaintance of David Ferrie, Guy Bannister, and the accused conspirator in the Garrison prosecution, Clay Shaw. Arcacha had had an office at the same 544 Camp Street address in New Orleans as anti-communist activist Bannister, the same address that was on Lee Harvey Oswald's pro-Castro handbills, and he had engaged in some of the right-wing Cubans' derring-do along with Bannister. The Cuban-exile Arcacha was living in Dallas at the time of the trial, and after Ferrie's sudden mysterious death, Garrison considered him his most important witness.

A highlight of the account of Aynesworth's obstruction is on page 344:

The next day, Sunday, February 26, reporter Aynesworth made his entrance. Placing a call to the already skittish Arcacha, he explained that

"his magazine [Newsweek] and Columbia Broadcasting System had information on the inside of Jim Garrison's office in New Orleans and that the news media was building a story to blast Garrison for the handling of this so called conspiracy and other mal practices [sic] that have occurred in Garrison's office...

" The extraordinary [Dallas police intelligence unit Detective D.K.] Rodgers report of March 3, 1967 provides a memorable portrait of Hugh Aynesworth. In the guise of a journalist, Aynesworth covered the Garrison investigation for one of the premier print-news organizations in America. His uniformly vitriolic accounts appeared over a period of years, and there is little question they helped shape the national view of Garrison as a corrupt, out-of-control public official. Behind the scenes, however, Aynesworth was interfering with the D.A.'s investigation--tampering with a witness and doing so in the very offices of a law enforcement intelligence unit. Armed with information supplied by the reporter, and with the protection of the police intelligence unit (and apparently, of an assistant D.A. of Dallas County), Sergio Arcacha Smith was ultimately able to successfully fight extradition to Louisiana.

*A Newsweek article by Aynesworth ("The JFK ‘Conspiracy'" May 15, 1967) informs us, by way of introduction, that "a veteran reporter" (Aynesworth) was sent to find out what lay behind New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison's "increasingly notorious investigation." Aynesworth's lead:

"Jim Garrison is right. There has been a conspiracy in New Orleans-- but it is a plot of Garrison's own making. It is a scheme to concoct a fantastic ‘solution' to the death of John F. Kennedy, and to make it stick; in this cause, the district attorney and his staff have been indirect parties to the death of one man [David Ferrie] and have humiliated, harassed and financially gutted several others."

Ray and Mary La Fontaine, Oswald Talked, The New Evidence in the JFK Assassination, (Gretna, La., Pelican Publishing Company, 1996) pp. 340, 341-342, 344, 345, 436.

No, the propagandist Pruden is bluffing. He doesn't really want our young people cracking open many books on the Kennedy assassination. A truly educated public is what Pruden and the controlling criminal elite of which he is a part fear the most.

David Martin
May 15, 1999

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