The point to be remembered in any assessment of her evolving skepticism is that Dorothy [Kilgallen] was open-minded, accessible, and fearless. In this regard, she was almost unique among heavyweight, establishment journalists in the United States. What she was publishing has been made tepid by time, but doubting the official version then verged on apostasy.
The mindset of her colleague and friend Bob Considine was far more typical.
By March 6, only four months after the assassination and a half-year before
the release of the Warren Report, he denigrated the European press for
"still clutching to the long discredited notion that there was a dark
conspiracy involving JFK's death." He had apparently learned at some point
that Jack Ruby had had the opportunity to shoot Oswald on the day before he
actually did the crime. Using that datum as a kind of sealing wax, he
closed himself hermetically to any and all evidence that challenged the
Of the handful of reporters who had the commitment, the clout, the
predisposition, and the intrepidity to go after what the government wanted
withheld, some were frightened. Thayer Waldo of the Fort Worth
Star-Telegram originally furnished to Mark Lane information that Officer
Tippitt, Jack Ruby, and Bernard Weissman (one of the signers of the
notorious black-bordered advertisement that ran in a Dallas newspaper on the
day of Kennedy's fateful visit, charging that the President had abrogated
the Monroe Doctrine and "sold out to Moscow") had met in Ruby's Carousel
Club eight days before the assassination. Waldo would not use the story
himself. Waldo also discovered that the Dallas chief of police had been
surprised by the course finally chosen for the President's motorcade and was
unable to fathom why the procession was instructed to take this more
vulnerable route. Nor did he use this story, though once again he made the
information available to Mark Lane. Thayer Waldo was not minimizing the
significance of his information. On the contrary, he told Lane that if he
published what he knew, "there would be real danger to him [Waldo]."
Dorothy eventually published what Waldo had uncovered but was afraid to run.
--Lee Israel, KILGALLEN, A BIOGRAPHY OF DOROTHY KILGALLEN (New York: Delacorte Press, 1979) pp. 372-373
"Open-minded, accessible, and fearless." What one of those adjectives describes any prominent journalist in the United States today? Perhaps they are just prudent. They have seen what happened to George Polk, Don Hollenbeck, and Dorothy Kilgallen, and more recently to the less-prominent Danny Casolaro.
August 25, 1999
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