The media is quite a creature in the modern United States. Media members reporting on media members has in itself become a spectacle, as our media stars have somehow become as much a part of the stories on which they report as the stories themselves. We have seen this play out more than once recently, what with the suspension of NBC’s Brian Williams after it came out that he was allegedly dishonest with regards to old stories in the Middle East. Williams’ suspension was for six months.
On the immediate heels of that ‘story’ came another ‘story’ regarding Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly has been under attack for more than one alleged exaggeration in recent days, and there is no telling how this situation will play out. What does any of this have to do with court reporters, you ask? Well, one of the specific situations that’s been dogging O’Reilly in recent days concerns his assertion that he heard the gun shot of a man who committed suicide as he was researching his book on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. That story involved a court reporter.
Let us explain:
The man that O’Reilly claimed to have heard commit suicide was George de Mohrenschildt. He was known at the time of Kennedy as a staunch Dallas conservative. However, it was ultimately revealed that prior to the Kennedy assassination, de Mohrenschildt sought approval from the CIA to contact Lee Harvey Oswald, who was arrested for killing Kennedy and who was killed himself a few days later. As was explained in this article, there would be no reason on the surface for a conservative such as de Mohrenschildt to want anything to do with a known communist such as Oswald. The theory that emerged was that both were intelligence assets of some sort.
The question of whether Oswald was an intelligence asset was actually addressed by the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of Kennedy. The commission called what was supposed to be a secret meeting to ask the FBI and the CIA whether or not Oswald was an intelligence asset. Both agencies denied this, and the matter was never pursued beyond that point by the commission.
If that hearing was supposed to be a secret, then how did anyone ever find out about it? Because a court reporter did not destroy her record of that hearing, that’s how. A transcript of the meeting was found and the American people eventually heard what was said during that gathering. This should once again reinforce just how important court reporters can be whenever someone wants to review the record of just about anything.
To be clear, we are not taking any position with regards to the matters relating to Brian Williams or to Bill O’Reilly. We just find it interesting that seemingly no matter where you look, court reporters are present on some level preserving an accurate record of what happened.