The Corner

1963 Revisionism

Repeat after me: JFK was killed by a Communist. Again: JFK was killed by a Communist. One more time: JFK was killed by a Communist.

Because the New York Times keeps telling us how the Dallas of 1963 was a right-wing “city of hate.” The latest installment comes today:

In the early 1960s, a small but vocal subset of the Dallas power structure turned the political climate toxic, inciting a right-wing hysteria that led to attacks on visiting public figures. … In sermons, rallies, newspapers and radio broadcasts, the city’s richest oil baron, a Republican congressman, a Baptist pastor and others, including the local John Birch Society, filled Dallas with an angry McCarthyesque paranoia.

Darn it, Lee Harvey Oswald’s Communism is such an inconvenience for these people. (Antidote: James Piereson’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal.)

Don’t worry, though, there’s still plenty of hate in Texas and, well, all over the place.

The extremism in Dallas in 1963 still thrives in Texas today, though less so in Dallas itself. Back then, commentators on the radio program sponsored by the oil baron H. L. Hunt said that under Kennedy, firearms would be outlawed so people would not “have the weapons with which to rise up against their oppressors.”

This past February, in West Texas, the sheriff in Midland County, Gary Painter, said at a John Birch Society luncheon that he would refuse to confiscate people’s guns from their homes if ordered by the Obama administration and referred to the president’s State of the Union address as propaganda.

Other Texas politicians in recent years have embraced or suggested support for increasingly radical views, including Texas secession, Mr. Obama’s impeachment and claims that the sovereignty of the United States will be handed over to the United Nations. And, of course, it is not just in Texas.

So if another murderous left-winger does something terrible in 2014, the New York Times will find a way to blame it on conservatives. It will always find a way.

JFK was killed by a Communist. JFK was killed by a Communist. JFK was killed by a Communist . . .

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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