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Remembering Jerry Policoff By Debra Conway


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Remembering Jerry Policoff
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Mary Ferrell - JFK Lancer Pioneer Award Honoree
2013
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2013 Pioneer Award
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My friends and colleagues:
 
Upon hearing that Jerry Policoff had passed away was a shock to me even though I had not talked to him in a while. He was one of my stalwarts as I was coming up in this community. When Tom Jones and I created JFK Lancer, Jerry Policoff became a mentor and a good friend. Our conversations would go on until one of would notice the time... JFK Lancer is better for his advice and council.
 
Jerry was recognized with the Mary Ferrell Pioneer Award in 2013, at the 50th Anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination conference. I'd like to share his introduction:
 
JERRY POLICOFF
 
Early JFK researcher, area of expertise is the role of the media, and the new Executive director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center.
 
The 1960s represented a dark decade for many millions of Americans who saw their hopes and aspirations for the future dashed amid the blaze of guns that struck down President John F. Kennedy, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. In all three cases the official verdict was swift: lone assassin; no conspiracy. In all three cases serious doubts remain -- doubts that have encountered little more than official silence and denial. 
 
The political assassinations of the '60s seem to have given rise to a most peculiar policy at "The New York Times", a policy that maintains that the "official" line is the only line. In the process "The Times" has subjected its readers to distortion, misrepresentation, and outright deception."
 
One researcher wrote in his column for the "Daily Kos" blog, '18) Google "Jerry Policoff NY Times." Read everything Jerry Policoff ever wrote about the CIA media cover up of the JFK assassination."
 
I is my great pleasure to announce that you have been selected as the 2013 JFK Lancer Mary Ferrell Pioneer award honoree. First let me personally congratulate you on behalf of Mary Ferrell, my mentor and friend, as she was yours. Mary had an eye for really smart people, people who were brave, and also foolhardy. She felt you had all it took to be a true leader in all the generations of critics and researchers. So many years have passed and you are still the leader she saw you as. Your leadership of AARC is greatly anticipated.
 
Your work in keeping the facts of the Kennedy assassination in the forefront of the media is crucial. Your writing makes for a solid record where you "hold feet to the fire", demanding our newspapers of record keep us honestly informed, not just entertained, or indoctrinated.
 
In appreciation for your lifetime of searching for the truth in the study of the assassination of President Kennedy, your knowledge and fortitude. Congratulations on your award."
 
...
 
As you can read below, Jerry was a wonderful resource and excellent knowledge of the government materials. I've gone through his emails to me but the very best thing I found to describe him was his bio for when he spoke at the Lancer conference in 2001.
 
Debra Conway
Mar 2020
 
...
 
Jerry Policoff, 2001 Bio: I've been a student of the JFK assassination since 1966. I was a senior in High School when JFK was assassinated. I was not at all political or skeptical at the time, so it took a while for me to become a doubter of the Warren Commission. I was, however, caught up in the promise of "Camelot" and in the charisma of JFK which is doubtless what prompted me to start reading when the spate of critical books started emerging in the Summer of '66.
 
I did not expect to be persuaded that anything was amiss, but I was in for a surprise. By late '66 I had purchased the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission, found myself clipping everything in sight.
 
I had joined a small New York group called the "Kennedy Assassination Inquiry Committee" (KAIC) run by an actor named Trent Geough and his girl friend Carol (I haven't a clue what became of either of them). I met Sylvia Meagher, Harold Weisberg, Mark Lane, Leo Sauvage, Tink Thompson, Gary Schoener, et al and gradually became a passionate crusader for finding out who really killed JFK. 
 
Perhaps because I was by then a college trainee at Ted Bates Advertising Agency in New York I became especially intrigued by the role of the media. In 1971 I wrote a lengthy treatise on the role of the New York Times in aiding the cover-up. In the process of researching the piece I either interviewed or corresponded with numerous Times dignitaries, almost all of whom contradicted each other. My piece received glowing rejection letters from numerous publications, but was eventually published by Paul Krassner in "The Realist."
 
Over the years my work has been published in "New Times", "The Washington Star", "The New York Times Op-Ed Page" (now there's an irony), "Rolling Stone", "Gallery" Magazine, and "The Village Voice". I've also been included in three book anthologies. I covered the HSCA for "New Times" Magazine, and in that role appeared on several news programs including the McNeil-Lehrer Report (along with George Lardner representing the "Washington Post" and Nicholas Horrock representing "The New York Times", virtually accusing the latter on the air of being a conduit for Government dis-information.
 
 
-- -- --
 
 
In Memoriam: Jerry Policoff (1947-2020)
 
From Paul Hoch
 
Our longtime colleague Jerry Policoff died suddenly on March 7.
    
Most of what follows is from an appreciation by a co-worker at OpEd News:
 
 
Jerry was an active member of the JFK assassination research community since 1966 when he was a 19-year-old college student. He was the first to break the story - in the New Times - that acoustics analysis performed for the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) determined that shots had been fired from the front, establishing at least two gunmen and a conspiracy.
 
Jerry made his living in broadcast advertising sales and sales management for more than 40 years while concurrently researching and writing about the JFK assassination. He has been published in three book anthologies as well as The New York Times, The Washington Star, New Times (for whom he covered the House Select Committee on Assassinations, breaking several exclusive news stories), The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Gallery Magazine, The Realist and others, in addition to OpEdNews.com.
 
Jerry appeared in a documentary on the subject and on several television news programs, including the MacNeil Lehrer Report as a journalist for New Times.
 
Jerry was Research Director and Board member of Healthcare4ALLPA, which is promoting the adoption of single-payer healthcare in Pennsylvania and nationally.
    ...
 
Rob Kall said, "Jerry was a good friend. We travelled to conferences together and were in contact every day working on the new polling page. He was very smart and tough and didn't tolerate fools or nonsense, but he was also kind and had a big heart....”
 
As Executive Director of the Assassination and Archives Research Center, Jerry was one of the hosts of the conference, "The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures," a conference at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel in 2014, which marked the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Report.
 
Here is a segment of the conference video:
Note: the camera pans to Jerry Policoff in the audience from 1:50-1:59; Alan Dale introduces Jerry at 8:45, Jerry speaks [starting at 9:40] and introduces Andrew Kreig until 14:44.
     ...
 
Andrew Kreig, a Washington, DC-based reporter, frequent OEN contributor, Policoff colleague in the JFK assassination community and cofounding director, with Policoff, in 2015 of Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), had this to say:
"A broadcasting ad salesman by profession through much of his early career, Jerry bravely and expertly became a pioneering critic of media treatments of the JFK assassination."
 
As illustrated by a PBS MacNeil/Lehrer Report episode on Feb. 24, 1977, hosts Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer introduced Jerry as a JFK assassination expert who had by then already spent 11 years challenging the findings of the 1964 Warren Report - and its treatment by the news media, which he described as having "an attitude" of unwarranted deference to official findings. That episode may be seen here (https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_507-ng4gm82g8j). [Jerry is introduced at 13:25. He was much younger then. (PLH)]
    
It drew on one of his major works, published on Aug. 8, 1975 by the investigative magazine New Times under the title 'The Media and the Murder of Kennedy,' a comprehensive survey of the serious shortfalls by top-rated news outlets."
 
Kreig, a cofounding director with Policoff in 2015 of Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), continued: "Always generous with his knowledge and volunteer efforts, and seldom shy with his opinions, Jerry was a passionate advocate of bold thinking within the JFK research community and such progressive initiatives later as 9/11 Truth research and single payer medical care for the public."
 
Cyril Wecht: “Jerry's candor and persistence in the search for justice in this case, including his participation in the 40th and 50th anniversary conferences held at the Wecht Institute in Pittsburgh, will forever be remembered and honored by the assassination research community.”
 
Harold Weisberg put Jerry and me in touch in 1972. We corresponded quite a bit, and spent some time on the phone (back when phone calls were not free).
 
His 1975 "New Times" article “The Media and the Murder of John Kennedy” was included in the 1976 Scott-Hoch-Stetler anthology. It can be read at http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg%20Subject%20Index%20Files/P%20Disk/Policoff%20Jerry/Item%20016.pdf
 
That folder in the Weisberg archives contains 110 items, going back at least to 1971: http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg%20Subject%20Index%20Files/P%20Disk/Policoff%20Jerry/
 
The 1979 “special Gallery report” (which, ironically, led to the invalidation of the HSCA acoustical analysis) was “produced under the general editorship of Jerry Policoff,” who also wrote several of the articles: http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg%20Subject%20Index%20Files/G%20Disk/Gallery/Item%2002.pdf (p. 2/32)
 
In later decades, our views on the case diverged.
 
His posts to this Group confirm the assessment of his OpEd News colleague that he did not have much tolerance for alleged fools or alleged nonsense.
 
Alan Dale concluded his 2014 introduction with “and he’s a good guy” - indisputable, in my experience.
 
Some remembrances have been posted here:
 
I have not seen any reference to the possibility that Jerry might have had a fatal medical event which triggered the fatal two-car collision described here.
 
Paul
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Click here for a copy of Jerry's article, reprinted by "The Realist"
Issue No. 94 - October 1972
 
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Debra Conway
JFK Lancer Productions & Publications
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  • 2 weeks later...

I knew Jerry back in the 70s then reconnected about 20 years ago when a mutual friend let me know he was living in Lancaster PA, where my daughter lives. Lots of great dinners with Jerry, Steve Jones and Mili Cranor.  

RIP Jerry, your voice is missed. 

Dawn

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