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The NY Times blunder on the Rather/Humes interview

Pat Speer

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I recently came across the 6-27-67 NY Times' article on Dan Rather's interview of JFK autopsist James Humes, first broadcast the night before.

It begins

"The chief surgeon at the autopsy of President Kennedy says that X-rays prove an assassin's bullet that hit the President 'in the base of the neck did not strike any bony structures.' He says this refutes challenges to the Warren Report suggesting a lower location for the wound."

and later dismisses the value of the face sheet as follows:

"Captain Humes said the diagram was a prepared outline 'routinely used to mark in general where certain marks or scars or wounds may be in conducting a post-mortem examination.' He said 'it was never meant to be accurate or precisely to scale.' If the wound had been as low as the diagram mark, Captain Humes said. 'this missile would have to have had penetrated the shoulder blade of the President, which it did not.' Instead, he said, 'the missile was above the shoulder blade, and struck no bony structures whatsoever.' 'The X-rays show that it did not,' he said."

Well, the problem is that the sections of the article highlighted above--supposed quotes from Humes about the x-rays--were NOT--unless I'm really being blind--in the program. I've watched the interview on youtube. I've checked the transcript of the interview published in JAMA in 1992 (ARRB Medical Exhibit 15


) and even checked Harold Weisberg's notes on the original program as found in the Weisberg Archive...and there's no record of Humes saying what the New York Times said he said.

SO...I'm thinking one of two things happened.

1. CBS showed their buddies at the New York Times an unedited version of the interview, and failed to realize that the Times was gonna focus on a section cut by CBS.

2. The Times was told by someone--perhaps someone at the Justice Department--what Humes was expected to say--and ran it without realizing he never actually said it.

I mean, what makes sense to you? I'm currently leaning towards 1, mainly because some of the quotes in the article are from the interview, word for word.

But if this is so, it means CBS has a longer, more substantive, version of the interview, whose transcript has never been released.

Any chance we'll get to see this?

Perhaps David Lifton can run this by his ole friend Robert Richter, who, if I'm not mistaken, worked on the program?

Edited by Pat Speer
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My guess is that the longer version will never be allowed to see daylight.

I don't know. If someone in contact with CBS could explain it to them, they might want to dig out the footage and run it on the anniversary.

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