JFK Assassination

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Dr. Barbie Zelizer, a professor of communications at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of About to Die: How News Images Move the Public and Covering the Body: The Kennedy Assassination, the Media, and the Shaping of Collective Memory.

Quote: In the Oct. 25 edition of The Los Angeles Times, Zelizer said, “Our fixation with JFK is driven by a desire to achieve closure on an event that defies comprehension. We're not good at stories without ends. Americans like our history neat and tidy, and the Kennedy assassination absolutely messes that up."

 

            Media contact: Joe Diorio at jdiorio@asc.upenn.edu

 

Dr. Alvin S. Felzenberg, a professor of communications at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn't): Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game.

Quote: "The 50th anniversary of the tragic end of the Kennedy presidency stands out in the nation's collective memory for several reasons. For those who were alive on November 22, 1963, Kennedy's assassination had same collective impact on the nation that the attacks of 9/11 did on subsequent generations.

            “Three questions about event haunt us still: 1) How could such as thing happen to the most protected man on earth? 2) Why did it happen?; 3) How would today's world have been different had Kennedy been allowed to complete four or even eight years in office? Because we may never know these answers, the questions continue to prompt discussion and debate as the decades pass.

            “Secondly, Kennedy's assassination marked the ‘coming of age’ of television as the nation's major news source. In the course of four days from the president's death until his funeral, television acted as the both a national unifier and as its cathedral. By one estimate, 91 percent of all homes remained fixated to their (then) black and white screens.”  

 

            Media contact: Joe Diorio at jdiorio@asc.upenn.edu