The official White House portrait of President John. F. Kennedy.

The World Reports: The 50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s Assassination

Kennedy was the country's – the world's – first television president, from his debate to his inauguration to his death in 1963.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John K. Kennedy, who was gunned down while waving to crowds lining the streets of downtown Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.

Kennedy was the country’s – the world’s – first television president. He came to fame and found votes as a matinee idol candidate who won his debates with Republican candidate Richard Nixon – the first-ever presidential debates to be aired over that little box we now stream online – when American household TV ownership was first rising (from 55 to 90 per cent between 1955 and 1965).

“Kennedy took it seriously, Kennedy knew that was going to be important,” said Don Hewitt, CBS News producer for the 1960 debates. “Kennedy had been campaigning in an open convertible in southern California, looking tan and fit like a young Lochinvar. This guy was a matinee idol.

“Nixon looked so bad, that people who heard it in radio thought Nixon won and people who watched it on television thought Kennedy won.”

(You can watch LIVE coverage of JFK’s 50th anniversary memorial service from Dallas…)

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

As a man who won the country’s trust in the viewed medium – and who was inaugurated on televiision with his famous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – Kennedy’s death also marked a monumental day for broadcast news. There was, of course, the now famous moment where CBS anchor Walter Cronkite teared up announcing his death. There was his late son John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his casket in Washington, D.C. There have been countless reenactments, documentaries, and movies made of the day and the moment itself since then, from Oliver Stone’s JFK to Season 3 of Mad Men to the most recent, a made-for-TV movie based on Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Kennedy.

Kennedy’s death continues to be a source of discussion and nostalgia to this day, whether it’s conspiracy theories about his assassination and his killer Lee Harvey Oswald (who was gunned down before he himself could stand trial) or simply those who remember it describing the event as the 9/11 of their generation.

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NBC News reports on various conspiracy theories that still surround Kennedy’s death…

“Convinced by the Communists? Some theorize Soviets or Castro inspired Oswald to kill JFK,” by Elisha Fieldstadt (Nov. 19, 2013)

“An inside job: CIA a suspect for some in JFK’s killing,” by Evan Burgos (Nov. 20, 2013)

“JFK assassination: Many theories, but no ‘real evidence’ of a conspiracy,” by Erin McLam (Nov. 22, 2013)

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NBC anchor Tom Brokaw recounts where he was the day John F. Kennedy died…

“Fifty years ago the assassination of President Kennedy was so traumatic, so unexpected and such a shared shock that a half century is not enough time to temper the lingering effect.

“Ask anyone who was over, say, the age of three at the time and they remember.

“I was in an Omaha television newsroom, KMTV, when the news wires began signaling the news. I raced to get it on the air, stunned, confused and wondering, ‘What now?'”

(Read more…)

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BuzzFeed rounds up a list condolence letters the then-First Lady Jackie Kennedy received from famous people, including Duke Ellington, Martin Luther King Jr., Cary Grant, and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

Jackie’s response letter reads:

“Mrs. Kennedy is deeply appreciative of your sympathy and grateful of your thoughts.”

(Read more…)

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The Newseum – the national museum and archive dedicated to international and American journalism, located along the Smithsonian row in Washington, D.C. – released the following series of Tweets today:

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BuzzFeed’s ‘Rewind’ vertical also listed “16 Photos That Capture People’s Reaction To The News Of JFK’s Assassination”:

(See more…)

BuzzFeed also showcased “36 Stunning Color Photos Of The Kennedy White House,” including this one of Kennedy heading to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, which is where Kennedy is currently buried and his tomb marked with the Eternal Flame:

Kennedy at Arlington

(See more…)

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The Province talks with Colin Sweeney, an Abbotsford, B.C. man who is a noted “conspiracist” who’s been tracking down information on the assassination since Kennedy’s death in a one-man investigation that’s taken him to lunch with Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife, Marina.

(Read more…)

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CBC re-broadcast (or streamed) its “special news” coverage of Kennedy’s assassination in 1963:

“The word just came to us a minute ago,” the broadcast begins. “The word we have is that President Kennedy is dead. This we do not know, for a fact.”

(Read more…)

 

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