Thursday, February 13, 2014

McBride's Folly: How the conspirati avoid the truth about the murder of Officer J.D.Tippit


I don’t like to get into the habit of commenting on a rebuttal to something I wrote, but in the case of Joseph McBride’s Dale Myers and his ‘so-called evidence’” posted on Jim DiEugenio’s website (ironically and absurdly called, Citizens For Truth About the Kennedy Assassination), I’m going to make an exception.

McBride is responding to my November 2013 article on this blogsite, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: New and Updated Books about the JFK Assassination,” in which I hammered the ridiculous and unsupported claims about the Tippit shooting made in his recent book, Into The Nightmare.

Here are some excerpts from his rebuttal to what I wrote and my two cents worth:
…Myers's 1998 book, revised for the publication of a second edition in October 2013, gives away its agenda in its title, With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J. D. Tippit. Like the Warren Commission, Myers begins by assuming Oswald's guilt and then works backward to deploy a misleading array of what the accused man called "so-called evidence," rather than investigating the case empirically to reach conclusions that are not preordained…
Sarcasm alert: But, of course - I wrote the title and then worked backwards. Have you ever read anything so insane? What kind of jackass thinks like this? Apparently it never occurs to some people that after researching a case, you form an opinion about what you’ve learned, and write a thesis that attempts to convey that opinion using the facts you’ve uncovered. And somewhere along the way, you get an idea for a title that spells out that thesis. Get it? The work leads to the thesis. Apparently, in the world of conspiracy buffs, starting with a preordained thesis is commonplace, and so too, apparently, is the notion of projecting ones own foibles onto others.
 …I sometimes found Myers's work a useful foil and a source of documents and other data, much as researchers mine the commission's twenty-six volumes for nuggets that contradict the report itself…
McBride also used generous, wholesale sections of my book as a basis for fact in his own book which I criticized and he never addressed in his rebuttal. But then, how could he?
 …[Myers’ book] tends to load opposing evidence into his lengthy end notes, there to be summarily dismissed and/or belittled rather than seriously examined…
This amounts to bitching about the way the information in With Malice is presented. Let me say at the onset, I make no apologies. Look, it’s all there – all of it – warts and all. There are clearly many things that don’t require debate because the evidence is clear – for instance, on the time of the shooting – however, where arguments have been made in the past, I presented the countering evidence and arguments and showed why they was wrong – in spades. Buffs like to call this “hiding the truth.” Obviously, if I wanted to hide the truth, I wouldn’t put it in the book, stupid. It’s rather annoying that I even have to say it.
…Myers's more widely seen work as a computer animator creating speciously constructed models that purport to show the bullet paths in Dealey Plaza displays his willingness to promote the commission's single-bullet theory in pseudo-scientific mainstream documentaries…
Laughable. McBride can’t resist attacking my computer work – calling it deceptive and pseudo-scientific – which shows his general ignorance about the technique and his willingness to dismiss my work as nothing more than that of some government lackey falling in line behind the official party line – a typical retort from propagandists who revel in the belief that only they can see that the emperor has no clothes – a belief based solely on their own distorted view of the world.
…The other website Myers runs is, a conduit not only to promote his book but also to serve the similarly hagiographic agenda of the Tippit family….
Ah, yes, of course. According to McBride, even the Tippit family has an agenda – a gushing predisposition to honor their dear, departed brother. For shame! Apparently, it’s not enough to call yours truly a media whore, but the family themselves must be admonished for participating in honors rightly and justifiably due their loved one on an Internet website. Does it get any sicker or more twisted than this? I’m afraid it does.
…Myers's book survey includes shamelessly giving a rave review to a book he helped write without credit…
Obviously, McBride knows I was credited, which he says a few sentences later.
…Myers's involvement is acknowledged by Bugliosi as a "noteworthy" writing contribution…
Apparently, McBride chides me for not mentioning in my praise of Bugliosi’s work that I “contributed heavily’ [McBride’s words based partly on Bugliosi’s own praise that “no one helped me as much as Dale Myers,” but mostly on secondary sources who fantasize that I ghost-wrote the vast majority of Bugliosi’s book] to the book. So, what? It’s still the best book never read on the case.
… to the issue of the shooting time, Myers implicitly dismisses the basic exculpatory question of how Oswald could have walked from his rooming house to the scene of the shooting, a distance of nine-tenths of a mile, in the five minutes between his last sighting at the rooming house and the time Tippit was shot [at 1:09 p.m.]…
Stop! Please, must we go over this yet again? Tippit was shot at about 1:14:30 p.m. as I demonstrated with real, actual, believable evidence in With Malice. There is no question that the shooting couldn’t have happened as early as 1:09 p.m. as claimed by McBride – who repeatedly makes the charge with little more than wishful thinking to support it. Here, McBride simply repeats his unsupported (and frankly, impossible) claim as if that will suffice as an effective rebuttal to all of the evidence I presented in With Malice to the contrary.
…Myers conveniently, and falsely, tries to discredit Edgar Lee Tippit by claiming that he was suffering from "a dash of dementia" when I interviewed him and therefore cannot be trusted. …Myers wrote, "Little is known about Tippit's parents, Edgar Lee and Lizzie Mae Tippit." That situation could have been corrected if Myers, who claims he has been researching the Tippit case since 1978, had ever interviewed Mr. Tippit, but the second edition also shows no sign that happened. Perhaps Myers was reluctant to find out what Edgar Lee had to say. As a source for the allegation that Mr. Tippit was demented, Myers cites Joyce Tippit DeBord, a sister of J. D. whom he reports having interviewed on July 11, 2013. That was ten days after Myers ordered a copy of my book. So he apparently felt the belated need to quickly dig up a family source willing to help him discredit Mr. Tippit and his revealing interview…
I suppose that the idea that Tippit’s sister would work with yours truly to discredit her own father makes perfect sense in the world of jackasses, but where I come from that notion lifts absurdity to new levels. For those interested in reality – Mr. Tippit’s account is an obvious skewed version of what we know to be true, so obvious in fact, that even a child of five can see it. I can only assume that Mr. Tippit’s extreme age at the time of McBride’s claimed interview, the fact that nearly thirty-years had passed since the events he was recalling, and the fact that he was suffering the onset of dementia (according to his daughter), might have been contributing factors. Apparently, McBride was less curious and more eager to embrace any claim that supported his belief that Tippit was involved in the so-called “big conspiracy” that not only did he lap up Mr. Tippit’s belated recollection without any critical thinking but he studiously avoided contacting the only source who could corroborate the story – the one person, who by McBride’s own account, was the primary source of the claim – i.e., Marie Tippit. How’s that for due diligence?
…After my book appeared, I found what I consider the clinching information that Mentzel was the other officer besides Tippit who was hunting down Oswald, and I found it in a surprising place, i.e., the second edition of Myers's book….
Happy to help – again. Am I the only one who finds it strange that McBride’s idea of research is to read someone else’s book (even if it is mine) – which amounts to a secondary source? Why didn’t McBride contact Officer Mentzel about the allegation while he was alive? Or contact his widow? Better still, why didn’t McBride bother to reach out to the primary source of Mr. Tippit’s claim, Marie Tippit? And what does McBride conclude from the new information he read about in my book? According to McBride, it’s more “proof” that Mentzel was working with Tippit to gun down Oswald. Reality check: The information demonstrates to the sane that Mentzel was neither a co-conspirator nor a would-be murderer – labels that McBride is happy to slap on the dead without anything that would remotely resemble proof.
…Myers correctly notes that I wrote Mrs. Tippit on March 5, 2013, to request an interview, and that she did not respond. Somehow he twists that to blame me for not talking with her for my book, which I was continuing to write until shortly before its publication that June…
I “twisted” nothing. I merely made note of the obvious – that between 1992 and 2013 – a period of twenty-one years – McBride failed to contact the primary source of one of the most outrageous and patently absurd allegations ever made against Officer Tippit – an allegation that is the heart and soul of his own book. What? Too busy writing to do what any high school newspaper reporter would have done? There’s no way to sugarcoat or dodge that failing. The result is nothing short of propaganda. I have a suggestion for Mr. McBride that might clear all this up: Why doesn’t he telephone or visit Mrs. Tippit and ask her the questions that bother him so about her and her deceased husband? Be sure and send her a copy of Into the Nightmare in advance so she can be up to speed on your areas of interest.
… in constructing his ad hominem attacks, Myers is following the tediously overused playbooks of the late historian Richard Hofstadter and the Central Intelligence Agency about how to attempt to discredit those dreaded "conspiracy theorists." …
You’ve got to admire someone who has the chones to use an ad hominen attack to rebut a claim of being attacked in the same manner. What a jokester. For conspiracy propagandists, labels (implied or otherwise) like “CIA-stooges” and “Warren Commission apologists” are routinely used to slap down the opposition rather than, as McBride points out, “…actually grappling with the arguments advanced by those with whom they disagree.” Amen.

For McBride, my thirty-eight year effort to bring truth – whatever that is - to the Tippit case, bothers him. He sees my work (and the Tippit family’s support of my work) as blindly supporting the official version of events. That, of course, is false. In terms of culpability, yes, my work points the finger at Lee Harvey Oswald. However, as McBride – and anyone else who has combed through my book – must know, there is much that does not support the so-called “official investigation.” That was my point in writing it – to lay all the facts about the case bare – warts and all.

I get it that there are some, like McBride, who think the evidence shows something else and that Oswald was innocent of the Tippit shooting. But, I defy anyone who harbors such beliefs to argue their position with facts, rather than supposition and innuendo.

Frankly, they can’t do it, because the facts don’t support their beliefs. They must rely on distortions of truth and fantasy to build their case and McBride’s Into the Nightmare is a prime example of what so many conspiracists are willing to do to sell what I see as a lie.

I’ve got to say, though, it seems rather kookie to me for the conspirati to use my book as a primary source of factual information, then turn around and dismiss me personally as one bent on hiding the truth about the big conspiracy.

But, C'est la vie.


Unknown said...

McBride's assertions are the lowest of the low, IMO.. And they way he sets it up with the first part of the book being a testament to his own personal struggle with the truth, blah, blah, blah.. The worst book I have ever read on the subject, without question..

Jon Boles said...

I work at a large used bookstore, and McBride's book, traded in not long after release in a seemingly untouched, unread, and apparently unwanted condition, is currently gathering dust with Lifton, Groden, DiEugenio, and a load of other crackpots in the Kennedy section we have. As it should be.

In the interim, for the anniversary, the original edition of 'With Malice' that we had sold, as did all of our copies of 'Reclaiming History' and 'Four Days In November.' Again, as it it should be.

And that was without me having to encourage people to read them, something any good lone-nut shill/propagandist/apologist/CIA hack like myself should and must feel an obligation to fulfill at every turn.

Gerry said...

I'm all for well-reasoned debate, particularly for the JFK Assassination, but it's disappointing when the pro-conspiracy side go for name-calling and character attacks. No way to have a discussion, never mind a proper debate on the facts at hand. I tend to lean towards the notion that Oswald was likely the lone gunman, or a conspiracy at most amounted to him at the forefront and planning of it, along with other unaffiliated individuals.

For the record Dale, got your book recently, and easily one of the best I've read on the assassination. Superb work.

Paul C. said...

I'm a scientist-engineer, and in my work I deal with professional "activists" like this, people whose social identity and, in some cases, livelyhoods are centered on their wacky causes and theories. Reason and analytical thinking are not how they operate - they are an exhausting lot.