Imagine this: A so-called presidential historian for a major television network publishes an interview in the most famous newspaper in the world with the most famous singer/songwriter in the world, who has recently written an explosive song accusing the U.S. government of a conspiracy in the assassination of the most famous modern American president, and the interviewer never asks the singer about the specific allegations in his song except to ask him if he was surprised that the song reached number one on the Billboard hit list and other musical and cultural references that have nothing to do with the assassination.
Imagine no more.
For that is exactly what Douglas Brinkley, CNN’s presidential historian, has just done with his June 12, 2020 interview with Bob Dylan in The New York Times.
The interview makes emphatically clear that Brinkley is not in the least interested in what Dylan has to say about the assassination of the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, whose murder most foul marks in the most profound way possible the devolution of the U.S. into the cesspool it has become. Brinkley has another agenda.
He introduces the interview by sketching in his relationship with Dylan and tells us that he therefore felt “comfortable” reaching out to him in April after Dylan had released his song about the JFK assassination,“Murder Most Foul.”
He conveniently links to a New York Times piece by John Pareles wherein Pareles writes about the surprise song release:
The assassination of John F. Kennedy is its core and central trauma — “the soul of a nation been torn away/and it’s beginnin’ to go into a slow decay” — while Dylan tries to find answers, or at least clues, in music.”
That is simply false – for Dylan emphatically does not try to find answers or clues to JFK’s murder, but boldly states his answer. If you listen to his piercing voice and follow the lyrics closely, you might be startled to be told, not from someone who can be dismissed as some sort of disgruntled “conspiracy nut,” but by the most famous musician in the world, that there was a government conspiracy to kill JFK, that Oswald didn’t do it, and that the killers then went for the president’s brothers.
But neither Pareles or the presidential historian interviewer Brinkley has any interest in Dylan’s answer. As I wrote five days after the song’s release, it was already clear that the corporate mainstream media were in the process of diverting readers from the core of Dylan’s message:
While the song’s release has garnered massive publicity from the mainstream media, it hasn’t taken long for that media to bury the truth of his words about the assassination under a spectacle of verbiage meant to damn with faint praise. As the media in a celebrity culture of the spectacle tend to do, the emphasis on the song’s pop cultural references is their focus, with platitudes about the assassination and “conspiracy theories,” as well as various shameful and gratuitous digs at Dylan for being weird, obsessed, or old. As the song says, “they killed him once and they killed him twice,” so now they can kill him a third time, and then a fourth ad infinitum. And now the messenger of the very bad news must be dispatched along with the dead president.
Read more: Interview Most Foul