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MATT LABASH’S REPORTING on the Coalition on Political Assassinations’ second annual conference (“Oswald’s Ghost,” The District Line, 10/27) opened on a most astute note, referring to Washington, D.C., the conference location, as being in the “very shadow of the most diabolical schemer the world has ever known—the U.S. government.” For a moment, I thought you had a real winner of a journalist working for you.
But from there Labash degenerates into a series of personal attacks against the conferees. Rather than address the very substantive questions remaining to be answered in the JFK-RFK-MLK assassinations, as well as the conference’s treatment of those questions, he devotes most of his article to banal insult directed at the more than 200 conferees whom he lumps together as not being “the kind of people you’d want to wife-swap with.” What in the world does wife-swapping have to do with the Kennedy and King murders?
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From these and other remarks, we might deduce that Labash is more attuned to the fashion world than the political world. Fixating on the conferees’ attire, he observes that they “cut surprisingly dashing figures in their ceremonial floodpanted-and-tube-socked ensembles, wearing corduroy jackets like trophies, or tattered tweeds and bad plugs and thick glasses and nervous tics…” ad nauseam. Funny, I was there, and I most definitely don’t fit into that category.
For persons capable of detecting intelligent life, there was much new information available at the conference. For the first time, former members of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the last official investigation conducted on the JFK murder, met publicly to discuss the failings of that investigation. In addition, information released by Assassination Records Review Board regarding Oswald’s relationship with the CIA (which now is well documented) was presented and discussed by various researchers. New medical and ballistic findings, the latest photographic evidence, and other relevant information was made public by the speakers.
Yet ignorant as he was and apparently remains, Labash resorted to insult and bombastic attempts at humor to meet his City Paper deadline. Such reporting on events so critical to our understanding of our nation’s present political quagmire is beneath even City Paper.
Keep up the good work, Labash, and you’ll soon find yourself promoted to the phone-sex advertisement desk, or else managing editor. Either way, happy wanking.