This Friday, the 39th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, NPR’s All Things Considered airs a tape of discussions between the White House and officials in an airplane on their way to Japan:
- Using coded language, they go back and forth about what has — or has not — transpired that day.
Interspersed through the show is commentary by Cronkite about what was going through his mind as he reported the shooting on live TV — along with tapes of his actual words on CBS News that day.
All this thanks to a government tape that producer John McDonough found at the National Archives in College Park, Md., several years ago. Though he can’t be sure, he believes the tapes have never aired before. ”I’m listening to it, and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, ‘This is really interesting,’ ” McDonough says.
While most of the country was glued to their television sets, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and five other members of Kennedy’s Cabinet were headed to Tokyo for a meeting. They were aboard an Air Force jet (which is now on display at a military base in Ohio). What they were relying on were initial press reports, as were officials at the White House. [USA Today]