Early reactions by the Center
(The few who wrote, kept their counsel and didn't blame anybody)

Reactions of the Center
    There were few centrist responses to the assassination during the first years. This seems logical, because people who were concerned enough to write articles or books about it so early must have had strong opinions one way or the other, and most of these must have been responses to preexisting world views than deductions from the facts, which were not yet public.
    There were of course the immediate newspaper reports and articles. As representatives of these first few days, we present a series from the Providence Journal and the Providence Evening Bulletin. Some days later came the magazines. We include an early editorial from The New Yorker.
    One interesting centrist account of the days immediately after the assassination was written well after the fact. We include it here because it is so interesting and forms such a good introduction to the rightist and leftist responses as well. 'The Paranoid Style" is an account by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then in the Department of Labor, of his feelings over the first few days after the assassination. Although this article was written much later, in response to the appearance of Oliver Stone's JFK film, it restricts itself almost totally to those early days and presents Moynihan's insightful predictions about how the U.S. people would come to embrace conspiracism unless the U.S. government confronted that possibility head-on and investigated it directly and thoroughly (which the Warren Commission did not do). From this point of view, the Warren Commission was the source of some of its own lack of credibility. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was one of the few voices of reason immediately after the assassination. History bears out his early observations in a way that it does not for the left and right.
    But we begin this section on the Center with a poetic tribute to JFK from Wendell Berry. Although this poem appeared in The Nation, it is decidedly centrist in orientation.

A Poem
    "November 26, 1963" (Wendell Berry, The Nation, 21 December 1963)

Editorial from The New Yorker (7 December 1963)
"The Paranoid Style," (Daniel Patrick Moynihan in The Washington Post, reprinted in JFK: The Book of the Screenplay)

Back to Pre-WCR Reactions
Back to WC Period