Reactions to the Warren Report

    Students of the JFK assassination usually collect a few of the books published within the first few years after the Warren Report was issued in Fall 1964. But there is a whole literature of articles from that time as well that has been largely neglected. These articles began within a month or so after the report was issued and continued for years. They are written by a wider variety of commentators than the books are, and show in more detail that the books do how the attitudes toward the assassination and report evolved. Most importantly, however, these articles represent the best and the brightest minds on all sides of the question, many of whom had their initial say and then moved on to other things. This is particularly true for supporters of the Commission and its report, who because of the supportive tenor of the times felt that they did not have to write whole books. The critics, however, whose cause was not taken up by the general public for years, wrote the books. I am truly impressed by the high level of many of these early articles, particularly from the supporters. The quality of writers like Herbert L. Packer, Lord Devlin, John Kaplan, and Dwight Macdonald was not equaled by the later book-writers. Their unique contributions must not be allowed to remain unnoticed.
    I have divided these reactions somewhat arbitrarily into "early" and "later" periods, with early being something like 1964–1966 or 1967. The later period, which will be developed further, runs until the early 1970s, when calls for a new investigation began in earnest. Naturally, the calls overlapped criticism of the Warren Commission.
    I have also divided these early reactions into "Support from the center," "Critics on the left," and "Critics on the right." (So far, however, I have found no articles from critics on the right.) From the list below, you will see that the early period contains roughly twice as many supportive articles as critical articles, especially when Dwight Macdonald and I. F. Stone's articles are counted as supportive. After this, the proportions reversed, however, and have remained strongly weighted to the critics right up to the present. Again, the quality of the critical articles falls well below that of the supportive articles, which raises the interesting question of why the supportive side never really caught on in America.
    The supportive articles can be divided into those from the general center, those from the legal community, and those from the left. Those from the nonlegal center are strong, those from the legal community stronger still. I have included David Belin's article under the general center even though he was a lawyer (on the Warren Commission) because I wanted to restrict the "legal community" to independent voices.
    The articles are simply listed below. I will ultimately be offering separate introductory comments on each article. These should be consulted before reading the article.

Early reactions (19641966)
    Support from the center
        "20 Questions for the Warren Report" (Curtis Crawford, WBAI-FM, 29 September 1964)
        "Warren Report: Case for the Prosecution" (Murray Kempton, The New Republic, 10 October 1964)
        "The Triumph of Caliban" (Karl E. Meyer, The New Leader, 12 October 1964)
        "The Other Witnesses" (George and Patricia Nash, The New Leader, 12 October 1964)
        'The Warren Commission Was Right" (David W. Belin, Special Issue of Skeptic, Sept/Oct 1975)
      Reactions from the legal community
        Comments on the three papers from the legal community
        The three jurists and the physical evidence (6 August 2000)
        "A Measure of the Achievement" (Herbert L. Packer, The Nation, 2 November 1964)
        "A Lawyer's Notes on the Warren Commission Report" (Alfredda Scobey [staff member of WC], American Bar Association Journal, January 1965)
        "Death of a President: The Established Facts" (Lord Devlin, Atlantic Monthly, March 1965)
"The Assassins" (John Kaplan, American Scholar, Spring 1967) (Outline and comments)
        "The Warren Commission and the Legal Process" (Richard M. Mosk, Case and Comment, May–June 1967, pages 13–20)
    Split in the Left
        Overview of the split
       Commentary on the split
        Jim DiEugenio on the Left and The Nation
        Schotz on The Nation
        Various items from The Nation
        Todd Gitlin on the Left
        Sharrett reviews Art Simon
        Art Simon
    Criticism from the left
        "The Warren Commission's Case Against Oswald" (Leo Sauvage, The New Leader, 22 November 1965)
        "Oswald's Case Against the Warren Commission" (Leo Sauvage, The New Leader, 20 December 1965)
        "The Case Against Mr. X" (Leo Sauvage, The New Leader, 3 January 1966)
        "The Warren Commission Report: I. Some Unanswered Questions" (Fred J. Cook, The Nation, 13 June 1966)
        "The Warren Commission Report: II. Testimony of the Eyewitnesses" (Fred J. Cook, The Nation, 20 June 1966)
        "The Truth Is Too Terrible" (Fred J. Cook, in Maverick: Fifty Years of Investigative Reporting, 1984, pages 273282, 285291)
        "The Second Oswald: The Case for a Conspiracy Theory" (Richard H. Popkin, The New York Review of Books, 28 July 1966)
            Reply by Josiah Thompson (The New York Review of Books, 6 October 1966)
            Reply by Curtis Crawford (The New York Review of Books, 6 October 1966)
                Reply to Crawford by Popkin (The New York Review of Books, 6 October 1966)
         "The Warren Commission, The Truth, and Arlen Specter" (Gaeton Fonzi, Greater Philadelphia Magazine, 1 August 1966)
        "Notes for a New Investigation" (Sylvia Meagher, Esquire, December 1966)
        "Who's Afraid of the Warren Report?" (Edward Jay Epstein, Esquire, December 1966)
     Support from the left
        "The Left and the Warren Commission Report" (I. F. Stone, I. F. Stone's Weekly, 5 October 1964)
            "Comments on I. F. Stone" (Ray Marcus, Addendum B, July 1995)
        "A Critique of The Warren Report" (Dwight Macdonald, Esquire, March 1965)
            The story behind the story
            A biographical sketch of Dwight Macdonald (as book review of A Rebel In Defense Of Freedom)
        "What the Warren Report Omits: The Vital Documents" (Jacob Cohen, The Nation, 11 July 1966)
            "Those Missing Exhibits" (The Nation, 14 November 1966)
        "The Warren Commission and Its Critics" (Jacob Cohen, Frontier, November 1966)
        Editorials in The Nation
            "Focus on Chapter V" (12 October 1964)
            "The Warren Commission" (2 November 1964)
            "Hoover the Vulgarian" (30 November 1964)
    Criticism from the right
        Coup d'État (Medford Evans, AMERICAN OPINION, September 1967)

    Support from the right

Later reactions (19671970)
    Epstein's Inquest
Lane's Rush to Judgment
Meagher (various)
    Vincent Salandria (various articles)

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