Harrison Livingstone in his book, Killing Kennedy, notes for example (p. 282):
"It is a biased lawyer's brief and not a balanced work of historical research- part of a well-orchestrated program by major elements of the media to 'close the case'."
This prescisely and accurately also summarizes Bugliosi's much bigger book. Professor D.R. Wrone, in
in The Journal Of Southern History, February 6, 1995, meanwhile observes:
Of course, rather than be a changeling, Bugliosi wastes time (and our patience) by seeking to make the exact same faux connections to the rifle as Posner did. One would think the two are sharing the same brain, or at least same regions of the frontal cortex.
Now, let's get back to more of Bugliosi's failings:
3) When batting on a losing wicket, unleash the Ad Hominem:
And believe me, Bugliosi's whole book amounts to batting on a losing wicket as we call it in cricket parlance. He's losing on that wicket from the first over, but hasn't the sense, perception or temperance to appreciate it. In order to compensate, he subconciously lets loose his inner "Kraken" on all and sundry, mainly anyone who would have the temerity to disagree with even one point of his half-baked lone nut dogma - more in keeping with a 13th century Papal Bull than a product of reason.
When I took my first college Logic course, one of the things we were instructed to look out for was “ad hominem” in parsing arguments. That is, attacking the sources as opposed to the arguments. Bugliosi commits this in spades, for example, writing :
(p. 1258) " ... simple common sense, that rarest of attributes among conspiracy theorists ... " ,
p. 1275: "But conspiracy theorists are not rational and sensible when it comes to the Kennedy assassination."
(p. 1277) " ... silliness is what all of the conspiracy allegations are about ... "
Sadly, Bugliosi’s penchant for ad hominem doesn’t end with the critical conspiracy community – authors but extends to key witnesses and others (e.g. Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden) trying to fight for the truth. For example, Bugliosi refers to the courageous African-American woman Aquilla Clemmons (who pointedly noted that a heavyset man shot Officer J.D. Tippitt, not Oswald) as a “kook”. He dismisses Abraham Bolden as a "liar", though it beggars the imagination to think Bolden would actually put himself in the way of a long prison sentence merely to tell tall tales.
But is Bugliosi rational? Anyone who commits the level of errors, conflations, ad hominem we behold in his work must question such an assumption.
4) Use of Max Holland as a source. Let me make this as pointed and brief as possible, any one - media outlet, person, alleged scholar - who'd use Holland as a source automatically has lost all credibility. Recall Holland is a long time Warren groupie and many in the contrarian research community also believe him to be one of the "propaganda assets" referred to in CIA doc. 1035-960. The guy is good at concocting idiotic theories of the lone nut and making them sound plausible, as he did in the November National Geographic farce, 'The Lost Bullet of the JFK Assassination'.
However, readers can see how I dispatched that crappola in two blogs written soon after the programs aired:
I clearly showed in the second blog how Holland made use of an incorrect-inaccurate anatomical diagram with impossible angles to try to show the magic bullet could work. (Malcolm Perry, Parkland surgeon, identified the actual wound placement in the back. Had Holland used that he wouldn't have wasted time and resources on some flashy toy laser gun demo!)
Meanwhile, despite Holland's less than impressive demonstrations, Bugliosi’s book is littered with encomiums such as:
p. 1346: "no one as put it any better than writer and assassination researcher Max Holland"
but we have already seen how
distorts the evidence in the case, based on his two part National Geographic “Lost Bullet of the JFK assassination” bunkum. Indeed, Holland is even unable to correctly identify the correct sniper window from the Texas School Book Depository! And this is the guy that Bugliosi believes walks on water? Holland
No where does Bugliosi note or mention the earlier (Nov. 2, 1963) plot to kill Kennedy or the arrest of the lone gunman would -be assassin, Thomas Arthur Vallee. No where does Bugliosi mention or record the fact that JFK had initiated rapprochement with Fidel Castro’s representative Rene Vallejo. (A move certain to have garnered the attention of the CIA given they were already waging an “inter-governmental” war with the Kennedy administration over Vietnam – see e.g. Arthur Krock, ‘The Inter-Administration War in Vietnam’, The New York Times, Oct. 3, 1963).
Indeed, nowhere in all his compendious material does Bugliosi even reference the conservative columnist Krock’s NY Times piece! This would have been useful and enlightening as it would have added more cause for concern for JFK’s safety (and motives for the CIA’s involvement in the assassination), as when Krock wrote “the CIA had flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge.”
This had to do with approval of a USAID package to S. Vietnam, but which the CIA obstructed - thereby setting the stage for the downfall of the Diem brothers, and their assassination on the same date (Nov. 2) originally earmarked for Kennedy's killing in Chicago.
Most notable were Krock’s now prophetic words:
“If the United States ever experiences an attempt at a coup to overthrow the government, it will come from the CIA”
Barely a month later JFK was killed in Dallas, then at the intersection of reactionary Right politics, Big Oil, and the military-intelligence community.
Neither does Bugliosi anywhere – even in his prodigious endnotes and footnotes record that the entire interrogation of Lee Oswald – arguably the most important crime suspect on the planet- was done without any stenographic notes kept by the Dallas Police and Capt. Will Fritz . All that exists are Fritz's own hand written notes, scribbled down in the aftermath.
Sadly, for all his vast effort, all Vince Bugliosi has proven is that his pro-Warren Commission, lone nutter speculations deserve to be remaindered just like his book. As for Tom Hanks, he will be lucky to get anyone watching his 13-part extravaganza, PR series if the rest of us have anything to do with it in spreading the word that it’s merely Goebbels-like historical distortion and lies.
Readers interested in other takes on Bugliosi’s debauchery of history can check out these links: