January 7, 2013
John and Jacqueline Kennedy
John and Jacqueline Kennedy (Associated Press)

Last week brought the news that National Geographic’s cable channel had bought the rights to “Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot,” a book by Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly and partner-in-narrative Martin Dugard. The move makes some sense: O’Reilly and Dugard, after all, put together a quick-read runup to that fateful day in November 1963.

An amplification here: They put together a cheesy quick-read runup to that fateful day in November 1963.

The cheese flows from the authors’ dogged insistence on reminding us whenever possible just how much longer the president has to live, not that a single such reminder is necessary. So as the producers for National Geographic look over “Killing Kennedy,” they’d be well advised to minimize the O’Reilly-Dugard meme that pops up on….

Page 7: “The man with fewer than three years to live has his left hand on the Bible.”

Page 13: “But there will be no second inaugural. For John Fitzgerald Kennedy is on a collision course with evil.”

Page 32: “But even Dave Powers, with his remarkable powers of intuition, cannot possibly know what “anything” means—nor can he predict that even as he witnessed John Kennedy’s first-ever political speech, he will also witness his last.”

Page 41: Jackie Kennedy “thinks she has years to finish [a White House makeover]. At least four. Perhaps even eight. She thinks.”

Page 86: “The president has no way of knowing that he will celebrate this special day [his birthday] just one more time.”

Page 132: “The president and the attorney general laugh. ‘If you go’ to the theater, Bobby answers, ‘I want to go with you.’ Little do they know how macabre those words actually are.”

Page 141: “That is why the Secret Service never lets its guard down. Not yet, at least.”

Page 152: “And so two intense and ruthless politicians are set against each other. But neither one has an inkling about the calamity that is now just eight months away.”

Page 154: “The man with seven months to live is talking to Winston Churchill.”

Page 176: “The man with six months to live doesn’t contemplate it, but those closest to him may remember his last birthday party as his very best.”

Page 181: “Martin Luther King Jr. have five more years to live. John Fitzgerald Kennedy has precisely five months.”

Page 209: “[N]either man can possibly know that it will be Cronkite who will appear on national television in just twelve weeks to make an announcement that will shock the world.”

Page 216: “It has been exactly fifty-two days since she endured the tragedy of baby Patrick’s death. It is exactly fifty-two days until she will endure another unspeakable tragedy.”

Page 236: “The man with nine days to live admires Greta Garbo….”

Page 239: “But Camelot is not a dream. It is reality — and that reality is about to take a turn that will alter America forever.”

Page 245: “In the final hours of his life, President John F. Kennedy is flying in style aboard Air Force One.”

Disclosure: The Erik Wemple Blog may have missed several similar iterations in “Killing Kennedy.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.