Is This How Real Documentaries Are Made?
Oliver Stone is caught deceiving viewers of his film in deceptive and highly unethical editing of historical film footage
Oliver Stone's Version (Left) Vs. Real WFAA Film (Right)
This particular scene in Oliver Stone's JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass film was brought to my attention a few months ago. Randy Owen, an excellent Canadian researcher commented on this anomaly he spotted in the JFK Revisited film.
Randy is no lightweight to archival film footage. His excellent research produced a chronological film account of the President's Motorcade route from Love Field through Dealey Plaza. This took an immense amount of work and effort, taking archival film clips using known buildings, businesses and signs along the parade route to put it in proper order. That is what real researchers do, and Randy deserves a tremendous amount of credit for this important project. You can see his film here: https://www.facebook.com/randy.owen.52/videos/10157057374700318/?t=31
Upon viewing of Stone's JFK Revisited film, Randy made these comments:
Finally watched Oliver Stone's new documentary, "JFK Revisited." It's interesting. I do have a problem with an 11-second segment of it. About 3 minutes into the doc, there is an interview with eyewitness Bill Newman who was, with his family, probably the closest eyewitnesses. That clip is heavily edited, and the video of Newman has been reversed.
First, here is what Newman “said” in the documentary:
“The president’s car was some fifty feet when we heard the first shot and then as the car got directly in front of us, well, the gunshot from the top of the hill hit the president in the side of the temple.”
Now, here is what was actually said from Newman's WFAA-TV interview about 15 minutes after the shooting. The original interview (done by Jay Watson) contained the following exchange. The segments used in the Stone documentary are in capital letters. Here’s what was said:
Newman: THE PRESIDENT’S CAR WAS SOME FIFTY FEET still yet…
Watson: …in front of you?
Newman: …in front of us coming towards us WHEN WE HEARD THE FIRST SHOT and the President, I don’t know who was hit first, but the President jumped up in his seat. And I thought it scared him, I thought it was a firecracker ‘cause he looked, you know, fear. AND THEN AS THE CAR GOT DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF US, WELL, THE GUNSHOT apparently from behind us HIT THE PRESIDENT IN THE SIDE OF THE TEMPLE.
Watson: Do you think the first gunshot came from behind you, too?
Newman: I think it come from the same location apparently back up on the mall. I don’t know what you call it.
Watson: For the benefit of nomensclature [sic] all you folks have gone out under the viaduct and as you turn going under the viaduct on the left hand side there’s some grass. Uh, do you think the shot came from up on top of the viaduct toward the president, is that correct?
Newman: Yes, sir. No, not on the viaduct itself but up on TOP OF THE HILL, a little mound of ground there, the garden. [END QUOTE]
You can see how heavily edited it was. And like a lot of TV/film interviews, "cutaway" shots were used to "hide" the edits. In this case, the "cutaway" shots are scenes from a film taken by NBC cameraman Dave Wiegman.
The reason why Newman's scenes were reversed? IMO, so it wouldn't feed the theory there was a shot to JFK's left temple. Clearly, in the original WFAA video, Newman does point to his left temple. But that's only because he was using his right hand to hold steady one of his son's who was sitting on his lap. He simply was using his free hand, his left hand, to demonstrate what he was saying.
The edits in the Stone documentary do not change the intent of what Newman meant. I just think the heavily edited version may be quoted without people knowing it has been heavily edited.
As you can see, Randy had noticed two glaring editing occurrences, first the reverse image swap of the film and the highly edited portions of Bill Newman's verbal witness account to Jay Watson of WFAA TV. Reviewing the film, myself, I agree, Randy is 100% correct in his observations.
Why reverse the film image at all?
There was no reason to reverse the film image of Bill Newman's TV witness account of the assassination. None whatsoever. Tampering and creative editing historical footage cheapens the meaning of a documentary. Editing out Newman's comments are highly questionable as well.
I'm sure real filmmakers would cringe on this intentional editing under the guise of a "documentary".