Invoice O’Reilly: The Kennedy Conspiracy Years

As we await the following stage of Invoice O’Reilly’s profession—RT host? FCC commissioner? down-on-his-luck high-school basketball coach?—let’s set the Wayback Machine for 1979 and take a look at one of many fallen Fox star’s earlier incarnations. Earlier than he was the Joe Pyne of cable information, earlier than he was the tantrum-prone anchor of a syndicated tabloid present, O’Reilly was a twentysomething baby-boomer with a moptop of ’70s hair and a yen to do investigative journalism. In 1979, when JFK assassinology was arguably at its peak, he tackled the demise of John F. Kennedy in a report for a TV station in Connecticut. Within the clip under, O’Reilly focuses on one of many odder byways of the JFK theories: the so-called “umbrella man” who raised a parasol shortly earlier than the president was shot.

After the station re-aired that in 2013, their anchor posted an merchandise selling it on-line. “Search for our Carter-era disco impressed emblem, the scale of the tape cassette recorder Invoice carried with him, his powder blue bell backside pants, and the copious chest hair he confirmed off to the viewers,” he suggested, including: “Hey, it was the ’70s.” As for the precise concept explored within the report, he described it as “fascinating but considerably weird.”

There may be, for the document, a non-conspiratorial rationalization for the umbrella man; Errol Morris covers that here. O’Reilly returned to the JFK assassination during his tenure on Inside Edition, you can watch that happen here. More recently, O’Reilly wrote—or at least put his name on—a book called Killing Kennedy; I haven’t read it, but a text search at Amazon reveals that the word “umbrella” doesn’t appear in it.

(For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here. And I suppose I should take this opportunity to promote my book on the history of American conspiracy theories, right? Check that out here.)

Jesse Walker

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