Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy, is one of the best-known killers in American history. Yet two major television networks recently broadcast segments about the Kennedy assassination without mentioning his name at all. What gives?
On June 5, 1968, Sirhan, a Palestinian Arab with Jordanian citizenship, shot the senator four times at point-blank range in a Los Angeles hotel. There has never been any dispute regarding Sirhan’s motive. In multiple interviews afterwards, he said he did it because Kennedy was pro-Israel.
The recent 50th anniversary of the assassination sparked much discussion about it in the news media. Around the same time, CNN broadcast a major four-part series called “1968: The Year That Changed America.” A large portion of it was devoted to that year’s presidential race, including Kennedy’s campaign for the Democratic nomination. There was a segment of several minutes about the assassination.
Incredibly, the CNN narrator never mentioned Sirhan Sirhan’s name or the reason that Kennedy was murdered. The segment portrayed the killing as if it was just part of the general turmoil in America that year, which included Vietnam War protests, racial tensions, and the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. King’s murderer, James Earl Ray, was mentioned by name.
On July 4, the popular MSNBC program “Morning Joe” featured a special five-minute segment narrated by veteran anchor Tom Brokaw about the Kennedy assassination (hooked to the 50th anniversary). Once again, amazingly, there was no mention of Sirhan or the reason that he murdered RFK.