I had the pleasure of interviewing Newt Minow on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Minow was the FCC commissioner under JFK and is famously known for his description of television as a “vast wasteland.” (A term which prompted the producer of Gilligan’s Island to name Gilligan’s boat The S.S. Minnow in “retaliation.”)
Minow knew the Kennedy family well before JFK became president, roomed with RFK on the campaign trail, and was present during key moments in JFK’s public life. For example, he was with JFK when he called Coretta Scott King to express sympathy over the jailing of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (Minow also tells the story of his suggesting to JFK that he run for vice president in 1960 — a suggestion JFK snorted at!)
And he tells the tale of the remarkable conversation during a limousine ride with JFK, LBJ and astronaut Alan Shepard. When JFK was killed, Minow’s 8-year-old daughter, Martha (now dean of Harvard Law School), wrote a poignant poem which Minow read on the air last night. Minow also weighs in on the Warren Commission and on JFK’s womanizing.
This is one of my favorite interviews ever. If you missed it, click on it above.