During coverage of the wreath-laying at the gravesite of Pres. John F. Kennedy today, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell reunited two well-known tvnewsers who sat side-by-side for 20 years delivering an hour-long evening newscast on PBS.
Both Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer were in Dallas on the day the president was shot.
MacNeil was reporting for NBC News. He explained to Mitchell the moments leading up to the shooting as he was on a bus following the motorcade. “I’ve got an NBC Radio News on the hour piece to do soon and then there was a bang. We all said, ‘what was that? was that a shot?’ Then there were two bangs closer together. I said, ‘those are shots, stop the bus.” MacNeil says he got out and “ran up the grassy knoll, as it came to be known,” where a police officer told him the president had been taken to Parkland Hospital. There, he found phone, “and was on NBC for the rest of the afternoon.”
Lehrer, a reporter for “The Dallas Times Herald,” went to the Dallas Police Department where Lee Harvey Oswald had been taken. “The place was chaos. Part of the chaos were people like me, reporters hanging out. And here comes two cops with Oswald taking him from one office to the other. I said, ‘did you kill the president?’ He said, ‘I didn’t kill anybody.'”
“I had sense enough to write that down, but I didn’t have sense enough to keep the notebook,” Lehrer added.
MacNeil and Lehrer also taped an interview with their Nov. 22, 1963 recollections for their old show, “Newshour.” That will air tomorrow night.