Lee Harvey Oswald's Funeral Was So Empty That Reporters Had To Be His Pallbearers
November 22-25 of 1963 was the busiest half-week of Lee Harvey Oswald's life. After assassinating John F. Kennedy on the 22nd, Oswald himself was then assassinated on the 24th, and with the authorities figuring that there was no point in keeping him around any longer than required, he was buried on the 25th.
On the day of the funeral, two ministers whom the government tapped to lead the service backed out at the last second, fearing that they might join Kennedy as members of the Texas sniper club's target practice. The funeral itself was so sparsely attended that there weren't even enough attendees to serve as pallbearers. That is, until officials noticed that there were an awful lot of reporters sitting around doing nothing.
Despite the level of secrecy around the burial, over a dozen journalists had gotten word about the ceremony and turned out, hoping that there was a story to be found. After much complaining, eight of them stepped up to help flush Oswald down the metaphysical pan. (One only managed to take the coffin a few steps before letting go in disgust.)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, UTA LibrariesC'mon CIA/FBI/Secret Service/KGB/Freemasons/Illuminati/Lizard People, after all the conspiring he did for you, the least you can do was attend his funeral.
To be fair, they didn't have much choice. The options on the table for everyone were A) leave the service and allow Oswald's corpse to become an all-you-can-eat buffet for stray cats, B) step up and become the story themselves, or C) spend the rest of that rainy afternoon hoping and praying for something newsworthy to happen. And the odds of Jack Ruby coming along to re-kill a zombie Oswald seemed slim, at best.
A Team Of Chicago Reporters Bought (And Ran) A Bar To Trap Corrupt City Officials
In the 1970s, even by normal Chicago political standards, the government was a cesspool of corruption. It tapped small business owners for bribes on the regular, and intimidated those who refused to pay. Pam Zekman, a reporter at The Chicago Sun-Times, wanted to expose this well-oiled operation, but could never get any business owner to go on the record because, well, that's how you wind up your business burnt to the ground and your body in a deep-dish grave.
So Zekman changed tactics. If she couldn't get a business to tell their story, why couldn't the paper just buy its own business and report firsthand on the corruption they witnessed? The paper loved the idea, and Zekman soon teamed up with another reporter, Zay Smith. Together the pair, posing as a married couple, bought a local dive bar that'd caught their eye.
Their sting worked so well that they caught their first crooks before the place even opened. Their business broker, who handled the sale of the bar, slyly informed Zekman and Smith about how he could help them cheat on their taxes and arrange payoffs to city inspectors. After being instructed to leave out envelopes containing a certain amount of cash for each inspector, Zekman and Smith bought off building inspectors, electrical inspectors, fire inspectors, and health inspectors (who approved the place despite the kitchen floor being infested with maggots) in return for amounts ranging from $10 to $25. "I think one of the things that amazed us," Zekman later explained, was that "these inspectors sold out public safety on the cheap."