Remembering Roger Ebert's Record of Integrity and Courage vs. Kupcinet's Towing the Line

Irv Kupcinet and Roger Ebert were columnists at the Chicago Sun-Times with overlapping careers of nearly 20 years. Ebert considered Kupcinet a close friend, despite this disconnect.: ( Kupcinet's conflicted "background": )

Kup vs. JFK - Chronicle of a Columnist's Obsession - By Jim Kielty - Year In Review archives ยป December 24, 1992
In an essay on the Oliver Stone film JFK, published a month after his laudatory review in the Sun-Times, Roger Ebert wrote: "Never in my years as a newspaperman have I seen one subject pummeled so mercilessly and joylessly as this movie that questions the official wisdom on the assassination of John F. Kennedy."

Ebert didn't have to look far to find the chief Chicago-area pummeler: his Sun-Times colleague Irv Kupcinet has repeatedly used his column to flail JFK, Oliver Stone, and anyone else who has dared to challenge the findings of the Warren Commission report.....
JFK - BY ROGER EBERT / December 20, 1991
.....The important point to make about "JFK" is that Stone does not subscribe to all of Garrison's theories, and indeed rewrites history to supply his Garrison character with material he could not have possessed at the time of these events. He uses Garrison as the symbolic center of his film because Garrison, in all the United States in all the years since 1963, is the only man who has attempted to bring anyone into court in connection with the fishiest political murder of our time.....
Oliver Stone defends 'JFK' against conspiracy of dunces - BY ROGER EBERT / December 22, 1991

...He (Stone) said....All the established media seem to be terrified of my movie; as if it's somehow going destroy their lives. I'm amazed at their fear. What stake do they have in it?"

This was a week before "JFK" opened, on Friday. Dan Rather had attacked the film on CBS, the Washington Post had printed and criticized some of the screenplay, political pundit Tom Wicker had written a negative cover story in the New York Times arts section, and Newsweek had splashed across its cover: "Why Oliver Stone's new movie can't be trusted." ....
JFK (1991) - BY ROGER EBERT / April 29, 2002
..... Shortly after the film was released, I ran into Walter Cronkite and received a tongue-lashing, aimed at myself and my colleagues who had praised "JFK.'' There was not, he said, a shred of truth in it. It was a mishmash of fabrications and paranoid fantasies. It did not reflect the most elementary principles of good journalism. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.

I have no doubt Cronkite was correct, from his point of view. But I am a film critic and my assignment is different than his. He wants facts. I want moods, tones, fears, imaginings, whims, speculations, nightmares. As a general principle, I believe films are the wrong medium for fact. Fact belongs in print. Films are about emotions. My notion is that "JFK'' is no more, or less, factual than Stone's "Nixon''_or "Gandhi,'' "Lawrence of Arabia,'' "Gladiator,'' "Amistad,'' "Out of Africa,'' "My Dog Skip'' or any other movie based on "real life.'' All we can reasonably ask is that it be skillfully made and seem to approach some kind of emotional truth.

Given that standard, "JFK'' is a masterpiece. It's like a collage of all the books and articles, documentaries and TV shows, scholarly debates and conspiracy theories since 1963....