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Rob Lowe in ‘Killing Kennedy,’ Another Hit Job on the President?

Rob Lowe bears the President's rugged handsomeness in the Nat Geo movie 'Killing Kennedy.'

Rob Lowe bears the President’s rugged handsomeness in the Nat Geo movie ‘Killing Kennedy.’

Ruggedly handsome Rob Lowe gets his turn to play an equally charismatic President John F. Kennedy in a new trailer for the National Geographic television movie based on conservative talking head Bill O’Reilly’s book. It’s hard to tell which is the bigger hit job, the movie, or the assassination itself.

The biggest problem with O’Reilly’s “dramatic non-fiction,” as it’s called, is that it does nothing to advance the mystery surrounding the president’s death.

Was it at the hands of a lone shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald , or perhaps one or more additional shooters?

The book is just a hyped-up retelling of the same old story, embellished with tabloid sensationalism that not only overloads it with screaming adjectives, but seems to focus preternaturally on Kennedy’s supposed sexcapades, as if they had anything to do with his death.

And who knows, maybe his hanky-pankying did.

But the book hardly advances that case, it merely exploits it. In fact, it pretty much regurgitates the flawed findings of The Warren Commission.

The official inquiry into the assassination concluded that Oswald was the lone gunman, while subsequent investigations have cast some doubt on that finding.

But the Kennedy name is still magic and the death of the 35th President of the United States is still, to this day, endlessly, if morbidly, fascinating.

The National Geographic Channel, also know as Nat Geo, is airing the movie. But don’t assume because of its name the network is taking the high road. “Killing Kennedy” isn’t a documentary, it’s a popularized, pulp-magazine account of history.

Critics charge that O’Reilly passive-aggressive prose give the story a decided right-wing slant.

Nat Geo scored big with a movie based on another O’Reilly book, “Killing Lincoln.” It was the most viewed program in the cable network’s history. So a follow-up based on “Killing Kennedy” seemed inevitable, especially with the 50th anniversary of the president’s death looming.

The trailer, which also includes Ginnifer Goodwin as Jacqueline Kennedy, doesn’t shed a lot of light on how it will portray Kennedy. It merely shows solemn images of Lowe and other characters against a voice-over of a Kennedy speech.

The network may be trying to avoid the controversy that swamped the History Channel’s eight-part mini-series on the Kennedys, starring Katie Holmes as Jackie and Greg Kinnear as JFK.

It was forced to ditch the series after elements of its salacious plot leaked touching off a nationwide protest. National Geographic’s movie airs in November. We probably won’t learn much more about it until then. Check out the trailer below.

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