On September 3, 2003, Professor James H. Fetzer, Ph.D. described his new book, The Great Zapruder Film Hoax, as "a magnificent achievement that may very well stand as an enduring turning point in JFK assassination research, namely the definitive proof that the Zapruder film was faked...."
Leaving aside Professor Fetzer's characteristic modesty, the claim is laughable. In its 496 pages, the book never gets around to making a single direct argument for the fabrication of the Zapruder film. The book is little more than a random collection of observations concerning features of the film which various contributors find odd and therefore label "proof of forgery. They consider these features "anomalies" but make no attempt to link any of them to each other or to show how any of these random claims disclose a process of fabrication.
The book as a whole reveals a troublesome pattern: none of the contributors make any extra effort to understand or explain the observations they highlight. This sets up a natural method for dealing with the observations. Sequentially, we undress the sinister "anomaly" into its non-sinister form by explaining how it came to be. For example, John Costella's claim of forgery because the Zapruder film and Barnes photo show slightly discrepant images of the Stemmons sign is refuted by pointing out that the two photographers were standing in slightly different positions. The highlighted discrepancy had nothing to do with film forgery but rather with the different positions of the two photographers. In certain cases, it is even possible to show that there is no "anomaly," that what was claimed to be an "anomaly" does not exist but came to be through sloppy research. Thus we show that Costella was simply in error when he claimed that certain features of the Stemmons sign did not evidence "pin cushion distortion," that David Lifton made a hearsay claim not supported by the evidence and that Jack White simply misread the Moorman photo in claiming she was not where the Zapruder film showed her to be.
Many of the claims regarding "anomalies" are well-known in the assassination research community and were explained long ago. We have not concerned ourselves with these. Fetzer has chosen to structure his book without reference to any definite thesis. Consequently, it is difficult to separate the major arguments from the minor ones. Nevertheless, we have chosen to sift the alleged "smoking guns" and have chosen for discussion those that appear novel or important. They will be discussed under the titles given below.
Fetzer, White, and Mantik have been attacking the Zapruder film for years, and researchers have been debunking their claims for just as long. For a history of claims that Fetzer and company once promoted with fervor but have long since abandoned, see the following web sites.Clint Bradford's The Zapruder Film is Authentic