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During the presidential campaign many conservative pundits spoke about people “drinking the Democrat Kool-Aid.” (And perhaps there were pundits talking about Republican Kool-Aid, I just didn’t witness it.) So, it’s eerily apropos that the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre is only eleven days away. As I watched the pundits talking about the Kool-Aid, I wondered if young voters even understood the reference, that drinking everyone’s favorite childhood drink somehow meant blindly following the party line even unto death. And now, thanks to MSNBC’s documentary “Witness to Jonestown,” they will.
Viewers will be introduced to Jim Jones, the charismatic and psychotic leader of The People’s Temple, the cult he founded and the shorthand name given to the town the group built in western Guyana. They will learn about the 900 people forced to drink cyanide-laced fruit punch and the only U.S. congressman to lose his life in the line of duty. They will learn the horrific implications of “drinking Kool-Aid.”


Having lost two reporters of their own to tragedy, NBC has a unique relationship with the story and will present exclusive, rarely-seen footage that was shot inside The Peoples Temple on the eve and day of the disaster. Not only will viewers be introduced to many survivors and relatives affected by the massacre, but NBC’s own Fred Francis and The Washington Post’s Charles Krause will share their remembrances as the first television and print journalists to arrive on scene amid the aftermath.
“Witness to Jonestown” airs Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. ET.

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