Well Worth a Read

I don’t normally link to editorials, particularly ones about politics, but this one is amazingly insightful and gives a historical context to all the crazy that currently surrounds us.

Benghazi, Joe McCarthy and the Witch Trials



4 Responses to Well Worth a Read

  • That made a disturbing amount of sense.

    Oh– I find it amusing that it was not any history class I ever took that gave me an understanding of McCarthy and his madness, and I think you will, too.

    My understanding of McCarthy and his witch hunt– heck, of a lot of that period of American history– comes from the first “Wild Cards” book. Pass that on to your fellow “Wild Cards” authors, if you think it’d give them a chuckle.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      We’ll take that as a compliment, Christopher. And I find that really shocking. I was just rereading Edward R. Murrow’s epic take down of McCarthy. Here is a part of the transcript of that presentation. This part is quoted most often, but it’s well worth the time to read the entire transcript.

      Earlier, the Senator asked, “Upon what meat does this, our Caesar, feed?” Had he looked three lines earlier in Shakespeare’s Caesar, he would have found this line, which is not altogether inappropriate: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

      No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

      This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

      The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

      Good night, and good luck.

      [transcribed 7/20/06 by G. Handman from DVD, The McCarthy Years (Edward R. Murrow Collection)]

      Here is the link to the full transcript. http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/murrowmccarthy.html

  • After reading that bit, I will definitely take a look at the whole thing, thanks.

  • Tajir says:

    It took so long to expose McCarthy basuece as Bella stated, people were scared of him. He had a lot of power as the Senator and people took his word without thinking twice. Because he new so much about the press, he was able to take advantage of the fact that he knew when to make a claim so that there would be no time for a response. He used his power as the Senator to have people fear him and not even attempt to go against him.McCarthy exploited the press by being persuasive and easily manipulating them. “All three wires were so damned objective that McCarthy got away with everything, bamboozling the editors and the public.” (163) He knew how the press worked and “could make a claim and be sure the wire services wouldn’t have time to track down a response from the accused person before stories were filed.” (162) He was able to spread his lies through the newspapers and they did not second-guess him. The stories that were being printed consisted of McCarthy’s biased opinions and since he gave the reporters no time to check their facts, those biased opinions were published for all to read. Reporters allowed McCarthy to get away with it basuece he was the US Senator and they were fearful of what he could do. According to Streitmatter, many of the reporters regretted ever allowing McCarthy to manipulate them in such a way. When it comes to FOX News, I am able to see the similarities. FOX News has been caught several times telling lies and are very biased when it comes to reporting the news. Although they are there to just report the news, they interject their opinions into everything and make it seem as though it came from a credible source. Murrow had a mixed victory with his legendary broadcast basuece although he was considered to be the most respected television newsman in history, his show slowly went downhill. He showed the world McCarthy contradicting himself and telling lie after lie, but that was not enough to keep his career up.

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