The Beginning of the End of McCarthyism ► Throwback Thursday

On this date in 1954 brave journalists at CBS began curing ‘Merka from the cancer of McCarthyism.

Millions of words have been written about McCarthyism and I won’t even begin to sum them up. If you are unfamiliar with these shining beacons of truthful journalism [Hey! Millennials!], I’ve taken the opportunity of  quoting just a few of those words:

Fred Friendly; NYT obit

A big, imposing man who hurled ideas and opinions around like Olympian thunderbolts, Mr. Friendly, as both producer and president of CBS News, stood at the center of some of the most influential and contentious moments in the early history of television journalism. His work included the best-remembered documentary ever produced, Mr. Murrow’s dismantling of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his demagogic anti-Communist campaign inside the United States Government.

He also produced Mr. Murrow’s other groundbreaking documentaries including ”Harvest of Shame” in 1960, an expose on the hardships of migrant workers.

Later, as president of CBS News from 1964 to 1966, he clashed frequently with the network’s management over his efforts to get more news on the air. His often caustic criticisms of what he maintained was the television networks’ lack of commitment to quality news coverage continued through the years.

Edward R. Murrow; NYT Obit:

The ever-present cigarette (he smoked 60 to 70 a day), the matter-of-fact baritone voice and the high-domed, worried, lopsided face were the trademarks of the radio reporter who became internationally famous during World War II with broadcasts that started, “This. . .is London.”

Later, on television, his series of news documentaries, “See It Now,” on the Columbia Broadcasting System from 1951 to 1958, set the standard for all television documentaries on all networks.

President Johnson, on learning of Mr. Murrow’s death, said that all Americans “feel a sense of loss in the death of Edward R. Murrow.”

He was, the President said, a “gallant fighter” who had “dedicated his life as a newsman and as a public official to the unrelenting search for truth.”

How about that?

We’ve gone from a president praising journalism to one who undermines it as fake news when he doesn’t like it.

It wasn’t all that long ago that this reporter was railing against Emperor Trump’s ironic use of the word McCarthyism. We’ve come a long way from the truth-teller journalists of a bygone era. We now have an Oval Office distracting from uncomfortable back-channel contact with the Russians by fake accusations against President Obama.

Let this be a teaching moment.

Let the cowardly GOP see this and realize that they are on the wrong side of history by supporting the Madness of Emperor Trump. Let them also realize they’ll either be hailed as heroes if they stand up to this crazed man, or quislings if they don’t, just like during McCarthyism.

Watch “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy” from See It Now:

Finally, let this be a teaching moment for the mainstream media. We all know that Fox “News” won’t provide the heroic journalism the fact-based community is looking for. Who will? Lately, it’s been The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, which I’ve only begun watching regularly recently. (Prior to this it was hit or miss.) Check out this blockbuster from last night:

The real question is how can the truth penetrate the FAKE NEWS FOG created by Emperor Trump so that the average ‘Merkin [Read: Fox “News” viewer] begins to see him for what he really is? When will the truth cure ‘Merka from this cancer? Just like what Edward R. Morrow did 63 years ago today.


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Headly Westerfield
Headly Westerfield
Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.