Thursday, November 5, 2009

A New McCarthyism?

Lately I have been watching Glenn Beck on Fox News. It seems that every night Beck takes blackboards with the names of his political opponents on them and starts slaping up signs reading "Socialist", "Communist", or similar things. Those words have been used many times in the past to demonize and persecute.

Wikipedia defines McCarthyism as "the politically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence". They also say:

During the post–World War II era of McCarthyism, many thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists. Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person's real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment, destruction of their careers, and even imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned, laws that would be declared unconstitutional, dismissals for reasons later declared illegal or actionable, or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute."

Any of us who have studied that time know the consequences of this kind of daily slander: the blacklisting of innocent people. Glenn Beck knows that too. He is the kind of demagogue that can instigate all manner of things later regretted. Congratulations Fox News for being the channel for a new witch hunt. Maybe we shouldn't call what that network disseminates "news".

1 comment:

  1. You must have a stronger stomach than I do, I get so angry when I see the clips the Daily Show or Colbert show of Becks rants, that it makes me sick. Do people really believe that a political philosophy that has been either disguarded or so altered as to be unrecohnizable is a threat to this country? We have real problems and yes even real enemies, we need to work together to find the best way to deal with them in an unprecidented complicated time. True patriots do not slander or throw mud, they argue reasonably when they disagree, and they always hope that those in power are wise enough to make good decisions.