Lane podcast: Defending Joe McCarthy

podcastlogoFor the 41st episode of the Journalism History podcast, host Teri Finneman spoke with Julie Lane about the passionate following that Joe McCarthy had during his lifetime and the political and journalistic implications at the time as well as those that continue into today.

Julie Lane is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Media at Boise State University. Her research investigating the construction of narratives by and about journalists, news institutions, and the coverage they produced has been published in Journalism HistoryAmerican JournalismThe Blue Review, and Communication & Sport.

This episode is sponsored by the Department of Communication and Media at Boise State.


 Teri Finneman: 00:09 Welcome to Journalism History, a podcast that rips out the pages of your history books to re-examine the stories you thought you knew and the ones you were never told. I’m your host, Teri Finneman, guiding you through our own drafts of history.

This episode is sponsored by the Department of Communication and Media at Boise State University. Located in the heart of Boise, Idaho, the Department of Communication and Media prepares students for successful careers in communication and media arts. Our graduates have the knowledge and skills to ethically and innovatively shape communication processes in the workplace, produce media content, and successfully navigate a diverse and complex world.

He was a master at getting media coverage and setting the narrative. More than 60 years later, his name continues to resonate in American political culture, and McCarthyism, the label given his brand of anti-communism, remains shorthand for defamation of character or reputation by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations, especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges.

On today’s show, we have Julie Lane from Boise State University discussing her paper Defending Joe McCarthy, which examines letters written by his followers and what the reactions reveal about the political culture of the day back then as well as today. Julie, welcome to the show. Why did you want to study Joseph McCarthy?

Julie Lane: 01:37 Well, I really never set out to study McCarthy. I kind of fell into the topic through my dissertation research. I was searching for a topic while in my doctoral program at Wisconsin, and I thought it would be interesting to study a political journalist because I had worked on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and seeing the relationship between politicians and journalists. So I came across the papers of Richard Rovere at the Wisconsin Historical Society, and he was a journalist I’d never heard of before, but I came to find fascinating. He was the first Washington correspondent for the New Yorker magazine. He held that post for 31 years, but he wrote for other publications and several books, including one on McCarthy in 1959 and he was forever linked to McCarthy through this book. So I ended up, you know, reading and learning a lot about McCarthy and the process and Rovere’s papers ended up in Wisconsin even though he was a New Yorker because of the connection to McCarthy. So while working on my dissertation, I came across this trove of letters written to him and to the editor of Esquire magazine where he published the article after Rovere wrote an article for Esquire in 1958 and he later expanded this article into a book about McCarthy and, and I just found these letters fascinating because the writers were just so passionate about McCarthy. So I knew at some point that I wanted to return to them. And to the topic of McCarthy

 Teri Finneman: 03:15 For some of our younger listeners especially, let’s start with some context about the history of anti-communism in the United States and why it was such a big deal to be accused of being a Communist.

Julie Lane: 03:26 Sure. Well, communism’s always been considered anti-American from the first time it appeared in the United States in the form of Marxist clubs in the 1870s. One part of this, of course, is that there’s the collectivism that Communists preached is considered antithetical to the emphasis on individual rights. That’s kind of at the heart of who Americans are, of the American identity, whether that’s, you know, private property ownership or participation in the democratic process. And so political and business elites really feared that these Communist ideas would cause unrest and perhaps even lead to revolution at some point. And so when labor protest took place throughout the late 19th century and early 20th century, which were some of the most visible signs of this unrest, they were often met with violent crackdowns by police. A lot of them were arrested. And then during the World War I years, there was a lot of radicalism going on and it really reinforced these fears

04:29 because agitators were protesting the war and they were interfering with the military draft, there were labor strikes again, many of them that turned violent and there were bombings by anarchists, including one in 1919 that hit the home of the attorney general at the time. And so the federal government responded by rounding up people, arresting masses of people, deporting those who were born overseas.

And all of this, of course, was happening on the heels of the Russian Revolution that had taken place in 1917. So even though these radicals weren’t necessarily Communist, communism really became associated with these fears. And then in the 1930s when the Depression hit and it caused a lot of people to question what was happening with the US economic system, a lot of people were drawn to the Socialist and Communist parties at the time. A lot more people came to associate with communism.

05:29 One who did was Richard Rovere, who wrote the article about McCarthy. He joined the Communist Party when he was a college student in the 1930s. And it was a little less risky to be a Communist at that time. The bombings and the real violence of the earlier period had subsided, but it was, you know, always a risky move because the Communists were always very secretive. So they raised a lot of suspicions and they had clear, strong ties to Moscow. So people always questioned, you know, their loyalty to the United States. And, and then that intensified when the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression pact with the Nazis in 1939 and that helped lead to a lot of renewed interest and investigation of Communists in 1938 was when the House Committee on Un-American Activities began. It was really aimed at investigating communism in labor and people who had worked in the New Deal agencies of the Roosevelt era.

06:34 But then some legislation was passed forbidding Communists  and others from working for the government and making it illegal to advocate for the overthrow of the government. So it was really this idea that Communists were very anti-American, that they worked against the interests of the United States and might someday try to overthrow it.

 Teri Finneman: 06:54 Let’s talk about the late 1940s and 1950s and how the fear of communism played out in our government during that time.

Julie Lane: 07:04 Sure. Of course, you know, as I was talking about, there is always already this tradition of anti-communism that had formed over, you know, since the late 19th century. And the United States and Soviet Union had, of course, been allies during World War II. But the Cold War set in a few years after the war and this political anti-Communist consensus formed on both the left and the right. The right had always opposed Communists of the course, of course.

Julie Lane: 07:32 And liberals were or at least those on the left were kind of forced to change sides, to choose sides. Some stayed kind of sympathetic to the Communists. Didn’t really want to take a hard line, but others really declared their anti-communism strongly at this point in forming kind of what’s called the vital center to use Arthur Schlesinger Jr’s term. And then a series of events that occurred around the globe kind of fed this anti-Communist mood. The Communist were victorious in China, the Soviets exploded a nuclear weapon and then war broke out in Korea, which brought the United States and the Soviet Union into it. Back in the United States, there were a variety of things that happened. There were these classified documents that were found in the offices of Amerasia, which was the small magazine that had ties to the Communist Party leadership.

Julie Lane: 08:28 The Rosenbergs were executed for spying on the Manhattan Project. Alger Hiss was convicted on charges related to being a Soviet spy in the ‘30s. Several Communist Party leaders were jailed for violating the Smith Act. And then the House Committee on Un-American Activities held a lot of high profile hearings, including of the Hollywood film industry. And the Truman administration was also involved. They required anybody working for the federal government to submit to loyalty and security tests. It brought charges against the Communist party leaders. And then Congress also acted by passing a law, the Taft-Hartley act, which targeted Communists and labor unions. And then in 1950, they approved what was called the McCarran [Internal Security] Act that required Communists to register with the government. So there was a lot of stuff going on. And, and this allowed McCarthy to build on this, this well-developed tradition of anti-communism

 Teri Finneman: 09:28 Going at this from perhaps a strategic communication point of view, what was it about McCarthy that made it possible for him to become such a national anti-communism figure? I mean, he was a new senator from Wisconsin at this time. What was his background and how was he able to rise to such fame?

Julie Lane: 09:44 You are correct. He first raised his charges about Communists in the State Department in 1950 and he was, as you said, a new senator. He was first elected from Wisconsin in 1946. He’d been born and raised in Wisconsin. He had a law degree. He won an election for the circuit court judge in 1939, which was his first entree into politics. And then he served in World War II. And upon returning from there, he challenged a fairly popular progressive senator in Wisconsin, Robert La Follette, and La Follette was running as a Republican and McCarthy challenged him in 1946 and won. And so he was all doing all of this at a fairly young age, so he wasn’t afraid, didn’t back down from a challenge and he wasn’t shy about seeking press attention. He courted the press, he called press conferences even as a new freshman senator in Washington.

10:45 And you know, as I said, he made his initial charge about Communists serving in the state department in Wheeling, West Virginia, in February 1915 at a Lincoln Day address that he gave. And he repeated these claims elsewhere, including on the Senate floor. And he claimed to have this list, but he never showed anyone the list. And the number of people that was on the list kind of changed regularly. But he kept repeating these claims and so he kind of forced the Senate to investigate and he gained a lot of press attention in the process. And then in 1953, after the Republicans had won a majority in the Senate, he became chair of the permanent subcommittee on investigations that was part of the Committee on Government Operations. And this gave him formal investigatory power for the first time and he really used that to his advantage. He launched a series of investigations of agencies such as the Voice of America overseas information centers that were maintained by the State Department as well as the US Army. And so he essentially made it impossible for his colleagues and the press and the public to ignore him. So, and that was of course also taking advantage of this fear of communism that already existed.

 Teri Finneman: 12:01 Let’s talk more about the role of the media in this. You note in your research, “the press was unsure how to cover him, but the senator knew how to grab its attention.” That sounds pretty familiar to today. How did he grab attention and what papers supported him and which were more critical?

Julie Lane: 12:17 Yeah, McCarthy certainly understood the way that the press worked. He knew that if he repeated things often enough, they would report what he said because he held a position of power or he was challenging, you know, a formidable opponent in his Wisconsin Senate race. Because he started this in 1946 when he was challenging La Follette and he used the same tactics later so he would just say things knowing that the press would report them and he wasn’t too concerned if they were true or not. He would often exaggerate, but you know, by the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, he was a senator. So what he said was newsworthy even if it was exaggerated or could be shown to be untrue. And some of the things he would do, for example, as Rovere noted this in one of his New Yorker columns, that the Senate, a Senate committee was formed to investigate his initial charges of communism in the State Department.

13:15 And he would, even though he wasn’t a member of the committee, he would comment on the Senate floor about what they were saying and then he would force members of the committee to respond to him. And of course that was something that was controversial. There was conflict involved and the press would cover that. He often would call a press conference in the morning to announce, “Oh, I’m going to hold a press conference in the afternoon. I’m going to have some big news for you.” And whether or not he actually delivered on that promise didn’t matter because the afternoon papers would report that he’d had this morning press conference announcing he had big news and Edwin Bayley, who is the author of Joe McCarthy and The Press, the most comprehensive book to date  on his relationship with the press, noted that these headlines would draw attention to McCarthy’s charges and would even exaggerate them the way that they were written.

14:08 And so it created this impression that McCarthy was exposing Communists even if that wasn’t necessarily true. And just by covering what McCarthy said, whether or not there was any substance to it and by not calling out his exaggerations or demanding evidence for what he was saying, the press really helped build them up and he knew they would do so given the way they operated with these standards of objectivity.

That said, there were newspapers that did regularly challenge him from the very beginning, including two in his home state of Wisconsin, the Capital Times of Madison and the Milwaukee Journal. Others across the United States did, including the Christian Science Monitor, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Washington Post, as well as several prominent columnists, Joseph and Stewart Alsop, Drew Pearson and James Wexler, Edward Murrow, who was a radio broadcaster of course, as well as Rovere. There were several papers though who defended him. The Chicago Tribune, the Washington Times Herald, and then the Hearst chain of newspapers that operated across the country.

 Teri Finneman: 15:18 Margaret Chase Smith, a senator from Maine who also ran for president, was a rare voice who spoke out against McCarthy. Both were Republican members of the Senate at the time. She declared it “as high time we stopped thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom.” This 1950 speech was called the Declaration of Conscience. She further said, “it is high time that we all stopped being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques, techniques that if continued here unchecked, will surely end what we have come to cherish as the American way of life.” McCarthy was eventually censured by the Senate in December 1954. What finally brought him down?

Julie Lane: 16:03 Yeah, Chase Smith and several of her fellow Republican senators who signed that Declaration of Conscience were pretty rare voices from the right. Most of McCarthy’s Republican colleagues, including Robert Taft, who was the minority leader and the party leader, unofficially, he was known as Mr. Republican, he didn’t necessarily embrace McCarthy, but he didn’t stand in his way because McCarthy’s efforts furthered the Republicans political goals. They’d been anti-Communist, they’d been hammering away at the Democrats on this issue for a long time. Many also assumed that McCarthy was really popular with the public. They saw the support that he got and they were worried that that might hurt them at election time if they spoke out like, like she did. President Eisenhower also who took office in 1952 wasn’t a fan, but he really tried to keep his distance and didn’t really want to get into it.

17:02 In fact, in 1952, when Eisenhower was running for president, McCarthy had attacked George Marshall, another fellow, former World War II general and a former secretary of state. And Eisenhower had planned to defend Marshall against McCarthy’s charges, but he didn’t. He backed off ‘cause he was so concerned about McCarthy’s power in terms of public opinion. But in the end of course, as you said, he was censured by his colleagues. It was his attacks on the U.S. Army that really led to his downfall. He began investigating the Army after it had refused to excuse one of his subcommittee staffers, David Schine, from the draft, or allowing Schine to kind of still be attached, continue his subcommittee work, even if he was serving in the military. So there had been some rumblings of criticism from his Republican colleagues, but these attacks kind of finally pushed them to try to rein him in.

Julie Lane: 18:01 And so in between April and June of ‘54, there were what had been called the Army-McCarthy hearings where McCarthy had to relinquish his chairmanship temporarily, somebody else to control his committee and they, they investigated his charges and these hearings were televised and McCarthy really came off as a bully. And so he was kind of becoming a liability to the party. And he had just, he’d pushed his colleagues too far, but not all of them, you know, turn their back on him. When the Senate voted to censure him all 44 Democrats voted for censure, as did the one independent, but Republicans were split. 22 voted for censure and 22 voted against and stood by him and he stayed in the Senate even after that. And he served until he died in May of 1957.

 Teri Finneman: 18:51 Your research focuses on public opinion of McCarthy, or not just newspapers’ opinions, but the opinions of everyday people. Why did you want to focus on this and how did you go about studying it?

Julie Lane: 19:03 As mentioned earlier, I was really struck by how passionately some of these readers of Rovere’s Esquire article about McCarthy felt about the senator and how passionately they defended him. The article was published on a year after McCarthy had died. And these readers had not let go at all. And they represent, of course, only a small percentage of people who read the article. But I really wondered what was motivating them. And I thought about these letters a lot over the years and about how they might yield some insight into what was happening in that time period. Because we really start to see the beginning of this divide, the rise of the conservative movement and this liberal/conservative divide. And so I was wondering how this kind of played into it. And then more recently, over the past few years, I’ve heard a lot of people voice surprise about how so many Americans continued to enthusiastically support Trump and attend his rallies and defend him against these allegations of corruption.

20:06 And so I noticed a lot of similarities between those readers who defended McCarthy and in Trump supporters. And I thought maybe given today’s political culture, it might be kind of a good time to return to those letters and see what I could learn. Also, public opinion is, it’s difficult to study. Historians have looked at the response of the media and the politicians to McCarthy, which are important topics but public opinion can be a little more difficult to get your hands around. You know, we can look to the results of public opinion polls. We can report the number of letters that McCarthy received or the reception that he received when he spoke in public. But these things don’t really get at why people like McCarthy, what they saw in him. So I saw these letters as a way I could try to kind of get inside the minds of at least some members of the public and understand what motivated them to support him even a year following his death.

21:01 Because by then it kind of seemed official Washington was just ready to kind of leave that period behind. But these readers clearly weren’t. So in total, I analyzed 109 letters that were written to Rovere or to Esquire executives. And I categorized them according to the reasons they gave for writing. Most of these letters were in the Rovere papers. The Wisconsin Historical Society. But I also looked at the papers of Arnold Gingrich, who was the publisher of Esquire. And those papers are in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And some of the letters were just knee-jerk responses, you know, accusing Rovere of attacking a dead man, for example. But most of them yielded a lot more rich information. They explained themselves more fully, or they connected what Rovere was saying and his article to other issues. Making them into what the journalism historian David Nord has called a curriculum of meaning.

21:59 And so some of the things I found is that they saw Rovere as one of these people in groups who had schemed to bring down McCarthy or they talked about how McCarthy was willing when others weren’t to combat the threat of communism or they, a lot of them criticized the style of journalism that Rovere and Esquire practiced. And only a few of them thanked Rovere. The vast majority of them were quite critical. But it really did help me understand what was driving their support.

 Teri Finneman: 22:30 That’s interesting. And I guess when you think about it, people are more apt to write a letter when they’re upset about something than when they’re thankful for something.

Julie: Lane: 22:38 Exactly. Exactly.

 Teri Finneman: 22:41 So, I mean you mentioned a little bit ago about some of the similarities that you were looking at as far as back then and with Trump today. What did you, what do you really come to with that?

Julie Lane: 22:54 Sure. Well, let me tell you a little bit before I go into that, I’ll tell you a little bit more about what I found. Cause I think it’s helpful to understand. So as I mentioned, most of the members of the public who wrote Rovere, they saw him as representative of these liberals who they believed had it out for McCarthy who would do anything to bring him down, either because they were too weak to do what was needed to stop the Communists from infiltrating the U.S. government or to stand up to Communists around the world, or because they accused them of being sympathetic to Communists or being Communists themselves.

23:31 You know, as I mentioned, Rovere had in fact been a Communist. And so he not only had been a member of the party as a college student, but he’d written briefly for the New Masses, which was a Communist newspaper. So many writers raised that point and they were trying to discredit him by saying that he was still sympathetic to Communists or perhaps still a Communist. And so that was one thing that was important. And then I also think that what I found was significant, and again, this relates to how I see this of relevance today, because what I learned about what the writers thought was significant, but what I found more important was what was informing their arguments, who or what might have influenced them, which was also something that I considered because I mean, clearly these readers saw something in McCarthy that they admired.

24:23 They came to that conclusion on their own. A lot of them saw him as a friend, and a few said that they believe that they truly knew him by watching him on television, which I also think is fascinating about the power of being able to see politicians on television in that way at that time, which was fairly new. But the themes I found in their letters were really similar to arguments that were put forth by a variety of organizations at the time, including the American Legion and the Catholic church, as well as conservative media outlets. And in fact, several readers suggested that William Buckley Jr, who was the editor of National Review, an influential conservative journal be invited to rebut Rovere’s article. They pointed to National Review as the place that they trusted and they didn’t trust people like Rovere or Esquire.

25:16 And so it’s clear that these narratives that were promoted by these organizations and these conservative news outlets really resonated with members of the public and Rovere’s depiction. It’s been largely accepted over the years, but it was never the only narrative about him, which I think is important to remember. And even though the McCarthy era typically is seen as a black mark on U.S. history, a lot of people at the time didn’t see it that way. And the conservative movement that was taking shape in this period was built to a large degree on vilifying liberals or making liberals the enemy. And this response to Rovere’s article played into that. So, you know, Rovere clearly had a narrative that he wanted to promote about McCarthy. And you know, that is definitely true. And then, but then his critics also had their own narrative. So there were these competing narratives at the time.

26:07 And so I think, you know, we see a lot of similar things today. There’s, of course, a lot of criticism of what we call the mainstream media and that’s been going on for quite a long time. And my own research is focused on the role that National Review has made in helping to discredit the media. And so that certainly has happened. The way in which McCarthy did – and Trump now – accuses people of disloyalty and does so in a very public way so that those who are, are put on the defensive. The accusations themselves can be enough to taint somebody’s reputation. There’s also McCarthy was very audacious, which I think some people would apply that term to today’s culture. Rovere accused McCarthy of what he called the multiple untruth. He described it as quote, “a falsehood so large and round that it could not be mistaken for truth because of its very audacity and magnitude,

27:11 its grandeur of conception.” And you know, it’s difficult for people to kind of follow the story. And it also made it very difficult for the media to cover McCarthy as I mentioned. And so I think we see a lot of those similarities today. And the other thing that I wanted to mention about, you know, making comparisons between then and now is something that Rovere said that I really think drove him to write this article that I’ve been talking about. He, his biggest fear, I think, when it came to McCarthy was that McCarthy succeeded in kind of normalizing a certain type of behavior. And he was – the media, you know, contributed to that in a way as well, given the coverage that they gave him. But he was, McCarthy was so good. He was a master at getting people to cover him into be able to set the narrative. And people – and Rovere was worried that if it didn’t matter what you were saying, the veracity of the credibility of it, but if you were just able to present yourself in such a way that you got this coverage, people would kind of assume after a while that you were very legitimate and credible, and he was concerned that others would adopt that same approach. And, and so I think we see some of that playing out now.

 Teri Finneman: 28:33 I think one of the most interesting points you make in your research is this. You write “the numerous critiques on the journalistic style of Rovere’s article appeared to be motivated by a desire to defend McCarthy, but they hint at something more. They may reveal the headway that conservative media outlets had made in encouraging readers to distrust mainstream media and to turn toward media on the right.” I think there are people who believe this phenomenon didn’t start until the launch of Fox News in 1996. But you’re saying this trend actually started much earlier, right?

Julie Lane: 29:06 That’s exactly right. The voices on the right have criticized what today we call the mainstream media since the 1930s actually. But this criticism really got going in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Historian David Greenberg’s written about this, about how reaction to civil rights coverage by northern newspapers played a role. And Mark Major has studied Human Events, which was another conservative journal of the time, and how they accused the media of liberal media bias during the 1964 election. And my own research has focused on the role played by National Review. There were, of course, other significant media on the right before National Review, including Human Events, but its founder William Buckley Jr., he really had a clear plan and the connections and the drive to make National Review into what I call the Fox News of its day. And in terms of the influence it had in the growing conservative movement.

30:07 And so National Review throughout the late 1950s would hammer away at this what they saw as the liberal media bias of the mainstream or traditional media. At the same time, they also were branding the media elitist. They said that it was part of the American establishment. So it was really trying to create this wedge and make people distrust the mainstream media and turn toward this burgeoning conservative media atmosphere. And you know, National Review was influential. Its reach was limited, though, but it helped to make these charges of liberal media bias kind of part of the conservative canon. And the idea really came out publicly in 1964 when George Wallace and Barry Goldwater both ran for president and both of them attack the media for being biased. So this trend that we see and of reaching, perhaps its high point with Fox News definitely has a much longer history.

 Teri Finneman: 31:11 In July of 2019 NBC News reported a story with the headline “National Cathedral likens Trump to Joseph McCarthy, condemns his radicalized rhetoric.” The church accused the president of fanning divisions for political gain the same way as the 1950s senator used fears of communism. So we’ve talked a little bit about this, but what do you think of comparisons of McCarthy to current times?

Julie Lane: 31:35 Yeah, I think there are some similarities. Like I said, you know, the way they make their accusations, the types of people against whom they level their accusations. Trump definitely understands the media and knows what will make people talk about him and repeat the charges that he makes. There’s the similar credits to, similar efforts rather, to discredit certain parts of the media. And in addition, of course, now we have Republicans are either unwilling or fearful of challenging the president as they were of McCarthy in the 1950s. And there’s some significant differences though. You know, one thing is uncertainly not excusing McCarthy’s methods or minimizing in any way the fear that he invoked, ‘cause that was very real, but his power was more limited than Trump’s. He made the most, of course, out of his Senate subcommittee chairmanship, but he knew how to work the media.

32:41 But at the end of the day, he was one of a number of senators, 96 at the time, whereas Trump is president, of course. And then in terms of the media environment, at the time, National Review was very influential. But as I mentioned, its reach was kind of limited as were other conservative media outlets like Human Events and Manion Forum of Opinion, which was a radio program, but they didn’t have the audience or the reach of a Fox News or Rush Limbaugh and McCarthy, of course, didn’t have social media. And, but as I said, the big similarity that I think Rovere would see is this type of behavior that if you just kind of keep going and keep saying these things, you will keep giving people to cover what you say, that it will lend you some sort of respectability and, and credibility.

 Teri Finneman: 33:35 What can journalists today learn from how the press covered McCarthy back then?

Julie Lane: 33:39 Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think, you know, it’s a lot of the things that we hear some of the criticisms and some of the praise that we hear from the media that it’s, they can be very helpful in providing context. In fact checking. There’s not necessarily a need to repeat everything a president says, just verbatim that, you know, journalists can provide this context. They can provide this background to help people understand why this is being said, how people are responding and helping people unravel what Rovere referred to as this multiple untruths, or at least if it’s not untrue, even if it’s just very complicated helping readers, their audience, their listeners unravel the truth behind what’s going on.

 Teri Finneman: 34:32 Our final question of the show, why does journalism history matter?

Julie Lane: 34:36 Well, you know, as we’ve been talking about, these current issues that concern journalism haven’t just appeared out of thin air. I tell my students that when I, when I talk to them about my research and explain why it is that I’m interested in how this narrative of the liberal media bias, for example, came to be. I say that, you know, people didn’t just wake up one day and say, Oh, I think the media is liberal. You know, this was a narrative that was kind of cultivated. And that’s just one example. But this idea that we need to recognize that these discussions that are taking place today have roots in the past, and we need to recognize those roots that we can have as much information as possible when we assess them and these issues so that we can place them in context.

 Teri Finneman: 35:22 Thanks so much for joining us today, Julie.

Julie Lane: 35:25 Well, thank you.

 Teri Finneman: 35:27 Thanks for tuning in and an additional thanks to our sponsor, Boise State University and its Department of Communication and Media. Until next time, I’m your host Teri Finneman signing off with the words of Edward R. Murrow. Good night and good luck.




  1. My dad studied McCarthy and had tons of primary source materials from HUAC minutes. If we remove the politics from this equation, I think we see the perpetual battle between IQ and EQ. To those who are emotionally intelligent, it is a faux pas to air dirty laundry so directly. To those who are rationally intelligent, it is a practice in poor boundaries to yield authority to the co-dependent. I think the lesson of the Mc Carthy era is that we choose whether we will choose the paths of judgment used by the left and right bash each other, or acknowledge that there is lots of middle ground between the envy of communism, and the pride of capitalism. We still haven’t learned that hating our enemy binds us to them. Isn’t that a text book definition of co-dependence? Very thought provoking, JHJ!


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