Backgrounder For Media “Conservatives”: Communist Annie Lee Moss and Her “Iconic” Useful Idiot Defender, Edward R. Murrow

During the spring of 2014, well before the breathless anti-Trump “Russian collusion” narrative was contrived, my colleague Diana West demonstrated how ill-equipped “conservative thinkers” are to engage such calumnies because, perversely, they have long accepted the Left’s own Anti- anti-Communist agitprop, “on how ‘muckraker’[Edward R.] Murrow ‘exposed’ [Sen. Joseph] McCarthy.”

She concluded,

I have a hunch that the punditry’s explanation would closely track the synopsis of the completely ahistorical George Clooney movie on Murrow, “Good Night and Good Luck.”

Fast forward to the righteously indignant assertion recently made in early February by trained journalist and conservative Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson that,

You probably grew up reading about the McCarthy era, where demagogues in Congress made baseless claims about foreign collusion destroying the lives of American citizens in the process

Previously, almost on (hackneyed) cue, in December, Carlson specifically invoked the iconic Leftist mainstream journalist Edward R. Murrow himself:

Remember studying the McCarthy era when you were in school, and the idea was that people who stood up and sort of ripped the mask off & called it ludicrous…like Ed Murrow? They were heroes. Where are those people now?

Sadly, it would appear that Tucker Carlson’s full knowledge of these events may indeed come from the palpably dishonest Clooney whitewash of Communist subversion, “Good Night & Good Luck,” which rivets on a complete distortion of the Anne Lee Moss case, championed by the “heroic” Murrow.

While I endorse Diana West’s 2014 suggestion that conservative journalists of Mr. Carlson’s ilk study the detailed primary source explication of these events by the late nonpareil McCarthy scholar, M. Stanton Evans (reading in full the chapter [40] entitled, “The Legend of Annie Lee Moss” from Evans’ 2007 opus, Blacklisted By History, pp. 528-41), the deliberate and/or incompetent falsehood of Edward R. Murrow’s unrepentant reporting was already thoroughly established 60-years ago, in the Senate Congressional Record (January 17, 1959, pp. 807-808) by Senator Henry Styles Bridges.

I have reproduced Senator Bridges introductory remarks, as well as the full December 27, 1958 Saturday Evening Post editorial he read into the RecordHERE’S AN ‘INFORMER’ THE REDS SHOULD NOT HAVE TANGLED WITH,” below, for the edification of Mr. Carlson and other journalists of his persuasion.

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https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-CRECB-1959-pt1/pdf/GPO-CRECB-1959-pt1-7-1.pdf

Senate Congressional Record, January 17, 1959, pp. 807-808.

Senator Henry Styles Bridges reads Saturday Evening Post oped from December 27, 1958 into the record

THE CASE OF ANNIE LEE MOSS

Mr. BRIDGES. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the body of the RECORD an editorial appearing in the December 27, 1958, issue of the Saturday Evening Post. This editorial has, to do with the Annie Lee Moss case, which came before the permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which, in 1954, was headed. by the late Senator McCarthy. At that time, Mrs. Moss denied under oath that she had ever been a Communist Party member, and she succeeded in convincing committee members that she was telling the truth. This particular incident comes to mind because of a recent revelation which seems to have been all too little publicized. As a result of the decision in the Jencks case, the Communist Party demanded and received the right to look at the FBI files during a recent proceeding before the Subversive Activities Control Board. · The interesting result of this effort on the part of the Communist Party was a complete boomerang. Mr President I am asking the privilege of inserting this article for two reasons. The first is to show those inclined to be soft on Communism just how wrong they can be and how completely they can be taken in because there is nothing sacred about oaths and agreements to anyone imbued with the Communist cause. The second reason why I wish to see this inserted into the Record is because I consider the revelations in this case at once both a vindication and a tribute to the dedicated members of the FBI, and the complete accuracy and painstaking carefulness of their investigations. Upon a perusal of their files, there was found in copies of the Communist Party’s own record, the authenticity of which it does not dispute, evidence that Annie Lee Moss was a party member beyond a doubt. It is ironic that Annie Lee Moss was believed instead of Mrs. Markward, the dedicated undercover FBI agent who had infiltrated the Communist Party organization and had testified to Mrs. Moss’ membership. There being no objection, the editorial was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

HERE’S AN “INFORMER” THE REDS SHOULD NOT HAVE TANGLED WITH

Once in a blue moon the Communists pull a rock, as the expression is. In a recent proceeding before the Subversive Activities Control Board, the Communist Party demanded a look at the FBI files, which the Supreme Court in the Jencks case, had decreed they might have. How this privilege bounced back in their faces makes a fascinating tale.

In February 1954 a great stew was created over charges that Mrs. Annie Lee Moss, who was employed in the code room of the Pentagon, was a Communist. The charges were based on testimony before Senator McCarthy’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations by Mrs. Mary Markward, an FBI undercover agent who had infiltrated the Communist Party in Washington. A few weeks later, Mrs. Moss took the stand and, in a dramatic session of the committee, denied under oath that she was or ever had been a Communist Party member. She convinced committee members that she was telling the truth.

In due course Mrs. Moss became the heroine of an Edward R. Murrow program on television, a program which moved TV critic John Crosby so deeply that he wrote: “The American people fought a revolution to defend, among other things, the right of Annie Lee Moss to earn a living, and Senator McCarthy now decided she had no such right.” Mrs. Markward was smeared by liberals as an “informer.”

Back now, as they say on the air, to the recent hearings before the Subversive Activities Control Board, which has been trying for years to compel the U.S. Communist Party to register as the agent of a foreign power, which it undoubtedly is. Twice the Federal courts have turned back the Board’s judgments on the ground that certain testimony against the party was “tainted.”

One allegedly tainted witness was supposed to be Mrs. Markward, whose information in the FBI files the [Communist] party wanted to see. What the party learned was that the evidence on Mrs. Moss’ Communist membership did not rest on Mrs. Markward’s testimony alone. The story, which was dug out of the documents by Mrs. Alice Widener’s U.S.A. magazine and followed up by Edward J. Mowery in the Newark Star-Ledger, has received too little public attention. Says the Board:

“Markward’s FBI reports concerning Moss, the majority being copies of actual Communist Party records such as club and branch attendance, membership and dues rosters, were received in evidence. • • • Exhibits 499-511 corroborate Mrs. Markward’s testimony in the Moss security hearing. The situation that has resulted on the Moss question is that the party’s own records, copies of which are now in evidence, and the authenticity of which it does not dispute, show an Annie Lee Moss, 72 R Street SW., Washington, D.C., was a party member in the mid-1940’s.”

That was one of the addresses given by the Mrs. Moss who was employed at the Pentagon. Thus Mrs. Markward stands vindicated as one who performed a difficult and unrewarding mission for her country. Vindicated alsois the FBI, which the Communists are sworn to destroy, and, in this instance at least, the labors of a much-abused congressional committee. Mrs. Moss, who appears to be still in the Pentagon in a “non-sensitive” job, may be small potatoes. But the episode suggests that Congress would do well to explore the possibility that our bureaucracy contains Communists in “sensitive” areas.

 

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism " (Prometheus, November, 2008) You can contact Dr. Bostom at @andrewbostom.org

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