Two Elegant Real-Time Defenses of Sen. Joseph McCarthy By Informed 1950s Conservatives and Libertarians

A number of conservatives and libertarians (some of whom were also ex-Communists, or ex-fellow travelers) proffered compelling defenses of Senator McCarthy during the early to mid-1950s. These incisive contemporaneous rebuttals of anti-McCarthy smears have been effectively relegated to non-existence by not only establishment statists, but mainstream “conservatives” as well. A prominent example of this genre of pro-McCarthy ripostes was the letter composed and signed by 26 public intellectuals, and distributed to daily newspapers across the U.S., in April, 1953. Essentially, the letter condemned the media for ignoring McCarthy’s lucid 1952 self-defense, “McCarthyism—The Fight For America,” while gushingly embracing and promoting Owen Lattimore’s 1950 anti-McCarthy smear screed, “Ordeal By Slander.” This letter’s text, followed by the names of the 26 signatories, is reproduced, verbatim, below, as it appeared in the Pampa Daily News (Pampa, Texas), April 17, 1953, p.4:

To the Editor: Some of our colleagues, in newspapers, magazines, on the radio and TV, have enjoyed a virtually unchallenged forum of loose-talk on the subject of McCarthyism. We feel that they owe their readers, their listeners, and their consciences an accounting. What do they, or, if the shoe fits, what do you mean by the charge that the aims of the Wisconsin Senator are fine but his methods wrong? What methods have his critics used to remove traitors and subversives and security risks from Government? Did they assist in the struggle — and it was a struggle — to rid government of John Stewart Service, Edward Posniak, William T. Stone, Esther Brunauer and others too numerous to mention? McCarthy did. He fought and fought hard. Sometimes singlehandedly. And he got smeared, not only by the Communists — v/ho could be expected to honor Lenin’s injunction to “write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, scorn and the like, toward those who disagree with us” — but also by anti- anti-Communists and many genuine anti-Communists. How adequate is the substantiation of the charge that McCarthy has attacked and injured innocent people? Are McCarthy’s specific charges weighed before concluding, as with Owen Lattimore, that McCarthy is wrong? Owen Lattimore’s early denials of any attachment to the Communist line were given the widest coverage. His double-talking book attacking McCarthy was given the widest circulation, and the most extravagant and uncritical support. Now McCarthy has answered his critics in a 50-cent book called “McCarthyism, the Fight for America.” How many reviews has it had? The answer—hardly any -— is a blight on a profession supposedly objective and courageous. Yet in this book, McCarthy forthrightly discusses every significant charge made against him, affirms his charges, clears the air, and records more documented facts on the issue of McCarthyism than his fact-shy critics even hint exist. It deserves a reading. It deserves wide public notice. Why listen to Lattimore and not McCarthy? The answer; for a Communist, is easy. McCarthy has become one of his most formidable enemies. If McCarthy wins his fight to rid government of security risks, the cause of Communism will suffer a severe set-back. Let every honest American read McCarthy’s case before condemning him out of hand. Let us think twice before giving wider currency to the charges that “McCarthyism is more dangerous than Communism” — a statement that might one day serve as the epitaph of our civilization. 

Ward Bond, William F. Buckley Jr., Oliver Carlson, John Chamberlain, John B. Chappie, Frank Chodorov, Charles Coburn, Kenneth Colegrove, Frank Conniff, George Creel, Ralph de Toledano, Devin Garrity, Frank Hanighen, Karl Hess, Robert Hurleigh, Suzanne LaFollette, Victor Lasky, Fulton Lewis Jr., William Loeb, Eugene Lyons, Adolph Menjou, Max J. Merritt, Felix Morely, J. C. Phillips, Henry Regnery, and Morrie Ryskind.

One of the 26 co-authors of this April, 1953 letter defending McCarthy was Ralph de Toledano. A journalist, writer, and poet of Sephardic Jewish descent, de Toledano was “recruited” in May/June 1953 to rebut charges against Senator McCarthy by John Oakes of the New York Times editorial board. Columnist  Westbrook Pegler provided a tongue-in-cheek account of how the affair began a year later in an oped entitled, “Grace And Iphigene Argue Over McCarthy,” [The Indianapolis Star, May 18, 1954, p. 14]:

Mrs. Archibald Roosevelt, hereinafter called Grace and Mrs. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, hereinafter called Iphigene have been carrying on an argument about that which the Daily Worker was first to call “McCarthyism.” Grace seems to me to have done herself a job on Iphigene, but I must say both sides use the needle with consummate sweetness…Iphigene…asked John Oakes “of the editorial staff” to give her some [anti-McCarthy] details. She enclosed a copy of the memo…Grace replied that inasmuch as Iphigene went to a professional…she took her case to Ralph de Toledano, the eminent Red-baiter.

Levity aside, I share Pegler’s 1954 conclusion that Grace did “a job on Iphigene.” More precisely, it was de Toledano’s point by point evisceration of Timesman Oakes 15-point “memorandum” which did “the job.” Recently, I obtained both John B. Oakes’ May 12, 1953 letter/“memorandum,” and de Toledano’s June 8, 1953 itemized responses. To my understanding this exchange, has never before been published in its entirety. Comparing in full, below, these two 1953 letters, I believe, reveals not only the flimsy, counterfactual nature of the anti-McCarthy smears promoted by major liberal establishment media, such as the New York Times, but how an assiduous conservative journalist like de Toledano marshalled hard documentary evidence to thoroughly rebut them. And de Toledano concluded his rebuttal of Oakes with an excoriation of the statist Left media whose truth still applies at present:

more harm is done to the country, vis-à-vis the rest of the world, by the articles in The New York Times Sunday magazine which picture Americans as cringing in fear from a Fascist knout [scourge-like multiple whip] than anything which goes on in Senate committees. Europeans judge America by what they read. And when a respected American newspaper tells them that America lives one degree left of a storm trooper state, it has more effect than the entire output of the Communist press apparatus.


TO: Mrs. Sulzberger

FROM: John B. Oakes

DATE: May 12, 1953

The Dear Iphigene:

Although I do not recall that McCarthy has ever been indicted, you certainly are right in saying that he hasn’t the “spiritual or moral” qualifications for what he is ostensibly trying to do.

In answering Mrs. Roosevelt, you might enumerate some of these points:


  1. McCarthy’s activities as a Wisconsin judge were such that the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that he had committed “an abuse of judicial power” and had acted in a “highly improper” manner in a specific case.
  1. His successful campaign for Senator in 1946 was held by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to have been “in violation of the terms of the Constitution and laws of the State of Wisconsin” and in violation of “his oath as a Circuit Judge and as an attorney-at-law.”
  1. Incidentally, McCarthy defeated LaFollette for the Republican nomination prior to that election by 5000 votes, some of which undoubtedly came from the Communists who were determined to defeat LaFollette. At this time there was an important Communist element in the Wisconsin C.I.O. [Congress of Industrial Organizations, trade union]
  1. McCarthy allowed his war record to be fantastically magnified, obviously for personal and political motives. This point should particularly enrage a Roosevelt.
  1. While a Senator and member of the Banking and Currency committee, the Joint Housing committee, and the Senate Investigations committee, McCarthy admittedly received $10,000 from the Lustron Corporation for supposedly writing a brochure on housing. At the time, Lustron was the recipient of an R.F.C. [Reconstruction Finance Corporation] loan and was to a large degree under jurisdiction of the varied committees of which McCarthy was a member.
  1. For years McCarthy was in constant difficulties with the Wisconsin State Tax Commission concerning his state income tax.
  1. The Senate subcommittee investigating McCarthy raised the question of whether funds supplied to him to fight communism were diverted to his own use, including the extensive stock speculation from which he profited.
  1. McCarthy had close relations in Washington with Russell Arundel, reportedly a sugar lobbyist and Pepsi-Cola bottler, who endorsed a $20,000 note of McCarthy’s in 1947.
  1. The Senate subcommittee investigating McCarthy thought his transactions with the Appleton (Wis.) State Bank were suspicious enough to raise a serious question as to whether or not any of any of them “involved violations of tax and banking laws.”
  1. The same committee also queried whether his campaign activities violated “Federal and State Corrupt Practices acts.”
  1. McCarthy has repeatedly made wild and irresponsible charges which he has been unable to substantiate, starting from his very first famous speech of February 9, 1950, stating that he had in his hand a list of 205 names of Communists “still working” and shaping policy in the State Department.
  1. He also called [Owen] Lattimore “the top Soviet espionage agent in the United States,” and whatever anyone may think of Lattimore, not even John T. Flynn in his recent book could produce any evidence to substantiate that particular charge. Of course, McCarthy never has either, and he has repeatedly used his Congressional immunity to protect himself. His attacks on Jessup and Marshall, among many others, are of the same type. [For clarification: Flynn’s meticulously documented 1953, “The Lattimore Story,” does in fact note, however, the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security under Democratic Senator Pat McCarran, concluded beginning about 1930, Lattimore was “a conscious, articulate instrument of the Soviet conspiracy.” Moreover, Flynn himself concluded, “…based on an array of testimony and exhibits from scores of witnesses so clear and definitive that there can be no question in any fair mind that Lattimore and his confederates in the IPR (Institute of Pacific Relations) and the State Department were responsible for our defeat in China and the victory of Russia.”]
  1. McCarthy’s investigation of the Voice of America has uncoverd no Communists but has made our whole propaganda service look so ridiculous in European eyes that all the jamming and counter-propaganda of the Russians could not do nearly the damage to the U.S. that McCarthy has succeeded in doing. If he had been really interested in improving the Voice, he would have conducted the same kind of inquiry as the Fulbright-Hickenlooper committee; instead, he has only been interested in wild accusations of communism and –of course—in headlines.
  1. He is a menace to freedom of the press and, therefore, to freedom of speech and all our other freedoms. He has attempted to get advertisers to boycott newspapers (Milwaukee Journal) and magazines (Time), which have attacked him. The Wechsler case is the first, but probably not the last, of his efforts directly to intimidate editors who oppose hi,.
  1. Finally, if all else fails, I think you should remind Mrs. Roosevelt that McCarthy started in political life as a Democrat!

For details and substantiation of most of the statements made above, I think you should urge Mrs. Roosevelt to read these publications:

  • “The McCarthy Record,” put out last year by the Wisconsin Citizens’ Committee on McCarthy’s Record (409 North Frances Street, Madison, Wisconsin), price $1. I am sure a letter to the editor of the pamphlet, Morris H. Rubin of Madison, Wisconsin, would produce a copy.
  • The Senate subcommittee report of the investigation into McCarthy. An exact reprint of this government document is available through Americans for Democratic Action. It should be noted that McCarthy consistently refused to appear before the subcommittee, thus showing once again his contempt for decent and orderly procedure.

If you need any more materials, I would be very glad to supply it. Just give me a ring.



TO: Mrs. Roosevelt

FROM: Ralph de Toledano

RE: The Oakes memo on McCarthy

June 8, 1954

I have read with some astonishment the Oakes memo on Senator McCarthy. I can only presume that Mr. Oakes has gotten all of his “information” from the two sources he cites. A good newspaperman, even if he is only dashing off a memo for publisher’s wife, tries to get at primary sources. I am also shocked by a lack of forthrightness in one representing so pious a publication as The New York Times. This is represented in the very first sentence of the memo in which Mr. Oakes writes that he does “not recall that McCarthy has ever been indicted.” This leaves the impression that perhaps, after all, McCarthy was indicted. Mr. Oakes does “not recall” because an indictment is a matter of public record—and there is no record anywhere that McCarthy was indicted. I wonder what The New York Times would say editorially if Senator McCarthy said in a speech that he did not recall that, let us say, Dean Acheson [Truman administration Secretary of State, 1949-1953] has been indicted. This would be labeled “smear,” and “McCarthyism.” If Mr. Oakes did not recall, he could have very easily consulted the morgue of The New York Times which is, reportedly, an excellent one. He preferred not to recall, even though he was asked specifically to verify or disprove a charge which Mrs. Sulzberger “recalled.” The double standard prevails.

The points Mr. Oakes enumerates, I shall answer one by one and in his order.

  1. A judge, as The New York Times would be the first to point out in any other context, acts according to his own lights. That is precisely why we have courts of appeal. And the higher courts often find that a judge of the lower courts often has acted in a “highly improper manner,” or abused his official and judicial power. Such phrases in appeals decisions are commonplace. Only if there is evidence of venality do they assume significance. It may be noted here that during the first Hiss trial, Judge Samuel Kaufman repeatedly acted in a highly improper manner and abused his judicial power by bullying government witnesses and misrepresenting past testimony. The New York Times did not clamor for his removal. Quite the contrary is true. The double standard again.
  1. This is a case of half-truth adding up to whole falsehood. The clear implication in the Oakes memo is that there was something fraudulent about McCarthy’s “campaign for Senator in 1956”—that is, vote fraud, expenditures in excess of what state law allowed, improper campaign methods, etc. The Wisconsin Supreme Court was ruling on one point: the fact that McCarthy did not resign his judgeship while he was running for Senate.
  1. Communists voted in large numbers for Franklin D. Roosevelt, Herbert Lehman, Fiorello LaGuardia, etc. To his day, a good many Communists add to the daily circulation of The New York Times. Let Mr. Oakes draw what conclusions he will from this.
  1. The war record of one Dwight D. Eisenhower was, from a Democratic viewpoint “fundamentally magnified,” for the “personal and political” gain of incumbent President. Since Mr. Oakes brings up the question of Senator McCarthy’s war record, however, it may be pertinent to quote a few knowledgeable people on the subject. “As an observer and rear gunner of a dive bomber…he participated in a large number of combat missions…He obtained excellent photographs of enemy gun positions, despite intense anti-aircraft fire…Although suffering from a severe leg injury, he refused to be hospitalized and continued to carry out his duties…His courageous devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the naval service.”—Admiral Nimitz The Commanding Officer of Marine Bombing Squadron 235 repeats substantially the same language in his recommendation for a citation of Captain Joseph R. McCarthy, USMCR. So, too, does Maj. Gen Field Harris of the Marine Corps. Maj. Gen. H.R. Harmon, the Commander Aircraft, Solomon Islands, wrote: “This officer has shown marked qualities of leadership, cooperative spirit, and loyalty. His initiative, good judgment, determination and diligence have made him an unusually useful member of the section…Deserves to be classified as excellent.” It may be noted here that the Marine Corps is notoriously stingy in meting out praise.
  1. Oakes says that Senator McCarthy “supposedly” wrote a brochure on housing. The implication is that the pamphlet was not written and that $10,000 was paid out as a kind of bribe. The facts are that the pamphlet was written, based on material gathered by research experts in the (Democratic) Federal government; that it happens to be a good job o discussing pre-fab housing; that in using the Federal government to do his research McCarthy did what every member of Congress is entitled to do and often does; that the pamphlet was first submitted to Life magazine and other publications; that McCarthy had no hand in getting an RFC loan for Lustron (that was strictly done by some of Mr. Truman’s cronies); that despite all the digging done by the Truman Administration, the Gillette subcommittee, Drew Pearson, and The New York Times, no indication or shred of evidence has been adduced to show that Senator McCarthy ever did any favors for Lustron.
  1. Oakes writes casually of McCarthy’s difficulties with the Wisconsin income tax people. Here again we deal in implications. Is it to be supposed that the citizen who differs with the tax bureau is somehow a moral leper? Much has been made of McCarthy’s “difficulties” and it is true that he has often argued with the Wisconsin State Tax Commission. The one case which former Senator Benton cited as a horrendous example of McCarthy dishonesty demonstrates clearly what these “difficulties” were. There can be no argument about this since Benton thoughtfully supplied photostats of the disputed return. (I have a copy, should my word be doubted.) In 1944, McCarthy was still in the Marine Corps. He filed a return, left blank except for his name and a military address, to which he added a note: “During the entire year of 1943 I was serving in the armed forces of the United States, during which I spent no time in Wisconsin. I had no property in the state and received no income from within the State (having waived collection of my salary as Circuit Judge). Therefore, I assume it is unnecessary under the present laws to file a return. If you do not so understand the law I shall be glad to file a return.” It took the Wisconsin State Tax Commission until 1946 to get around to McCarthy’s 1943 return. They insisted his income was taxable. He objected, but finally paid. This is precisely what any citizen would have done in a similar case.
  1. The Senate subcommittee investigating McCarthy and Benton asked a good many rhetorical questions. It proved nothing, because there was nothing to be proved. Under Mr. Oakes’s code of law and ethics, presumably asking a question becomes evidence of guilt. On the other hand, when the same committee found that Benton had pocketed $600 from a constituent for whom he had done a favor—money received long after Benton’s election but “explained” as a campaign contribution—the moral sensibilities of Mr. Oakes were seemingly unaffected. As a matter of personal observation, McCarthy spent considerably more in his campaign against Communists in government than he received.
  1. “Close relations” has a strange sound coming from one who inveighs against “guilt by association.” And Mr. Acheson did more than endorse a $20,000 note for Alger Hiss [established to be a Soviet military intelligence spy]—he endorsed his integrity and loyalty in the days when Hiss was a rising State Department official. The collateral on that endorsement was the security of the nation. But, of course, Acheson is a great and good man.
  1. Again a question of half truth. McCarthy borrowed money from the Appleton bank. Any violations of tax and banking laws were violations by the bank, not by McCarthy—if, indeed such laws were violated. A subcommittee of the United States Senate, with the books of the bank available (as they were) could have easily determined whether any laws were violated. Instead, it raised serious “questions.” They proved nothing, they said little, but they served a clear political purpose. Oakes can quote those questions with a judicious air and the uninformed are impressed.
  1. Not the Pure Food and Drug Act, too?
  1. Certainly a newspaperman should know better than this—particularly since the answer to the second part of this appeared in The New York Times. But to recapitulate, when Benton made his charges against McCarthy, the most serious of all concerned this “205” or “57” matter. Benton claimed that at Wheeling on 9 February 1950, McCarthy had used the figure “205” whereas under oath he had stated that his Wheeling figure was “57.” Benton charged perjury. (Oddly enough, the State Department release “answering” McCarthy’s Wheeling speech uses the figure “57.” The release was issued before the 205-57 controversy began.) The Gillette subcommittee sent an investigator down to Wheeling. The investigator discovered that: the purported text of the Wheeling speech was, in fact, not used by McCarthy; two affidavits attesting that the text was genuine were written by the State Department itself; one of the signers completely repudiated his affidavit, the other seriously qualified it; some dozen witnesses who had been present offered to testify before the subcommittee that McCarthyhad said 57 and not 205; the tape recording which former Senator Millard Tydings claimed on the Senate floor he could produce was non-existent (Tydings later admitted this under oath); there was, actually, no text of the speech since McCarthy had spoken contemporaneously; a reporter who covered the Wheeling speech said that no text was used, that McCarthy had told him to disregard a draft of a speech which the reporter had in his possession. The investigator returned to Washington and was reprimanded by the committee staff. He was sent back wit the chief investigator, but the results were the same. The investigator was then taken off the McCarthy case. Subsequently, another investigator resigned, stating that the subcommittee staff had systematically refused to give consideration to any evidence which did not support the anti-McCarthy accusations. Mr. Oakes should read The New York Times more carefullyAs to “wild and irresponsible charges which he was unable to substantiate.” The record here is very clear. McCarthy was asked by the Tydings subcommittee to submit the names of Communists and bad security and bad security risks then or previously in the Federal government (see the Senate resolution setting up the subcommittee). He gave the Tydings subcommittee 81 names and sufficient corroboration to warrant the investigation which the subcommittee had been directed to make. The Tydings subcommittee majority refused to call all but a few of the witnesses requested by the Republican minority. In flagrant disregard of its mandate, it refused for example to call Theodore Geiger, then a top assistant to Paul Hoffman in the ECA [Economic Cooperation Administration], or to call witnesses who had known him directly in the Communist Party. Geiger was one of McCarthy’s “wild and irresponsible” and unsubstantiated” cases. [Geiger, in 1954 confessed to the FBI, and in 1956, via his lawyer, to McCarthy himself, his involvement with the Communist movement, through 1940.] The Tydings subcommittee gave all those listed by McCarthy a clean bill of health. Who are some of those tortured innocents?Esther and Stephen Brunauer. As a result of McCarthy’s charges the Navy made a further investigation of Stephen Brunauer, then engaged in top secret work. Brunauer resigned from the Navy rather than face questioning. His wife was dropped as a security risk from the State Department. John Stuart Service of Amerasia fame. The President’s Loyalty Review Board investigated and he was suspended from the State Department because there was “reasonable doubt” of his loyalty. Among the evidence against him was the transcript of a conversation which he held with Philip Jaffe, the Communist agent and convicted purloiner of secret government documents—a conversation read into the Tydings subcommittee record in which Service told Jaffe to be very careful with the secret military information he had given himThere are over a dozen other cases of people on McCarthy’s list of 81 who were subsequently discharged, forced to resign, or quietly dropped—as well as others who quit when loyalty boards re-opened their cases. If Mrs. Sulzberger wishes to have the names and documentation, I’d be glad to supply it. Perhaps she can give it to a deserving New York Times writer as material for an article. McCarthy’s basic charge was that there were Communists and bad security risks known to the government in Federal service—and that the State Department was doing nothing to root them out. This was angrily denied. But in 1951, at a meeting of the President’s Loyalty Review Board, the same statements were made and documented by people appointed by Mr. Truman to supervise the loyalty programs, all reputable citizens. These members were particularly bitter about Secretary Acheson and had warned him. Substantial portions of those minutes, which the Loyalty Review Board conceded were accurately quoted, were published in U.S. News and World Report. Did Mr. Oakes read them? And should he have not called them to the attention of Mrs. Sulzberger?
  1. Yes, McCarthy did call Lattimore a “top Soviet espionage agent.” Mr. Oakes can play with the word “top.” But as to the rest of the charge, the significant potion of it, he misinforms Mrs. Sulzberger when he says there is no documentation. The Senate Internal Security subcommittee, whose hearings are conceded to be a model of legislative investigation by all except the wildeyed critics of all such investigation, devoted 5712 pages to this and related matters. In its conclusions, which Mr. Oakes conveniently overlooks, the subcommittee says: “Owen Lattimore was, from some time beginning in the 1930s, a conscious, articulate instrument of the Soviet conspiracy.” The report and conclusions of the subcommittee by the Democratic and Republican members. It was unanimously accepted by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It can, by no stretch of the imagination, be considered a Democratic or Republican document. McCarthy’s attacks on Jessup and Marshall were not of the same type. He called neither man a Soviet agent or a traitor. Mr. Oakes had better do his homework. [McCarthy’s assessment of Marshall merits reading and is available from the 1951 Congressional record on pp. 215-309; See also Washington reporter Walter Trohan’s March, 1951 “The Tragedy of George Marshall”, and a balanced critique of McCarthy’s assessment by M. Stanton Evans, pp. 411-424.]
  1. Since McCarthy’s investigation of the Voice of America is not completed {for an objective overview of the completed hearings, see Evans, pp. 460-465]—and since McCarthy’s Committee has offered no report or conclusions, Mr. Oakes’s assertion seems rather odd. He also misrepresents the scope and aims of that investigation which were to determine whether there were Communists, whether there were inefficient and incompetent people manning the Voice, and whether there was mismanagement. In case Mr. Oakes does not know it, the function of the Senate Permanent Investigations subcommittee (the McCarthy Committee, so-called) is to maintain a perpetual and unremitting check on the executive branch. It is not supposed to wait for a Hiss case before it moves. Unfortunately for Mr. Oakes, I have read the volumes so far published of testimony on the Voice of America. Fantastic waste and mismanagement has been uncovered. There has been serious testimony concerning Communist and pro-Communist infiltration—testimony which the subcommittee has not yet weighed. Most of this testimony did not appear in the New York Times—but certainly the printed transcript (see 457-901) is a more accurate reflection of what happened than the hurried account of an antagonistic reporter. Mr. Oakes says in a wildly accusatory manner that Senator McCarthy is only “interested in wild accusations…and—of course—in headlines.” Will he supply you with some of those accusations?
  1. Without any substantiation whatsoever, Mr. Oakes says that McCarthy is a menace to freedom of the press and therefore “to all our other freedoms.” He cites the Wechsler case as an example. I can conclude from that only this: Arthur Krock, the outgoing Washington Bureau chief of The New York Times, must be a McCarthyite and a fool. He does not believe the Wechsler matter was a case of freedom of the press. Neither do many other newspaper editors. Wechsler did not take the hearing at which he was questioned seriously enough to be, let us use a polite formulation, utterly candid in his answers. He was not intimidated, was given a forum to spout his ideas, and returned to New York in a self-made and tawdry cloak of martyrdom. He has not ceased his attacks on McCarthy nor to give currency to demonstrable untruths about the Senator. [for a balanced appraisal of Wechsler’s testimony, see 477The press has freedom of choice and opinion. By an extension of this freedom, it now claims the right to misrepresent. But those who abuse the freedom by misrepresenting can hardly enter the court of opinion with clean hands. Nor can they claim by virtue of their status as men of the press, they assume an immunity which sets them above ordinary mortals. Before Mr. Oakes shouts freedom of the press, he might well do a little soul searching on first principles. McCarthy’s actions against Time magazine have a history. A cover story was written. Certain statements about McCarthy in that cover story ran directly counter to all the material in Time’s own files. McCarthy made the material in those files public and asked Time to retract. Time never did, nor did it ever offer even the slightest indication that contradictory material existed in its files. In point of fact, the statements (anti-McCarthy of course) were pure fabrications. McCarthy’s only recourse was to carry his case to those whose money made Time possible—the advertisers. Obviously Mr. Oakes would take that right of appeal away from McCarthy. As to the Milwaukee Journal, I can supply you with a number of clippings from that paper which, like Time and the New York Post, fabricate and suppress in order to belabor Senator McCarthy.
  1. I do not know what this point is supposed to prove. I find it insulting and would not be surprised if it were so intended.
  1. This ends the answer to Mr. Oakes’s memorandum. I would suggest that in the future your discussion with Mrs. Sulzberger could be more fruitful if Mr. Oakes returned to primary sources and put aside the two campaign documents which were his mainstay in briefing her.

 I might add, as a personal observation—that even if the most extravagant charge were true—more harm is done to the country, vis-à-vis the rest of the world, by the articles in The New York Times Sunday magazine which picture Americans as cringing in fear from a Fascist knout [scourge-like multiple whip]—(Justice Douglas’s “blank silence of fear” opus, for example)—than anything which goes on in Senate committees. Europeans judge America by what they read. And when a respected American newspaper tells them that America lives one degree left of a storm trooper state, it has more effect than the entire output of the Communist press apparatus.



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