The epoch of McCarthyism (from the late 1940s to the late 1950s) is identified for its accusations of disloyalty toward Communism and its sympathizers. It was all about a suspicion in treason, subversion and cooperation with Communist spies. Moreover, due to Sen. Joseph McCarthy a legal procurement of information about Americans working in entertainment and governmental subsidiaries were well transformed into a purely witch-hunt of the anticommunist direction.
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Such heightened fears of the "Red Invasion" were well supported by the Korean War, advent of Mao, coupe in Czechoslovakia and high rates of espionage throughout the country. The discussion in the paper touches upon how mass media covered this topic during the period of the Second Red Scare. Thus, the American society got through the McCarthyism, as a period that made people fear both communists and state investigations regardless their occupation.
The article by Burwell, et al. (1950) originally published in New York Times illuminates how McCarthyism was so upswing in ratings that any official could be easily suspected as it was with Dean Acheson as Secretary of State. Anticommunism had acquired a radically new form of the defense called McCarthyism. The first term can be easily defined as the ideology on that communism is wrong or harmful at all accounts. Conversely, the second term is well related to the US internal political activity with the purpose of uncovering all communists within the country.
With regards to the aforementioned article, it is obvious that mass media amplified the fear of McCarthyism as the powerful instrument notwithstanding the facts of possible fabrication of evidences. On the other hand, the article represents the reaction of consistent and patriotic Americans against McCarthyism in the case of Dean Acheson. Thus, one of the lines reads: "If this is indeed to be a war for survival, then more than Acheson must go" (Burwell, et al., 1950, p. 28). It was a sincere remark of a reader to the editor of the newspaper.
Indeed, the situation reminded about the 17-th century witch-hunt in Salem. Intelligentsia, high-ranked militaries, officials all were subject to probable hearings in the Senate. Mass media seem to appreciate the main theme of McCarthyism, i.e. the fight with communists possibly gathered under some conspiracy. Despite of Mr. Acheson's achievements in the Marshall Plan and finding out "a way to enable the General Assembly to act when the vetoes of the Russians made the Security Council impotent," Acheson was stated as dangerous for the American democracy (Burwell, et al., 1950, p. 28). It was just because of mass media played a role of an "amplifier" in impacting public opinion regarding hurt reputation of Acheson and many others wrongly accused as traitors to the US.
By the way, the period of McCarthyism was also characterized by the political competition between Republicans and Democrats in the extent of opposition to Communism. McCarthy was a central figure of mass media at that time. It was especially justified once he caught a new enemy. "Exposure of Owen Lattimore as a knowing Soviet conspirator acclaimed by Sen. McCarthy" was the talk of the town in July 1952 (Edwards, 1952, p. 7). That made American government more intense and pretentious in its foreign policy as of the geo-political divide that took place in Europe and Asia.
McCarthy acclaimed Lattimore as the personification of Communism reporting on the votes by Republicans and Democrats in the following way: "There findings were rendered with a knowledge that Lattimore was a symbol of communism in the state department and that the verdict on him constituted an indictment of the whole Truman administration" (Edwards, 1952, p. 7). Needless to say, news like this could not fail to make Americans fear the "Red Invasion" at the time. Furthermore, they saw the real power of McCarthy's policy statements.
Sen. Robert A. Taft from Ohio was also a precedent for McCarthy's investigation into subversion (Staff Writer of The Christian Science Monitor, 1954). Not only was this the case of a severe reformation of the society mostly emphasized through mass media but a strict eye was kept on ardent supporters of anticommunism among ordinary Americans. The article in The Christian Science Monitor outlined a story about a trial lawyer, Mr. Samuel P. Sears, who was apt at the investigation into subversion among individuals in Massachusetts, particularly.
The figure of Sears was highly acclaimed as etalon in the period of McCarthyism: "An outspoken supporter of investigations into subversion, Mr. Sears as early as 1951 charged Harvard University with "encouraging and playing host to the Communist Party" (Staff Writer of The Christian Science Monitor, 1954, p. 2). It made people believe in the supervision of the state power. Thus, the fear was even higher. On the other side, Americans have become more and more conscientious about the other side of McCarthyism. An attack that seemed to expand America from abroad was nothing compared to an attack experienced by Americans from within during McCarthyism.
To conclude, the way mass media covered the period of McCarthyism was full of sensations and accusations at the highest echelons of power. Suchlike investigations maintained by FBI and senate committees were full of tactics (smears, accusations of disloyalty and so on) originally used by Reds. Therefore, public opinion was largely agenda-driven owing to major political parties and McCarthy playing on the people's fears. Hence, mass media was the best instrument to imply anticommunist actions and achievements at the time. Nonetheless, McCarthyism has illustrated a too radical form of the political verification of Americans going apart with the genuine standpoints of liberal democracy.
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