Intending to "destroy the burrhead," Hoover's men let King know about the damaging material gathered on him by the F.B.I. and suggested, "he do the honorable thing and take his own life." They didn't know the great character possessed by the man they were dealing with. [Ibid]
And while we can only speculate whether Limbaugh intended to provoke the racist threats that require unusually early Secret Service protection for Senator Obama, who can doubt that Limbaugh is pandering to the low class white racism of his half-witted audience through thinly-veiled racist taunts. He energizes both his and the Republican Party base with his racial references to: "Halfrican American," "Obama Osama," and by playing "Barrack, The Magic Negro."
But Limbaugh's McCarthyism extends far beyond his racist Hooverism. In 2003, for example, Limbaugh called the patriots who protested America's impending invasion of Iraq, "anti-American, anti-capitalist Marxists and communists." On August 15, 2005, he asserted: "Wouldn't it be great if anybody who speaks out against this country, to kick them out of the country? Anybody that threatens this country, kick 'em out. We'd get rid of Michael Moore, we'd get rid of half the Democratic Party if we would just import that law. That would be fabulous. The Supreme Court ought to look into this. Absolutely brilliant idea out there."
On June 27, 2006, he launched a McCarthyite smear of the New York Times: "If you look at The New York Times and the kind of stories they're leaking and running and the information they're getting, it's clear that they're trying to help the terrorists….80 percent of their readers have to be jihadists." And, then, on April 5, 2007, in the great tradition of tail gunner Joe, Limbaugh pimped for Cheney when he asked about Sen. Harry Reid and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi: "Is this what they really intend, to lose the war, to make sure we come home defeated?"
(I've written about Limbaugh's McCarthyism before, see: http://www.walter-c-uhler.com/Reviews/Limbaugh.html )
Bill O'Reilly is no better. On September 14, 2001, three days after the 9/11 attacks, Mr. O'Reilly added his voice to the BIG LIE: "I believe that you're going to find out that money from Iraq flowed in and helped this happen." And on March 18, 2003, Mr. O'Reilly lent his support to another BIG LIE, the one about Iraq's so-called WMD: "And I said on my program, if -- if -- the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again." (Yet, Mr. O'Reilly continues to serve as a cheerleader of Bush's illegal, immoral war.)
On August 10, 2006, Mr. O'Reilly made a McCarthyite smear against the "far left." "The far left in America is dominated by haters, people who despise their own country and want to injure those with whom they disagree. These smear merchants are now all over the mainstream media and have spread like lice on the Internet." At one point, in July 2005, Bill O'Reilly announced that he would be exposing and naming all the people and organizations he considered to be helping the terrorists.
Thanks, however, to some media researchers at Indiana University, who've sampled O'Reilly's McCarthyite tactics, we now know that he "employed six of the seven [classic] propaganda devices nearly 13 times each minute of his editorials." In this, he "is a heavier and less-nuanced user of the propaganda devices than [the anti-Semite and fascist, Father Charles] Coughlin." "Fear was used in more than half (52.4 percent) of the commentaries, and O'Reilly almost never offered a resolution to the threat."
Worst of all, however, is Ann Coulter. After the 9/11 attacks, Ms. Coulter made the following outrageous statement: "We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war." As if Ms. Coulter knew anything about war.
In her book, Treason, Ms. Coulter defended the BIG LIE of warmongers who claimed the existence of ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. And, on December 21, 2005, Ms. Coulter made the outrageous assertion: "I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo."
Ms. Coulter makes great sport of demoninzing liberals. As she wrote in Treason, "Betraying the manifest national defense objectives of the country is only part of the left's treasonous scheme. They aim to destroy America from the inside with their relentless attacks on morality and truth."
And she's a great fan of McCarthy: "The myth of 'McCarthyism' is the greatest Orwellian fraud of our times…Liberals weren't cowering for fear during the McCarthy era. They were systematically undermining the nation's ability to defend itself while waging a bellicose campaign of lies to blacken McCarthy's name." Now, whom are you going to believe, George Kennan - "the conscience of America" -- or someone who's probably certifiably insane?
(I took great delight in the widespread anger that this review -- http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/07/20/RV153961.DTL -- provoked among Ms. Coulter's fans.)
The erudite Middle East scholar, Juan Cole has dismissed such McCarthyites with the following observation: "Cranky rich people hire sharp-tongued and relatively uninformed young people all the time and put them in their mass media to badmouth the poor, spread bigotry, exalt mindless militarism, promote anti-intellectualism, and ensure generally that rightwing views come to predominate even among people who are harmed by such policies. One of their jobs is to marginalize progressives by smearing them as unreliable." [Cole, Informed Comment, Feb. 08, 2005]
Kennan took them much more seriously. Noting that "the forces of intolerance…are incompatible with the flowering of the human spirit," Kennan observed: "There is no greater mistake we of this generation can make than to imagine that the tendencies which in other countries have led to the nightmare of totalitarianism will, as they appear in our own midst, politely pause - out of some delicate respect for the American tradition - at a point where they would begin to affect our independence of mind and belief. The forces of intolerance and political demagoguery are greedy forces, and unrestrained. There is no limit to their ambitions or their impudence."
To those, like the writer, who are inclined to fight fire with fire, the following observations seem inescapable: In light of the fact that the Bush/Cheney regime started an illegal, immoral war against Iraq, based upon lies and exaggerations about Iraq's so-called weapons of mass destruction and so-called links to al Qaeda; in light of the fact that the lives of more than 3,300 American soldiers have been wasted for such lies and exaggerations, as well as, perhaps, the lives of some hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, and in light of the facts that this illegal, immoral war has increased terrorist attacks seven-fold around the world, elevated Iran to a position of regional dominance, infringed upon domestic liberties in the U.S. and caused a worldwide explosion of hatred of the United States; isn't it plausible to claim that the real traitors to the United States are the members of the Bush administration, the neocons and their McCarthyite water-carriers? ?