Korea and McCarthy

Historical revisionism can be useful, but frequently it is distorted to concoct new folklore by people with axes to grind.  Millions of television viewers believed they learned something about the Korean War from M*A*S*H*.

More millions were misled about McCarthyism by George Clooney’s movie Good Night and Good Luck -- a fictional documentary of Edward R. Murrow‘s 1954 semi-fictional telecast about Senator Joseph McCarthy’s search for subversives in the U.S. government 

Murrow and his CBS crew carefully edited film clips to give McCarthy the worst possible public image, as did Clooney. Had McCarthy done the same to Murrow, the media’s outrage would have been overwhelming.

Both exhibitions were less concerned with history than the Hollywood pro-communists’ hatred for the defenders of their freedom to make capitalist fortunes.

Of the first example it may be asked: why make a fuss over a silly sitcom? Because it is part of the dim, confused, anti-American impression of the “forgotten war” presented by factual as well as fictional sources to promote sympathy for our Communist enemies. 

Among History.com’s disinformation are the lies that “in July, 1953, the Korean War came to an end.” South Korean President Syngman Rhee was a “dictator” (his election had been as fair and democratic as Barack Obama’s.) and President Harry Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur for insubordination. Nowhere is it mentioned that Korea was a United Nations war, although the USA provided most of the manpower and material on our side.

On June 25, 1950 the North Korean army attacked without warning and overcame the South’s unprepared defenders of the 38th parallel boundary. On June 27 the UN Security Council voted to repel the invaders. By October that had been accomplished and the UN General Assembly agreed that General MacArthur’s forces should push on to the north and reunify the country. 

Then Communist Chinese troops came down from Manchuria to help the North Koreans. Attacks and counterattacks by both sides resulted in a stalemate and desire to negotiate a settlement. The July 27, 1953 armistice was only a temporary cease-fire agreement. No peace treaty was signed and the two countries remain actively at war, with a huge American military presence in South Korea.

The Truman-MacArthur controversy was over how the war should be fought. MacArthur wanted to fight to win, so the president relieved him of his command. Truman chose appeasement and the war never ended. The South made a miraculous recovery with democratic capitalism while the North became another Communist nightmare whose unstable dictator rattles missiles at the free world

While Americans were dying in Korea, another anti-Communist war raged on the home front. Whittaker Chambers had helped send Alger Hiss to federal prison for perjury about spying for the USSR. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were on their way to electrocution for passing atomic bomb secrets to the Kremlin. The House Committee on Un-American Activities was hearing revealing testimony from Elizabeth Bentley and other apostates from Holy Marxism.

So the stage was set for McCarthy, who had made his first announcement of Communists in the State Department six months before Korea ignited. Murrow wasn’t the only liberal who saw the burly senator as a perfect scapegoat for their eagerness to dismiss the uproar as a hysterical witch-hunt in the imaginary Red Scare. Historical revisionism on McCarthy started almost as soon as he became a national figure.

He was even ridiculed for his World War II service as “Tailgunner Joe,” a name that amused McCarthy. A qualified lawyer when he joined the Marine Corps, he was assigned to intelligence work mostly at a desk. But occasionally he rode along on combat missions against the Japanese to check up on pilots’ reconnaissance reports.  

He may have exaggerated the dangers he faced, in the manner of veterans telling war stories. But not as much as John Kerry did. Kerry’s Winter Soldier lies did more harm to America than a thousand McCarthys could have done.

In peace McCarthy continued to serve as a brave, honorable conscientious patriot. He never blacklisted anyone or denied legal rights to those summoned to appear before his committee. Horror stories about the McCarthy Era suppressing dissent are laughable in light of the left’s political correctness iron grip on all forms of expression. And he certainly never destroyed reputations with nasty smears and false accusations, as was done to him. The biggest victim of McCarthyism was McCarthy.

The contrast between McCarthy and his media tormentors couldn’t have been greater in the radio and television world of surface impressions. Unattractive, slovenly and loud, the senator appeared clownish opposite handsome, suave, cultured Ed Murrow whose deep resonant voice made it hard not to accept his words as profound wisdom. Best of all, McCarthy’s combative nature made it easy to prod him to intemperate outbursts.  

Murrow’s WWII broadcasts from London established him as the vocal embodiment of stalwart Americanism. Having trained for the theater, not journalism, he understood the axiom: “It isn’t what an actor says but how he says it.” He raised news acting to a fine art that enabled his successors to become as rich and famous as rock stars.

Murrow acquired his anti-anti-Communism easily. Like many contemporaries, he thought the 1930s depression proved that economic freedom had failed and government controls were needed. His fawning biographer Joseph E. Persico wrote: “Murrow was an idealist, not an ideologue” who could rage at the “hypocrisy of the capitalist system.” Marxist ideologues loved idealists who had no ideas of their own.

Also, attacking McCarthy helped Murrow deflect attention from red skeletons in his closet. A member of his news team, Winston Burdett, was not only a Communist and married to one, “he had served as a Soviet spy in Finland, Romania and Yugoslavia” according to Persico.

The left’s 1950s hate-McCarthy campaign was so successful that when in 1963 President John Kennedy was assassinated by a Communist who had skipped back and forth through the Iron Curtain, cries of a right-wing conspiracy seemed almost credible. Oliver Stone made that the theme of his 1991 substitute for a motion picture JFK.

Today, long after McCarthy’s charges were proved to be accurate by the release of secret government documents such as the Venona intercepts, the massive liberal calumny still gives history a bad smell. Many people have only a vague notion that Korea and Vietnam were stupid, unnecessary wars against innocent victims and McCarthy and his ilk conducted stupid unnecessary vendettas against other innocent victims. 

Readers who may be so conditioned by traditional McCarthyism that they find these facts too far-fetched need only consider the phony Obama facades that are constantly fabricated before our eyes. Since we know the news/intellectual/show business establishment is flagrantly lying to us now, why doubt that the same or worse was done in the past?

To deal with present challenges, we need to know what really happened ‘way back then. Otherwise, those of us who think it’s just retribution to hurl the epithet “McCarthyite!” at liberals risk perpetuating the old hoax.