Joe McCarthy was bluffing when he waved around a list of Communist spies. He never had a list, but it turns out the Soviets did -- there was a long list of Americans on Moscow's payroll. So, was McCarthy right about the Communist Menace? In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, rethinking the Red Scare.
Jonathan Brent is editorial director of Yale University Press. He talks with Steve Paulson about the Soviet documents Yale is publishing that prove there were lots of Americans spying for the Soviet Union in the 1930's. Brent says that despite this evidence, nothing justifies Senator Joseph McCarthy's recklessness and abuse of power. The 25 volume Yale series is called "Annals of Communism."SEGMENT 2:
Ronald Radosh is a senior research associate at George Washington University. He tells Judith Strasser that Joe McCarthy was a demagogue, but had a point: Americans who joined the Communist Party were feeding information back to Moscow and willing to follow its directives. He says people whose primary interest was social justice, not communism, left the Party when its true nature was revealed. Also, historian Ellen Schrecker tells Judith Strasser that the current reconsideration of McCarthy is part of a continuing effort to discredit the left. She points to the achievements of the left in the American labor and civil rights movements. Her book is "Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America."SEGMENT 3:
Ann Douglas tells Steve Paulson that Kenneth Starr reminds her of Joseph McCarthy with his theatrical manipulation of the media and accusations based on mounds of undigested (and unreliable) evidence. Douglas is the author of "If You Live, You Burn: Cold War Culture in the United States: 1939 - 1965." Also, Jim Hoberman is a staff writer for the Village Voice and author of "The Red Atlantis." He talks with Jim Fleming about the B-movies made for propaganda purposes by both Soviets and Americans.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-11-08-A.
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