During a violent storm here in Alexandra, with the internet going in and out, my wife and I gave up and watched “Spotlight” again, an ethics movie, and a genuinely heroic story about journalists doing their jobs, informing the public, exposing popular institutions. Those were the days. The ending speech, where the Boston Globe’s editor talks in high-minded terms about the reason journalism is worth the effort, made me physically nauseous. The profession he described is virtually unrecognizable from what I see on CNN, Fox News, NPR, the Washington Post and the New York Times.
Almost immediately after, I read a column in the Times from two days ago, in the Arts section. It’s a periodic feature by John Williams where he interviews an author, “5 Things About Your Book.” This time he was talking to Larry Tye, whose biography of Joe McCarthy has just been published. The cut line read that Larry Tye “discusses his biography of that American bully, and an eerie echo.”
Having read the Times for the last four years and watched with admiration how it can toss gratuitous insults and sinister innuendoes about President Trump in any context no matter how remote, from book reviews to cooking columns to fashion essays. I was certain what the “eerie echo” would be. Joe McCarthy was a bad guy, so the article would show how much Donald Trump is like Joe McCarthy.
For the nonce, I will ignore that salient fact that it is “the resistance,” the Democrats and the anti-Trump media, which is to say, the media, that have been using relentless McCarthyite tactics against the President from before he was elected.
So where was this eerie echo of Trump in the life of “Tail-gunner Joe”? Here’s Tye’s shocking illumination of that question:
I knew there was a general link between Senator McCarthy and President Trump, but I didn’t realize how eerily echoing it was.
Huh? What “general connection”? The Senator died in 1957, when Trump was 10. How can you have a “general connection” with someone who isn’t in your family, you never met, and whom you didn’t know anything about at all until well after he died?
That’s smear #1. Here’s smear #2: Continue reading