The New McCarthyists: Fear and Smear

10/22/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As Americans struggle to make ends meet, affirm basic democratic and constitutional values, and work toward a brighter tomorrow, a small but influential group of reporters and pundits, Republican Congressional leaders and businessmen are turning to fear and smear campaigns to grab attention and subvert a durable equitable recovery.

These New McCarthyists conjure "socialism," "communism," "marxism," and other "shocking labels" to drum up hate-mongering. When you blow away the froth of hate, the claims against actual policies and individuals are trivial.

The fear-mongering obscures our basic shared experience as Americans struggling in hard times. They are also distractions from genuine disagreements which require adult debates.

Here are some of the most influential New McCarthyists today.

However, before presenting the list, it is worth quoting Edward R. Murrow. On March 9, 1954, Murrow summed up the legacy of Senator Joseph McCarthy:

His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind ... We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason.

Our New McCarthyists:

Fox News & Its Friends

As America embraces a message of hope and change in response to financial crisis and massive job losses, Fox News turns to fear and smear. Rush Limbaugh lays out the New McCarthyism on the Sean Hannity Show, saying: "I want [our President] to fail, if his agenda is a far-left collectivism, some people say socialism, as a conservative and heartfelt, why would I want socialism to succeed?" Fox News reporters and their guests take up the cause, smearing anything and anyone who even vaguely embraces a message of hope and change.

Main Fox News New McCarthyists and their Friends:

Glenn Beck
Rush Limbaugh
Ann Coulter
Jon Voight
Lou Dobbs
Sean Hannity

Republican National Committee (RNC):

After a massive failure at the polls, the Republican National Committee turns to hate-mongering and mounts a smear campaign to drum up a new base. Pursuant to RNC Rule 8(b), sixteen ring-leaders associate our president with "socialism," "socialist ideals," the "Soviet Union," and the "evil empire." The RNC responds with little decency, passing: "RNC Resolution Recognizing the Democrats' March Toward Socialism."

Main RNC New-McCarthyists:
Jeff Kent, NCM Washington State
Cathie Adams, NCW TX
Jim Bopp, NCM IN
Donna Cain, NCW OR
De Carlson, NCW NE
Gio Cicione, Chaiman RI
Cindy Costa, NCW SC
Demetra Demonte, NCW IL
Linda Herren, NCW GA
Betti Hill, NCW MT
Ron Kaufman, NCM MA
Peggy Lambert, NCW TN
Willies Lee, Chairman HI
Kim Lehman, NCW IA
Carolyn McLarty, NCW OK
Lilly Nunez, NCW CO
David Norcross, NCM NJ
Randy Pullen, Chairman AZ
Peter Ricketts, NCM NE
Steve Scheffler, NCM IA
Brian Sullivan, NCM MN
Helen Van Etten, NCW KS
Solomon Yue, NCM OR

Balfour Beatty / Laz Parking (VINCI)
The United Kingdom recently named Balfour Beatty and LAZ Parking Company's parent, Vinci, as having funded a secret 15-year long blacklisting operation. A massive database with notes about specific workers such as "Communist party," "a sleeper and should be watched," and "Do not Touch!" was kept by an alum of a major McCarthy Era council. Through ill-conceived privatization contracts, our American public works have been given over to these firms in many states.

New Corporate McCarthyists:
Balfour Beatty
Vinci (LAZ Parking's Senior Controlling Partner)

Projects on New McCarthyist Privatization Watch:
1. The Alameda Corridor (CA)
2. Metro Goldline (CA)
3. Chicago Parking Meters (IL)
4. North Antelope Rochelle Mine (WY)
5. Alfred Cunningham Bridge (NC)
6. Dulles Airport Expansion (VA)
7. Dorchester Tunnel (MA)
8. Highway 130 (TX)
9. City of Norwalk Parking Authority (CT)