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Misunderstanding McCarthyism

When Professor Paul Kengor was on Sean Hannity’s radio show and later on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program, the hosts went out of their way to make sure that the author of the new book, The Communist, about Barack Obama’s mentor, was not saying that Obama himself was a communist. It was almost as if Kengor had been warned not to get too personal with his revelations. He was allowed to talk about Frank Marshall Davis being a communist who loved Joseph Stalin, but when the subject turned to Obama, who was under Davis’s influence for eight years, it was clear that this was another and more sensitive matter. This was getting dangerously close to taboo territory.

Why do self-styled conservative media personalities feel it necessary to protect the President? 

With more than four years of research into Davis, and more revelations coming, the burden of proof is on Barack Obama to prove that his communist connections, which continued from his growing-up years in Hawaii to college to Chicago, were the result of innocence or naïveté. That will be hard for him to do, since he concealed the identity of Davis in his memoir, Dreams from My Father, calling him just “Frank” and depicting him as a poet and writer. He knew that Frank Marshall Davis was an associate and mentor and that he had to protect his communist identity from public scrutiny. 

A better treatment of the matter came on Mark Levin’s radio show, where the hard-hitting conservative host permitted Kengor to discuss how Davis influenced Obama, including his policies and statements as President. “This is very, very important,” Levin noted, as he extended his interview with Kengor to an additional segment. Levin called the book “compelling” and “outstanding.” 

Despite the limitations of the interviews, at least Hannity and O’Reilly gave Kengor a few minutes of air time. The liberal media won’t have anything to do with Kengor’s book. Kengor notes, “I’ve had not a single inquiry from the mainstream media. Nothing from The New York Times and Washington Post, the latter of which did a scandalous expose of Mitt Romney’s alleged bullying during his high-school years. Well, what about Obama’s high-school years? Obama was influenced by a man so radical that he was listed on the Security Index.” 

Why are the liberal media so fundamentally dishonest? In an otherwise excellent column about the double standard of the left, Victor Davis Hanson writes about Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid making a “McCarthyesque” charge about Mitt Romney not paying taxes. He meant by this that Reid had no evidence. 

However, the use of the term “McCarthyesque” by someone like Hanson is why Hannity and O’Reilly wanted Kengor to avoid any hint that Obama personally could be a Marxist. Figures on the right do not want to be accused of McCarthyism and even accuse people on the left of using McCarthyism. As a result, they protect Obama from needed scrutiny and help create the double standard they complain about. This is the trap we are in, as many of us try desperately to get out the facts about a President who was not vetted by the media in 2008 and continues to escape major media scrutiny for his Marxist past. 

In this context, M. Stanton Evans has written a Human Events column, “When Conservatives Parrot Liberal Lies about Joe McCarthy,” about how various conservative media personalities and politicians, including former Tennessee Republican Senator Fred Thompson, writers at Breitbart.com, National Review’s Rich Lowry and columnists/TV commentators Charles Krauthammer and George Will, have all used the term “McCarthyism” to refer to the antics of Harry Reid and others on the left. Evans writes that these conservatives “know nothing at all about McCarthy except what the liberals deign to tell them.” 

For instance, George Will had said that Reid was imitating Senator Joseph McCarthy, who said he had a list of communists. “But he didn’t have a list,” Will said. In fact, Evans notes, McCarthy did have a list of security cases and problems in the government. Will simply doesn’t have the facts and doesn’t seem to care whether he has them or not.

Evans was the recipient of the 2009 Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media lifetime achievement Award for Investigative Journalism, for his groundbreaking research into the media’s vilification of Senator Joe McCarthy. His book, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies, is a masterpiece. 

Evans points out that “McCarthy was repeatedly proved right, about the larger picture of subversion, and about a host of individual cases.” Yet, McCarthyism, a term coined by the Communist Party to demonize anti-communists, has been adopted not only by liberals but by conservatives as something that explains the use of unsubstantiated charges. This is how the liberals control the public debate. Conservatives let them control the debate by adopting the terminology of the liberals. 

I recently recorded an interview, which is part of a new film called “The Unvetted,” in which I explain how the facts about Davis have been suppressed for over four years. The new Kengor book should change this, but it is getting the silent treatment from the liberal media as well. Kengor says, “My book reached number one in non-fiction at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com. It made the top 10 on The New York Times bestseller list. And still, the press is completely ignoring Frank Marshall Davis. That ignoring will continue, as that same press wildly digs into the past of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.” 

What explains this cover-up by the liberal and many in the conservative media? One answer is the fear of being labeled “McCarthyite.” The charge is apparently more damaging than being labeled a Marxist member of an international communist network. 

While the media remain mostly silent, filmmaker Joel Gilbert keeps investigating the Davis matter, and has the resources to distribute his work, in the form of a film Dreams from My Real Father, and regular updates on his website. Tens of thousands of copies of the film are now in circulation and the Drudge Report has accepted paid advertising for it. This marks a change from 2008, when Drudge rejected my advertising on Obama’s communist connection as “too controversial.” 

WorldNetDaily has covered Gilbert’s revelations, the latest being that he has unearthed letters from Frank Marshall Davis in which he refers to his pornographic “novel” Sex Rebel: Black as completely autobiographical and non-fiction. One of the letters says that he is having sex with an underage girl at the age of 76. “Currently my No. 1 woman here is a gorgeous and sexy girl with a face quite like Brooke Shields who became 17 two weeks ago,” he says. He goes on, “…I have had my eye on her since I first saw her at 13.” 

That this communist pervert helped raise Obama and guided his thinking for eight years of his young life is not an issue for our media. It will never be an issue as long as conservatives join the liberals in throwing around the term McCarthyism for no legitimate reason.

Obama isn’t the only one benefitting from this double-standard. It is because of the false charge of McCarthyism that conservatives find it so difficult to get concerned about State Department official Huma Abedin to be taken seriously by top Republican officials and candidates. Senator John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner both said questions about Abedin’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood are not appropriate and even dangerous. Romney said his campaign didn’t want to talk about it.

The courageous columnist Diana West has pointed out that the Washington Examiner, supposedly a conservative paper in the Washington, D.C. area, has suppressed columns and news stories about the Abedin controversy.

Abedin is not on the presidential ballot this year, and Obama is. However, her fate depends on his.

It is literally the scandal of the century, proving that we have a President who could not survive a basic background check for a low-level federal job. He certainly couldn’t qualify for a security clearance in his own administration. Is it any wonder that this administration leaks state secrets to benefit Obama and fails to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange?

Regardless of whether others in the liberal or conservative media take the matter of Obama’s personal character and ideology seriously, the researchers who have pursued the Frank Marshall Davis story are being vindicated. The proof of their charges can already be seen in the policies and personnel of the Obama Administration. The damage to America and its standing in the world becomes more apparent by the day.

Those who kept their heads in the sand will be judged accordingly. What did they do or say when America’s constitutional republic was being destroyed from within? Did they put the interests of the Republican Party above conservative principles and honest journalism? Or were they too obsessed with McCarthyism to notice what was going on?

cliff-kincaid-web1Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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