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May 08, 2003

McCarthyism, Unsealed

Straight from the horse's mouth. Transcripts from the Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations - aka the McCarthy hearings - are now available. These executive sessions were chaired by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wisc., from 1953-54, and have been under seal for the last 50 years. The five-volume set is now available and searchable online, and the material will also be distributed to federal depository libraries in both print and microfiche.

The transcripts include testimony from witnesses such as Aaron Copland, Langston Hughes, and the historian Herbert Aptheker, as well as government employees, labor organizers and army officers. Apparently McCarthy used these executive sessions in part to weed out those witnesses who wouldn't buckle under his questioning. Those witnesses who had more trouble articulating themselves, who were more easily overwhelmed, were called back for the public hearings. ["Auditioning for Senator McCarthy", NYTimes op-ed, 5/7/03]

Yours, &c., LC | 10:19 AM | Librariana | Comments (1)


We have a more secretive, more camouflaged version of McCarthy in these ages. The worst thing about the new McCarthyism is that it doesn't make too much of a public spectacle. Say the wrong things and you're out of service through the back door. Look at all the reporters booted for not agreeing to certain editorial policies. And no one quite notices. Now that's scary, kind of like being whisked away in the middle of the night, disappearing.

Posted by: PS at May 9, 2003 12:58 AM