Toledo Blade Cites McCarthy 'And His House Committee on Un-American Activities'

April 26th, 2009 1:12 PM

Appearing today on the Toledo Blade's Web site is the article "Candide: Toledo Opera production offers the liveliest aspects of opera, musical theater, and operetta."  Author Sally Vallongo writes:

In the 1950s, as then-Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R., Wis.) and his House Committee on Un-American Activities investigated liberal and progressive artists in search of Communist-oriented dissidents, Hellman and Bernstein collaborated on what would become one of several major works fomented by government activities: the play and film Cradle Will Rock, and Arthur Miller’s play and opera The Crucible are others.

Sometimes, readers must wonder if newspaper correspondents ever passed a class in basic civics.  If journalists had, they’d know that Congress consists of two bodies, the House and the Senate.  A member of one body doesn’t chair a committee from the other.  No Senator – not even Joe McCarthy – could run a House committee.  A clue might have been that his title was senator rather than congressman or representative, but perhaps that's expecting too much.    

Moreover, McCarthy didn't devote a great deal of time to investigating, as Vallongo asserts, "liberal and progressive artists."  Possibly she's confusing his inquiries with those of the House Un-American Activities Committee, which held hearings on Hollywood's comrades years before McCarthy launched his anti-Communist crusade. 

The mainstream media are justifiably criticized for their reporting of what's taking place now.  They don't do such a hot job of covering the past either.