This makes me want to violently shake someone.
Yesterday on Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer compared Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's accusation that Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years to McCarthyism.
“Isn’t this kind of like Joe McCarthy back in the era when he said, ‘I have in my hand the names of 400 people in the State Department who are communists’? It turns out he didn’t, and he was saying that the way to prove that they’re not is for them to come forward there. I mean, asking somebody to come forward just because there’s been an unsubstantiated charge, that’s a little thin to me.”
Harry Reid cited someone close to Mitt Romney who claims Mitt didn't pay federal income taxes for 10 years. This is what's known as an anonymous source. Members of the media reference anonymous sources on an hourly basis every day of the week, and no one bats an eyelash.
And there's every indication that Harry Reid's source may be correct. Romney could easily prove the naysayers wrong by releasing his tax returns, but he seems content with proudly keeping secrets.
What is comparable to McCarthyism is Michele Bachmann and Allen West literally saying they have a list of members of congress who are anti-American commies. What is McCarthy-esque is taking a queue from the voices in your head (we'll refer to these voices as Frank Gaffneys) and accusing Huma Abedin of infiltrating the State Department and conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood.
This is kind of nonsensical association from Bob Scheiffer renders the term nearly meaningless.