The Media

The Real McCarthyism

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.

  • Chachizel

    This shit makes me crazy. Why is the media letting Romney slide on this? Nobody is saying that he did something illegal. He may or may not have. This is a matter of character. I want a President that invests in America, and believes in us….all of us. This clown is wealthy wealthy wealthy. If he truly believes that everything he’s done with his money is fine, then show us the returns and make the argument. A whole lot of rich people believe that its their money and its their right to invest it overseas, or hide it from the IRS wherever they want. Make the argument for them. Make middle class Americans believe in your brand of capitalism…even though they may be struggling. Sen Reid messed up, BUT….why would he lie so blatantly? I mean, he’s not a Republican. Blatant lies and half truths are their territory. Maybe that’s why they’re so mad. I think that he does have a reliable source that may or may not be correct. I believe that this source was strong enough that Reid felt confident enough to bring it forward. Yeah, it might be a cunning political move, but why would he risk making himself look like an idiot unless he truly had a real source. As we have all said…Gov Romney, prove Sen Reid wrong by just showing us your taxes. Ha…McCarthy-ism my ass. Scheiffer, you’re a dickweed!

  • mrbrink

    You can spend years accusing the president of hiding his birth certificate, demand he prove he’s not a foreign-born Muslim, or years accusing Democratic members of congress of being part of the Communist Muslim Brotherhood plot to overthrow America with nary a word of public condemnation, but to suggest a proven liar and tax cheat like Mitt Romney has something to hide in his financial statements is the new McCarthyism?


    McCarthyism: When you dare imply rich white men running for president have something to hide.

    This word you keep using, Mr. Bob Schieffer, I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • nathkatun7

    The mainstream media are shamelessly giving Romney cover. Sen. Reid simply said that he was told by a credible source that Romney didn’t pay taxes. He did not himself assert that was the truth. Instead, he challenged Romney to release his tax returns to debunk the claim. Besides, It really doesn’t matter what Sen. Reid said. What matters is why, unlike other candidates, is Romney refusing to release his tax returns? This is what should be the central concern of the media if their role is to inform the public.

  • mdblanche

    “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.”

    No Bob, it’s not. They were being asked to prove a negative. All Romney has to do to permanently clear his name and publicly humiliate Reid is release his tax returns, just like every candidate since his own father has done. And yet he still won’t.

    In a related story, Bob Scheiffer is not comparable to Edward R. Morrow.

  • Bubble Genius

    Shieffer has it, as half-guv Palin says, back-asswards. With that view, Woodward and Bernstein were McCarthylike when they ran with the Watergate story.

  • nicole

    “This makes me want to violently shake someone.”

    You and me both. I have never seen a bigger bunch of bloody damn hypocrites on the national stage in my life.

    wah wah wah………bunch of damn crybabies.

    Oh, and let’s not forget that they collectively lied about a combat veteran’s record even though he came home from Viet Nam with a whole chest full of medals.


    Adding………Bob Schieffer gets on my last nerve anyway!

    • nathkatun7

      “Bob Schieffer gets on my last nerve anyway!” You are not alone. He was more interested in attacking Sen. Reid but showed absolutely no interest in exploring the possibility that Romney may not have paid taxes. Even if Sen. Reid divulged the name of the person who alleged that Romney paid no taxes, the result would be the same. That person would be the one attacked by the media and the Republicans as a liar. They would be demanding that the person who told Reid prove Romney paid no taxes, knowing fully well that because of privacy he can’t release someone else’s tax returns. Yet the person with evidence to prove or disprove the charge refuses to release it.

  • zirgar

    Liberal! Media! Bias!