Smear Campaign

“The tone and tendency of liberalism . . . is to attack the institutions of the
country under the name of reform and to make war on the manners and
customs of the people under the pretext of progress.”

—Benjamin Disraeli

On April 14, 1996, the Washington Post published a 2,700-word article by liberal journalist Nicholas von Hoffman entitled “Was McCarthy Right about the Left?  The Reds Were Under the Bed While the Liberals Looked Away.”  The article did not quite say that “McCar-thy was right,” as some people soon claimed, but it came close.  The occasion for Von Hoffman’s piece and its reversal of half a century of liberal demonization of Joe McCarthy was the recent appearance of a large body of evidence (including the release in 1995 of the “Venona” documents—transcripts of encrypted communications between the Soviets and their intelligence services in this country in the 1940’s that the U.S. government intercepted and deciphered) that confirms the truth of much of what McCarthy and other anticommunists of the 1950’s alleged.

As a result of this evidence, it is now almost universally acknowledged that the Communist Party in the United States was a highly disciplined tool subsidized and controlled by the Soviet Union.  Up to...

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