On February 9, 1950, U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy told a crowd of about 300 supporters in Ohio that the State Department was “thoroughly infested with communists.” He then, quite dramatically, produced a piece of paper that he described as a list of 57 known communists and communist sympathizers.
Although some of McCarthy's concerns about communism infesting the American government would eventually be validated, the simple fact is that there was no list – there is no evidence that the list McCarthy produced ever existed.
The point of brandishing that piece of paper was to pretend he had concrete and direct evidence of wrongdoing, to smear without facts by pretending he had facts. Whatever you might think of McCarthy's intentions, and many believe history has proven him correct, there is no doubt in my mind that many of his tactics were despicable.
On Sunday's Meet The Press, we witnessed something even worse, because this time the media appeared to play along with what can only be described as McCarthyistic red-baiting.
During a lengthy interview, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff about the lack of proof surrounding the six-month old claim that President Trump and/or his campaign team colluded with the Russians in some improper way.
Schiff responded with his own version of the "McCarthy List."
"There is circumstantial evidence of collusion, there is direct evidence, I think, of deception. … The American people have a right to know, and in order to defend ourselves, we need to know if the circumstantial evidence of collusion and direct evidence of deception is indicative of more."
"Direct evidence of deception."
Schiff said this twice.
And what was Todd's follow-up after Schiff made his earth-shaking charge of a presidential cover-up with respect to Russia?
There was none.
Instead, he changed the subject to the Intelligence Committee's witness list with a line of questions meant to make the Republicans look like they might be engaging in their own cover-up.
In other words, Todd let Schiff's red-baiting charge hang out there … you know, just like McCarthy's list.
Watch for yourself; it all starts at right about the 3:40 mark:
Forget about journalism or even being a journalist; as a regular, everyday human being, who doesn't naturally and reflexively respond with curiosity about something as dramatic as "direct evidence"?
In my mind, it required restraint not to ask what this "direct evidence" bombshell is.
All of this, of course, naturally brings us to the test our national media always fails. Does anyone believe for even a moment that if this was a Republican – say, Trey Gowdy floating "direct evidence" of a cover-up with respect to Hillary Clinton and Benghazi – that Todd wouldn't have immediately seized on those words to demand Gowdy put up or shut up?
But Schiff is allowed to flash his "McCarthy List" without challenge … and do so twice. That way nothing can upset the Narrative that "direct evidence" is out there against Trump.
And believe me, our Fake News media is running with it.
Whatever Todd's intent was, even if it was a brain fart, the end result is a Congressman and a Sunday show host teaming up for an outrageous and disgraceful act of naked McCarthyism.
Fun Fact: Three of four of our Sunday new shows are hosted by former Democrat operatives (Todd, CNN's Jake Tapper, and ABC's George Stephanopoulos). The fourth, John Dickerson, once wrote for the leftwing Slate and advised Obama to "pulverize…destroy…delegitimize" the Republican Party.
The entire game is rigged, folks.
And it needs to be figuratively burnt to the ground.