Below is an excerpt from a piece in the Spectator by Peregrine Worsthorne. It’s a reminder that nothing changes and that we cannot trust the press. This was more damaging in the times to which the article refers, because there was no facility to comment or to quickly check the facts both of which we can now do thanks to the Internet.
I think it was the Hoover experience all over again. I had actually talked to Senator McCarthy — which is more than most of my Washington colleagues had done — and I wanted everyone to know that he had made much more sense than his detractors recognised. As a matter of fact I still think so. Once the Cold War against communism had begun in earnest, as it just had, it really was a bit of a scandal that the Truman establishment, in charge of prosecuting that war, continued to employ so many former communist sympathisers, just as it would have been a scandal in 1940, once America had come into the war against Germany, if the Washington establishment had gone on employing erstwhile Nazi sympathisers. In other words, Joe McCarthy had a trenchant point. Unfortunately for me, however, the point was not only unacceptable in the Oval Office; it was utterly unacceptable to the editor of the Times, a dyed-in-the-wool liberal called Sir William Haley who had formerly been director-general of the BBC, and who wrote to say that my job in Washington was not to find excuses for Senator McCarthy but to condemn him.