With the recent revelation that the Senate will look into Jill Stein in its Russia investigation, Glenn Greenwald, who has characterized this constitutional crisis as a Deep State conspiracy, went into full meltdown mode on Twitter, releasing one hysterical missive against the Democrats and the Left after another (all posted as screenshots because he has blocked):
I covered much of the evidence against Stein last July, when her name first arose in conjunction with the investigation. Her actions, which included attending a dinner in Moscow with Putin and Michael Flynn, and having a Kremlin-friendly foreign policy platform, were suspicious both then and now. The Buzzfeed article claims that investigators will probe her appearances on RT, which include a Green Party debate hosted by the network. But Glenn Greenwald will have none of it. If you dare question anyone on the left of doing ill, you are a McCarthyite! You’re exactly like Joseph McCarthy! Which begs the question – does Glenn Greenwald even know what McCarthyism is?
Senator Joseph McCarthy was a Wisconsin Republican who came to prominence by accusing State Department employees of Communism. While there had been some Communist infiltrators into the government at this time, McCarthy took these accusations to a whole other level, claiming he had a list of more than 200 known Communists working in the government (the number of which dwindled depending on when you asked him.) He created an atmosphere of fear, turning people against each other, and bullying anyone who dared question him. Many of the people he accused had their lives ruined, and were unable to get work afterwards. When he died in 1957, he had been censured by the Senate, and disgraced in the public eye.
The term McCarthyism, coined by political cartoonist Herblock in 1950, is defined in Merriam-Webster as:
“A mid-20th century political attitude characterized chiefly by opposition to elements held to be subversive and by the use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges; broadly: defamation of character or reputation through such tactics.”
This should be easy enough to understand, since Donald Trump has trafficked in McCarthyism from the moment he descended the gold escalator in 2015 and called Mexicans “rapists.” He has accused his enemies of treason, suggesting the DOJ investigate Hillary Clinton, and even used the term himself against Barack Obama in March:
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
It’s not surprising that Donald Trump would use McCarthyism to his own ends. After all, his mentor was Roy Cohn, the lawyer who started out as a protege of McCarthy’s during the infamous Army-McCarthy hearings (when Judge Joe Welch famously asked the Senator, “Have you no decency?”). Trump is the living embodiment of McCarthyism, and probably the most nationally hated politician since the Senator from Wisconsin (sorry, Ted Cruz.)
For Greenwald to compare what happened in the 1950s to what’s happening now in the Russia investigation is a deliberate misunderstanding of historical context, and a smear against those who actually have legitimate questions about both the far right and the far left’s involvement in the Russian hacking scandal. Nobody who’s been brought in for further questioning has done so out of baseless accusations, the way McCarthy and his colleagues on the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) did. Does Greenwald know what happened to those people? Many of the activists and artists caught up in the madness back then may have only attended one Communist rally in their lives, but the Republicans thought that was enough to drag them through the mud. Some went to prison, some named names to save their skins, and others took their own lives. Nobody is accusing Jill Stein of being a Communist, even though her politics are very to the left, and attending a meeting where she sat across from Vladimir Putin deserves much more scrutiny than whether or not a Hollywood actor or low-level government agent read The Communist Manifesto.
Greenwald should apologize for these remarks, but of course he won’t. Like Trump whom he pretends to criticize but usually goes easy on, Greenwald goes out of his way to ignore evidence of collusion with the Russian government and prefers to spend his time attacking Democrats for daring to cry foul over the 2016 election. The idea that questioning those with ties to the Kremlin is tantamount to a new Cold War, or to the return of McCarthyism, should make people realize that Greenwald is not journalist and not a responsible political commentator. At long last, sir, have you no sense of decency?
Please consider becoming a paid member of The Daily Banter and supporting us in holding the Trump administration to account. Your help is needed more than ever, and is greatly appreciated.