Larry Tye, the author of the book “Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy,” in the Washington Post recently examined the McCarthy era in light of our current political turmoil: Five Myths about McCarthyism.
The media’s neglect of the direct line connecting Trump to Joe McCarthy and McCarthyism via McCarthy’s chief aide Roy Cohn is a major factor in the media’s nurturing of Trump. The media ought to be reminding us of it daily—since Trump employs McCarthy/Cohn’s tactics daily. But we are left with a media that glosses over the truth by leaving it up to rare commentary like this to make the point.
As Trump in 2017 began to be engulfed by the Stormy Daniels Affair, Russiagate, and AG Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation, Trump shouted “Where’s my Roy Cohn.” Cohn had been one of the young Donald Trump’s most influential mentors, teaching him loads about how to be a ruthless, immoral con artist and flim-flam man.
The media briefly noted Trump’s wailing for his old adviser—and then dropped the story. Why? It was one of the most revealing incidents in Trump’s political career. It proved conclusively that Trump lived in the sewer of our political life and would use lies, demagoguery, libel, slander, and insults to exercise power. Three years prove what a devoted disciple of McCarthy and Cohn that Trump is.
And here’s the other aspect of the story the media continue to ignore. The current Republican chain of command runs from McCarthy, to Cohn, to Trump—and then directly to 99 percent of all Republican office holders and candidates. We are literally living in the era of neo-McCarthyism.