News Release

Neo-McCarthyite Push in Congress and Media

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wapowebNORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive [at] gmail.com
Author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, Solomon just wrote the piece “Media Complicity Is Key to Blacklisting Websites,” which states: “We still don’t have any sort of apology or retraction from the Washington Post for promoting ‘The List’ — the highly dangerous blacklist that got a huge boost from the newspaper’s fawning coverage on November 24. The project of smearing 200 websites with one broad brush wouldn’t have gotten far without the avid complicity of high-profile media outlets, starting with the Post.

On Thursday — a week after the Post published its front-page news article hyping the blacklist that was put out by a group of unidentified people called PropOrNot — I sent a petition statement to the newspaper’s executive editor Martin Baron.

“‘Smearing is not reporting,’ the RootsAction petition says. … The reply came from the newspaper’s vice president for public relations, Kristine Coratti Kelly, who thanked me ‘for reaching out to us’ before presenting the Post’s response. … But that damage-control response was as full of holes as the news story it tried to defend.

“For one thing, PropOrNot wasn’t just another source for the Post’s story. As The New Yorker noted in a devastating article on Dec. 1, the story ‘prominently cited the PropOrNot research.’ …

“President Harry Truman issued an executive order in March 1947 to establish ‘loyalty’ investigations in every agency of the federal government. Joe McCarthy and the era named after him were soon to follow.”

Solomon is founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of RootsAction.org, which just launched another action regarding related new legislation: “Block Creation of Neo-McCarthyite Committee“; see below for more information.

YVES SMITH, webber [at] auroraadvisors.com
Smith is founder of Naked Capitalism — one of the outlets targeted by PropOrNot. She recently wrote the pieces “PropOrNot’s Grandiose Fabrications,” “We Demand That the Washington Post Retract Its Propaganda Story Defaming Naked Capitalism and Other Sites and Issue an Apology” and the satirical “We Launch PropOrNot.Org To Identify Inept Propagandists and School Amplifiers Like the Washington Post on How to Spot Them.”

SUE UDRY, sue [at] bordc.org
Udry is executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee / Defending Dissent Foundation. She said today: “Last week, the House passed a dangerous bill that threatens freedom of the press in the United States. The Intelligence Authorization Act includes a provision that creates a Committee to counter Russian ‘media manipulation,’ ‘disinformation,’ and other covert measures in the U.S.”

See the just-launched RootsAction national action, which notes: “The mandate of the Committee is extremely broad, including ‘such other duties as the President may designate…’ Those words are a blank check that could lead to blacklists or a witch hunt reminiscent of the McCarthy era. …”

Added Udry: “‘Fake news’ based on lies and deception is frustrating and a real problem, but a government committee made up of people appointed by the Attorney General and heads of the FBI, Department of Defense, and National Intelligence, is most definitely NOT the answer.”