NBC’s Chuck Todd has had it with politicians and commentators inaccurately comparing current events to McCarthyism and on Thursday’s “Meet the Press Daily,” he broke down why.
“Tonight, I’m obsessed with a term I’ve been hearing a lot, one that’s been bandied about without much honesty or care,” he said. Todd then rolled clips of political personalities including Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Harris Faulkner name-dropping Joe McCarthy in coverage of current events like the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
“McCarthyism is an enduring legacy of Republican senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin,” Todd said. “He led a systematic campaign in the early ’50s, accusing people of being communist sympathizers, dragging them in front of cameras for unethical hearings that were merely political spectacles, accusing them of treason without a shred of real evidence, holding up lists without anything on them. McCarthy’s purported goal was to root out communism in American society. What it accomplished instead was creating a national climate of fear.”
He noted that some of McCarthy’s tactics — like “attempts to silence the opposition by calling them unpatriotic,” levying accusations without fact and discrediting journalists — are still in play in modern politics. The clips he rolled, however, showed Trump and GOP Sen. John Kennedy doing those things.
“Some believe McCarthyism was about the Soviet Union and communists: external threats, but it wasn’t,” Todd explained. “It was about the damage this nation can inflict upon itself when we lose sight of our past and our principles, when we succumb to our basest instincts, when we favor fear over fact.”
McCarthyism was about power and imposing fear, he said, before adding, “It’s wrong and we all need to say so.”
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 5, 2019