Talk:McCarthyism

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Good article McCarthyism has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
March 17, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
February 14, 2008 Good article reassessment Kept
Current status: Good article

I dispute the premise of this article[edit]

It is wrong of the article to claim that "McCarthyism" means "the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence", because "McCarthyism" means something narrower than that. McCarthyism is specifically the particular instance of that practice that occurred in the U.S. in the 1950s. It is not a general name for the practice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.146.67.252 (talk) 21:17, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps you can come back after you convince English dictionaries {[1], [2], [3], and [4]) to remove the broader meaning from their definitions. Fat&Happy (talk) 01:37, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
OK, but in that case perhaps point out that in modern times, making the accusation of McCarthyism is itself an act of McCarthyism, it is an attempt to smear by labelling. Doesn't matter if you are correct in making the accusation, because many of the accused victims of the original McCarthy were, in fact, Communists, so the form fits perfectly 69.201.168.196 (talk) 01:50, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Are you saying that being a Communist automatically makes one guilty of "disloyalty, subversion and treason"? HiLo48 (talk) 02:07, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
"many of the accused victims of the original McCarthy were, in fact, Communists" Fascinating. Perhaps you'd care to tell us some of the names of principal Communists exposed by Senator McCarthy. Joegoodfriend (talk) 05:05, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

I'd be happy to. Gustavo Duran, Harlow Shapley, and Philip and Mary Jane Keeney were four State Department employees named by McCarthy who turned out to have had Soviet connections. See Arthur Herman's Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator, Chapter 5. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michaelmartind (talkcontribs) 17:42, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

LOL. You can't reason with communists about communism. The ironic thing is that this, "and characterized by heightened political repression as well as a campaign spreading fear of influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents," perfectly describes what the US mainstream media is doing these days with their campaign spreading fear that the Russians rigged the last US election. The current crackdown in Europe against the ill-defined term "Islamophobia" is a perfect example of McCarthyism, in the general sense, but communists would never never admit that, because it is only McCarthyism when communists are the target. Also, another rebuttal to JoeGoodFriend would be, "Name some people victimized by Joe McCarthy who were NOT communists."77Mike77 (talk) 14:29, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Venona and Soviet Intelligence Files[edit]

Both the US Army's Venona files and later released Soviet intelligence files revealed that some of McCarthy's "victims" were in fact Soviet agents. This article needs to acknowlege that fact. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 198.229.216.31 (talk) 18:36, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Please provide a source for your claim. --OuroborosCobra (talk) 23:05, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
The wikipedia has an article on Venona, and it's linked at the bottom of this article. That article is sourced. I think Venona should have its own section in this article; I think it's NPOV that it is barely mentioned in the main article. It's important to the overall content of the subject. 223.198.51.129 (talk) 03:15, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
I am not aware of a single Soviet Agent who was found through McCarthy's efforts, nor of anyone of whom he was first accuser and who was later proven to be an Agent through Venona. Joegoodfriend (talk) 01:44, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
You should have seen John Earl Haynes vehemently deny the question—just a question, not a charge—that J Edgar Hoover may have passed VENONA tips to McCarthy while they were betting at the race track. Haynes emphasized that Hoover was very security conscious & would never have leaked such information to someone like McCarthy. So then the question becomes, just how did McCarthy get his "leads?" As far as I know the record is pretty silent to that question, but clearly the finger points in one direction. DEddy (talk) 20:30, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Why Hollywood Blacklist?[edit]

Why is the Hollywood blacklist included in this article? McCarthy had nothing to do with it, and it started in the late 1940's before he even arrived on the scene. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.48.54.192 (talk) 17:19, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

You can have McCarthyism without McCarthy. Yours, GeorgeLouis (talk) 01:53, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Great introduction[edit]

So I guess we're just going to ignore the fact that this Western ideology of anti-communism led to elections of corrupt presidents, to invasions against 'communist' independence fighters, aid to or leadership of coups against democratic leaders and equal rights revolutionaries, and the frequently extremely poor judgment and blind support of any anti-communist dictators or groups, directly causing the deaths of many millions while bringing the world in disarray and almost causing a Nuclear Holocaust? I don't know who started using the term for just any bold or paranoid accusation but that's like declaring the word Holocaust to now mean just any act of discrimination. No matter how many English sources you can find claiming it, all it does is show the systemic Western and pro-American-British bias present from the Cold War. For every American newspaper, try a Chinese or Russian one. I don't think they would agree with this whitewashing. Anti-communism has always been closest to Nazism, and don't forget that these two countries suffered worse and lost more than anyone else during WW2. Bataaf van Oranje (talk) 23:28, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Well, I actually have seen "holocaust" used to refer to certain acts of discrimination, albeit they are typically satirical. "Holocaust" is a pretty general term used to describe any sort of mass genocide these days, however, hence Armenian Holocaust and the disambiguation page for "holocaust". With McCarthyism, its general usage (and it is used generally in the sense you've noted) is probably meant to reflect on the fact that McCarthy's policies were pretty bold and prejudicial, and incited a sort of mass hysteria commonly known as Red Scare, in particular the Second Red Scare. Having said that, this talk page isn't really here for the discussion of the term's usage in common parlance. Wikipedia has simply documented how the term has been used.
Are you proposing any change in particular? Or are you just critical of how the term has been used in modern discourse? If you have a particular change to propose, one which you believe improves the neutrality of the article while not skewing it in the opposite direction or purporting opinions as facts, then feel free to do so. If you are just critical of how it is used in common speech, however, then this talk page isn't really the place to voice it.
As an aside, this issue appears to have already been pointed out in the talk section above. –Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 23:52, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
Please make specific article content proposals if you have any.

CPUSA under soviet control?[edit]

"Proponents of McCarthyism claimed that the CPUSA was so completely under Moscow's control. ... This view is supported by recent documentation from the archives of the KGB[43] as well as post-war decodes of wartime Soviet radio traffic from the Venona Project,[44] showing the CPUSA as having been completely controlled from Moscow."

I don't have access to the source material right now but I am wondering the veracity of this claim. There was no doubt correspondence, but the CPUSA being under *complete* control of the Soviets seems unlikely. 24.6.157.80 (talk) 16:27, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

Changed the text to documentation, showing that Moscow provided financial support to the CPUSA and had significant influence on CPUSA policies. The idea that the USSR had complete control over the CPUSA is POV and I think groundless. Joegoodfriend (talk) 20:44, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

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Rewrite of article[edit]

The article has been extensively rewritten by a new account. I'm finding that unfortunately there is simply so much that simply is not correct, such as excessive "reinventing the wheel," overuse of subheaders, improper italics and boldface, POV wording, uncited text, overlarge images and overlong captions, excessive use of "pull" quotes, and above all, massive, massive excessive detail and a total abandonment of summary style, that I've had to do some selective reverting. I'm going to do the best I can but may have to simply roll back. Bold edits are find but discussion is not a bad idea either when one totally rewrites an article. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 15:00, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Dear Figureofnine:

Thanks, for sharing your opinions, but deleting sourced text contradicts most everything you claim in your edit summaries. Abide your advice; play nice, your exaggerated language about the subject indicates what? Most of the corrections I effected were the removal of weasel worded paragraphs that hid the facts of this matter.

Regards,

Chas. Caltrop (talk) 18:18, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Hopeless. Am starting an RfC. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 19:30, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't think either authentichistory.com or History News Network qualify as reliable sources so I've reverted those edits. I've returned the article to status quo ante until the RfC is ended. I hope a lesson is being learned. Chris Troutman (talk) 20:58, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
@Chris troutman: I just wanted to mention that the version to which you reverted was actually not the status quo ante and in fact contained a tremendous amount of POV material added by the new account. I've reverted back to the "Version A" which I trust was your intent. I hope you don't mind. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 21:50, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
@Figureofnine: It was my intent; I don't mind. Chris Troutman (talk) 22:31, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. You know. It's really quite remarkable. 26,000 characters, which is about 6,000 words, were added to the article without word one on the talk page, with the exception of the smarminess above. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 23:42, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Rfc: Rewrite of article[edit]

There is unanimous consensus in favor of version A. Several concerns were raised about version B, primarily that it did not present a sufficiently neutral encyclopedic tone. Several editors noted portions of version B may be valuable. Integrating or adapting portions of B into A is allowed and encouraged, where the result is in compliance with Policy and improves the article. Alsee (talk) 05:19, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The article has been extensively rewritten without discussion on the talk page. I have concerns about summary style and excessive detail. The versions in question are:

A) The preexisting version.[5]

B) The article as rewritten.[6] Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 19:30, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  • Comment I believe that Version A, while by no means perfect, is far superior. Version B is written like an academic paper, is POV, pedantic, excessively detailed, and makes no attempt to follow WP:MOS. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 19:32, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Version A. Among other issues, Version B has WP:NPOV problems in use of terms like "Communist perfidy" and "Private Thought Police." There are parts of it that might be good additions, but on the whole, no. BlackcurrantTea (talk) 20:25, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
  • I prefer Version A. As I've said before I don't think new editors have much purpose editing articles rated GA or better. I agree that the changes Chas. Caltrop have introduced are not Wikipedia's summary style, violate MOS:BOLD among others, and generally introduce a point-of-view. A wholesale rollback is called for. Caltrop is welcome to discuss his proposed changes as there isn't consensus for what he's trying to accomplish. Chris Troutman (talk) 20:48, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Mostly A -- I think version B has some good points that would be good. Negative for B in the lead does not summarize the article presented and is giving phrases that are judgemental and emotive conclusions rather than simply stating factual events or doing a just follow the cites conveying the material of cites with due WP:weight. (In particular "demagoguery", "unethical", "undemocratic social control".) Positive for B in the leads second paragraph text has 'fellow travelers' and 'witch hunts' at a high level of visibility, and the closing lead of version B also relates things better than the abstract list of things in version A. I also think version B goes astray with the "Contemporary McCarthyism" section WPW:OFFTOPIC dragging in that someone of no particular relevance to McCarthy or great prominence in the world used the term as a vague pejorative, which is also not WP:COMMON for those modern topics. Just stick to the historical period and meaning of the term thank you, not about everywhere people sling it. Markbassett (talk) 00:37, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
  • A is better, because of the non-neutral wording and tone introduced by Caltrop, who has added words such as "demagoguery", "reckless" and "witch hunts", and the assumption that a police state exists in the US. Binksternet (talk) 01:23, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
  • A is better, but still 'pulls its punches' to a UK reader, 'characterized by heightened political repression against communists' I thought the whole point was that most of those accused and punished were not and never had meaningfully been 'communists', knowing someone who had once been to a left-of-centre charity meeting 20 years before was enough. Dammit even Charlie Chaplin was forced to leave the country and had to resort to subterfuge to take some of his money with him. I know we are meant to be neutral, but parts of the first para give a wholly false impression. Pincrete (talk) 22:58, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Ignore the heat in my prev. I see the article goes on in much better vein, and I have marginally altered that sentence. Pincrete (talk) 22:12, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
  • A - While version B provides some improvements to the page, it does have some WP:POV undertones and is a bit too detailed. Version A is more neutral. I suggest we pull what is good from version B piece by piece and add it into version A rather than one mass revision. Meatsgains (talk) 23:54, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
  • A Version B adds some useful material, but overall its tone is not appropriate, its language dense, and it is not quite NPOV. Vanamonde93 (talk) 05:54, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
  • A, although some elements of the B are arguably worthy of inclusion. Midnightblueowl (talk) 20:34, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

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"Trump" titled section[edit]

The 'Trump' titled section does not belong in this article in it's current state as it purely sites opinion pieces from one political camp. McCarthyism has been tossed around against both sides of the political spectrum. It could be an interesting parallel to include only if the writer is neutral. RCharlutte (talk) 15:05, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

Agree. And the columnists quoted were not comparing Trump to McCarthyism, but to McCarthy. Ironically, the charge of McCarthyism was used in the election against Clinton supporters, for saying that Trump was an agent of the Kremlin and that the Russians had rigged the election. TFD (talk) 16:59, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

@TFD Well said. McCarthyism has devolved into a word that communists use whenever they experience widespread criticism. The original meaning, i.e. Joe McCarthy's sometimes overzealous program to stop the spread of communism in the US, has been completely lost. (It is also seldom mentioned that Joe McCarthy's program was actually so mild and innocuous that it was completely unsuccessful.)77Mike77 (talk) 14:42, 11 March 2017 (UTC)