Watch: West, Murrow, McCarthy

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In this week’s Bill Moyers Essay, spurred by Rep. Allen West’s recently professed belief that 78-81 members of Congress are members of the Communist Party, Bill recalls the early days of the Cold War, when Senator Joseph McCarthy “seized on fear and ignorance to announce his discovery of a conspiracy within: Communist subversives who had infiltrated the government.” Moyers also remembers how legendary broadcaster Edward R. Murrow bravely exposed McCarthy’s tactics on the CBS program, See It Now. Below, watch at greater length those historical and recent moment to which he refers, and which should never be forgotten.

At a town hall meeting in Jensen Beach, Florida on April 10, 2012, an audience member asked Rep. Allen West how many members of the Congress are “card-carrying Marxists or International Socialists.”

Later, Rep. West explained his response to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien — and stood by it.

Edward R. Murrow dedicated a full episode of his CBS program, See It Now, to McCarthy. “This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve,” Murrow told his audience. “We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.”

Later that same year, for 36 days on live TV, during Senate hearings on charges McCarthy had made questioning the loyalty of the U.S. Army, Boston lawyer Joseph Welch famously asked: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

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