Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. “McCarthyism: Past, Present, Future”

Firing Line Videos, Hoover Institution, taped on May 16, 1966, uploaded to YouTube on June 2, 2010.

Guest: Leo Cherne


Mr. Buckley seeks, with his old friend and adversary Mr. Cherne, to explore, as he puts it, why Joseph McCarthy’s “oversimplifications were judged to be almost unique and highly damaging . . . whereas the contemporary oversimplifications of, say, a Harry Truman, or, before that, of a Franklin Roosevelt, or subsequently of a Lyndon Johnson, are not seen as that offensive.” A rich conversation, full of detail. Cherne: “Well, to suggest, for example, that General Marshall lied about his whereabouts on the morning of Pearl Harbor, and to suggest, as Senator McCarthy did, that in fact he was meeting Maksim Litvinov at the Washington airport when in fact this was not true–this is not oversimplification in the normal language of political discourse.”