It was on June 9, 1954, during the 30th day of the so-called Army-McCarthy hearings, when Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy was investigating the United States Army for Communist activities. Joseph Welch, the head counsel for the United States Army at that time, had had enough of McCarthy’s baseless accusations, endless witch-hunts and hyperbolic, partisan rhetoric, and called him out in front of Congress, and in front of the American people.
But Welch wasn’t the only one to offer insight to the American people who Joe McCarthy really was and what he was really up to. The media – particularly Edward R. Murrow, used Welch’s comment to out the Senator’s dirty and shameful tactics.
At the time, Edward R. Murrow was one of the most respected and influential names in the entire world of journalism. His integrity and willingness to call out McCarthy’s grandstanding has earned him a place of great honor in the history of journalism.
Back in the 1950’s, our media was required by law and FCC regulations to perform the “public service” of giving us real news.
As a result, journalists could tell the truth, and not just rehash the talking points handed out by the higher-ups in the morning meeting or handed down from the Party bosses.
The media was able to call out lawmakers like McCarthy, who had clearly overstepped his bounds, and wasted countless tax dollars and man-hours on personal vendettas and never-ending conspiracy witch-hunts.
Let’s fast forward to today.
Last Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder was testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, about the various so-called scandals that have plagued Washington in the last couple of weeks.
On that committee is Congressman Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, who has made it his mission in life to blame everything wrong in Washington on the Obama administration, and is now leading several McCarthy-esque hearings and witch-hunts.
Issa has been an exceptionally harsh critic of Attorney General Holder, and hasn’t been shy about slamming the Attorney General at every chance possible.
During Wednesday’s hearing, all the friction between Holder and Issa came to a head, when Holder accurately described Issa’s conduct while in Washington.
The heated exchange came while Issa was attacking President Obama’s Labor Secretary nominee Tom Perez and his time at the Department of Justice.
Issa was harassing Attorney General Holder about emails that Issa had requested in relation to Perez.
The Attorney General of the United States called the Congressman’s actions “inappropriate, “shameful” and “unacceptable” conduct for a member of Congress.
At any other time in the history of this nation, that moment and this remarkable exchange would have ended Congressman Issa’s career.
But it won’t.
That’s because the corporate-controlled media of today has barely made a mention of it.
Holder’s comments should have triggered a media firestorm over Congressman Issa and his time in Washington, but they didn’t. They should have been the front-page headline on the New York Times, but they weren’t. They should have led the evening TV newscasts, and instead were largely ignored.
And this isn’t the first time Issa has gotten a free pass.
This modern-day Joe McCarthy has continually flown under the radar of the mainstream corporate-controlled media.
If there was any journalistic integrity left in the so-called mainstream media, Congressman Issa would have been forced out of Washington long ago, and may never have made it to Capitol Hill in the first place.
Jon Perr over at Daily Kos has compiled Congressman Issa’s “Hall of Shame,” and it’s an amazing read.
There was the time in 2011 when Issa was leading the charge against the 9/11-responders health-care bill, which was eventually signed into law, after it had passed through Congress unanimously.
During his campaign to stop the bill, Issa said during a House subcommittee hearing that, “It’s very simple: I can’t vote for additional money for New York if I can’t see why it would be appropriate to do this every single time a similar situation happens, which quite frankly includes any urban terrorist. It doesn’t have to be somebody from al Qaeda. It can be someone who decides that they don’t like animal testing at one of our pharmaceutical facilities.”
Voting against health care for sick and dying 9/11 first-responders, Issa went on to suggest that the attacks on the World Trade Center were actually just plane crashes, and that all the carnage was a result of, “simply was an aircraft, residue of the aircraft and residue of the materials used to build this building.” Essentially, he said that 9/11 was nothing special, and neither were the first-responders. No big deal. Screw the cops, the firemen, and the volunteers. Let them die without a doctor.
Back in 2007, Issa hit another one of his career lows, when he attacked the families of contractors who worked for the now-disgraced private security turned mercenary firm Blackwater.
As Blackwater faced charges ranging from atrocities in Iraq to abandoning the families of its killed workers, Issa vehemently defended the company instead of the workers.
During February 2007 Blackwater hearings conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Issa attacked several women whose family members, all Blackwater employees, had been killed by Iraqi insurgents and dragged through the streets of Fallujah.
After the women testified, Issa said that, “Although I don’t think your testimony today is particularly germane to the oversight of this committee. I am deeply sorry for the losses that you’ve had…One question I have is, the opening statement, who wrote it?”
Issa also played an integral role in the Bush administration’s and then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ politically-motivated removal of 8 United States Attorneys.
And, in the case of one of those removed attorneys, Carol Lam, Issa allegedly helped to create the misinformation that was given as an excuse to the public after Lam had been dismissed.
But Congressman Issa isn’t just fond of sacking U.S attorneys for political motivations; he’s also very opposed to the Freedom of Information Act.
Back in 2011, Issa, under the ruse of wanting to make sure that federal agencies respond in a timely manner to FOIA requests, requested that 180 federal agencies release all of their electronic files containing the names of people who had requested to see documents, the date the requests were made, and the reasons for the requests.
Issa has apparently always been a hustler. Before Issa even started a career in politics, he had been arrested for felony car theft, and allegedly burned down the factory of his car security alarm company for the insurance money.
His company now makes car alarms in China, making Issa the second-richest man in the House of Representatives.
He hyped Enron’s take-down of California’s electric systems to get out Governor Gray Davis, spending over a million dollars of his own money on advertisements to destroy Davis’s governorship, planning to run against Davis in the recall election he helped make happen. He actually broke into public tears when he learned that Enron’s Ken Lay had secretly been working with Arnold Schwarzenegger to become governor and Schwarzenegger filed his papers.
From opposing FOIA requests, to enraging the people of New York, to his successfully riding the coattails of Enron to destroy governor Gray Davis, Darrell Issa has had quite the ethically challenged career and life.
And yet, despite all this, and all of the Congressman’s nakedly political actions, our corporate media has never seriously called him out or exposed him.
It’s time for the media to start telling the truth about the history, corruption, and raw, naked political ambition of this generation’s Joseph McCarthy, Congressman Darrell Issa.