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It is the early 1950s, and you are a reporter working for a major American newspaper. Your editor has asked you to write a story about the Senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, who has become a national prominence uncovering communists in the American government.
The challenge in this assignment is to work out how you are going to cover McCarthy. At the time, reporters were divided. Famous journalists like Edward R. Murrow challenged McCarthy, accusing him of lying to the American people. See, for example, this archived piece from the New York Times: (Links to an external site.)To attack McCarthy, however, was dangerous. He went after politicians, actors, and journalists. The House UnAmerican Committee agreed that journalists should be investigated for Communist sympathies. Many reporters afraid for their careers published McCarthy’s claims and went on to write articles supporting McCarthyism. You can find out more in this book review of Edward Alwwod’s Dark Days in the Newsroom: McCarthyism Aimed at the Press. (Links to an external site.)
What will you do? Will you expose McCarthy’s lies and unsavory methods to the American people and risk being accused of being a Communist? Or, will you put your career first and just write what you are told. Specifically, you should write a 250-500 word article on McCarthy. You should include relevant historical details about McCarthyism and include a bibliography. It is recommended that you base your journalism around a specific primary source.


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