Covering McCarthyism: How “The Christian Science Monitor” Handled Joseph R. McCarthy 1950–1954
Strout, Lawrence. Covering McCarthyism: How “The Christian Science Monitor” Handled Joseph R. McCarthy 1950–1954. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Lawrence Strout, a professor and researcher who focused on broadcast and print journalism, begins with The Christian Science Monitor’s purpose, “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” Acknowledging the respect The Christian Science Monitor had particularly in the 1930s–1950s, Lawrence Strout notes the difference in public opinion regarding The Christian Science Monitor coverage of the McCarthy era (1950–1954). With free access to the private papers of Richard Strout, a distant relative of Lawrence Strout and Monitor reporter who covered the McCarthy subcommittee hearings, Lawrence Strout seeks to get inside The Christian Science Monitor’s internal debates and decision-making at that time. Lawrence Strout documents the build-up of fear of Communist subversives operating inside the government and liberal groups, which led to blacklists, ‘red-baiting’ and the equating of liberalism with socialism and communism—all of which provided fertile ground for McCarthy’s public-seeking crusade. With step-by-step attention to detail, Lawrence Strout describes each management and The Christian Science Monitor response and reaction—mostly in the columns of Richard Strout and in The Christian Science Monitor editorials. In the final analysis, Lawrence Strout surmises that the ‘conservative’ The Christian Science Monitor sometimes buckled under pressure—at one point temporarily suspending Richard Strout from covering McCarthy. However, for the most part The Christian Science Monitor, from the very beginning, did not abdicate its responsibility, but “consistently over a five-year period attacked McCarthy’s methods” (147) while reporting with restraint and added perspective.
ISBN-13 (Hardcover): 978-0313310911