I Read the News Today, Oh Boy . . .

In today’s magnificent free-world marketplace of ideas and information, there seems to be room for almost anything, even in the stodgy old mainstream media. Anything, that is, except things that might affect the Real World Order of wealth and power. Get too close to the top of the political food chain, and you can hear the gates slam shut all over Medialand.

For example, in the early 1950s, the American elite forged a new anti-communist consensus that would justify a permanent state of war for the next 40 years. This took work. After all, the adult population of the ’50s had witnessed the inhumanity of a collapsed capitalism in the 1930s. For many of that generation, various forms of socialism had appeared as attractive options. Then the members of that same generation waged a prolonged and heroic war against fascism, a war in which Communist Russia was our stalwart ally. In this work communists were primarily seen as domestic dissidents—extreme or eccentric, maybe—but part of the team nonetheless.

To make communism the devil of a new cosmology required some reprogramming of the popular mind. Among other things, communists became defined as foreign agents to be searched out and expunged. They were not dissidents, but spies and traitors. The 1953 execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg was the grand centerpiece of this reprogramming campaign.

The Rosenbergs, Communist Party members in New York City, were accused of passing to the Russians "atomic secrets" that played a key role in the construction of the first Soviet bomb in 1949. At the Rosenbergs’ treason trial, the judge held them personally responsible for the deaths of American soldiers then fighting communism in Korea.

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 1997
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