New McCarthyism

Petition: Remove Michele Bachmann from the House Intelligence Committee

Sign the petition to Speaker Boehner! Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann should be removed from her seat on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence after a series of irresponsible allegations against U.S. government employees.

PFAW Calls on Speaker Boehner to Remove Michele Bachmann from Intelligence Committee

Washington, DC -- People For the American Way is calling on House Speaker John Boehner to remove Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and two other members from their seats on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence after a series of irresponsible allegations against U.S. government employees.

Intelligence Committee members Bachmann, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and Rep. Thomas Rooney were among the five Republican representatives to sign a letter to federal agencies baselessly alleging that a number of public servants, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin, have ties to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. The letter relied largely on phony information peddled by anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney.

Last week, Speaker Boehner called the accusations “pretty dangerous,” but refused to say whether he’d remove Bachmann and the others from the Intelligence Committee. Abedin has reportedly been placed under police protection after receiving a threat over the weekend.

“Michele Bachmann has never been a model of responsibility, but this latest attack is one step too far,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Members of the House Intelligence Committee are entrusted with classified information that affects the safety and security of all Americans. That information should not be in the hands of anyone with such a disregard for honesty, misunderstanding of national security, and lack of respect for her fellow public servants.

“Speaker Boehner was right to call out Rep. Bachmann’s dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric. Now he should act on those words.”

PFAW’s Right Wing Watch has put together a brief history of Rep. Bachmann's conspiracy theories.

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Allen West, the Manchurian Candidate?

Rep. Allen West did his best to channel Joseph McCarthy in a Palm City, Florida town hall. In response to a question about “card-carrying Marxists” in Congress, West said there are between 78 and 81 Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party.

Progressive Organizations Criticize King for Targeting Muslims

A group of over 50 progressive organizations, including People For the American Way, sent a letter to Rep. Peter King yesterday expressing concern over King’s plan to hold hearings targeting American Muslims.

Congress Overcomes Right Wing Attacks to Pass Historic Health Care Legislation

Last night, Congress passed historic health care reform legislation, extending coverage to over 30 million Americans and fulfilling a major promise made by President Obama on the campaign trail.

People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan issued the following statement:

(P)reviewing the Right-Wing Playbook on Immigration Reform

There is near-universal agreement that America's immigration system is not working well. Unfortunately, the last major effort to achieve reform was derailed by a campaign grounded in fear, stereotypes, and a divisive nativism that is unworthy of America's ideals.

Has Liz Cheney No Sense of Decency?

Liz Cheney's group "Keep America Safe" is behind an ad that demonstrates the resurgence of McCarthy-like tactics among right-wing activists.

Fight the Right!

They said the Right was dead. We knew they were wrong.

Monitoring, Exposing, and Countering the Right in 2009

Following the 2008 election, and the Right’s drubbing at the polls, many people suggested that the Right was dead. Some even said that People For the American Way could declare victory and go home. But we knew better. Despite our optimism at the inauguration of Barack Obama, People For knew that the Right remained a grave threat, with its infrastructure intact, its funders unbowed, and its extremists undaunted

Rise of the New McCarthyism: How Right Wing Extremists Try to Paralyze Government Through Ideological Smears and Baseless Attacks

Today, Joseph McCarthy’s ideological heirs in the Republican Party and right-wing media are using the language and tactics of McCarthy to stir fears that the nation is being destroyed by enemies from within. Republican Members of Congress and other GOP officials frequently act as an "amen chorus" to the far right’s demagogues or stay silent, hoping to reap political gain from the attacks on President Obama, administration officials and nominees, congressional democrats, and even military leaders.

Report: Rise of the New McCarthyism

People For the American Way today released its latest "Right Wing Watch: In Focus" report, "Rise of the New McCarthyism." The document examines the far right's adoption of strategies pioneered by Senator Joe McCarthy during his anti-communist witch hunts in the 1950s.

Memo: Have they no decency?

We are seeing one witch hunt after another led by right-wing opinion leaders, media outlets, organizations and even members of Congress. They pursue personal smear campaigns, grasping at straws to create "guilt by association" and challenge the legitimacy, allegiances and patriotism of their opponents.

Right Wing Attacks Against Kevin Jennings Put Politics Above Student Safety

People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan today spoke out in support of Kevin Jennings, President Obama's choice to head the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools (OSDFS.)

Kevin Jennings Will Keep Schools Safe for All

n response to Right Wing criticism of Kevin Jennings, who was appointed by President Obama to head the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools (OSDFS), People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan said, "It's a bad sign for our civic conversation that an educator who has spent so long working for the best interests of all students faces such vehement political attacks."

Free speech, Irresponsible Speech, and the Climate of Intolerance in 2009

Shortly after anti-government terrorist Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, President Bill Clinton urged Americans to challenge those who use powerful political and media platforms to promote the kind of inflammatory falsehoods that poison public discourse, make civil conversation impossible, and can ultimately lead to violence. The reaction from right-wing leaders of the day was sadly predictable and by now familiar: they claimed that Clinton was seeking to "silence" voices of dissent, even though his speech affirmed that the First Amendment protects both the purveyors of irresponsible speech and those who challenge him.
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