Scott Whitlock writes in an Aug. 27 NewsBusters post:
Appearing on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, Monday, liberal MSNBC panelist Karen Finney angrily hung up on the host after he dismantled her claim that conservatives are modern day McCarthyites for opposing health care. Hewitt stopped Finney and demanded she explain her historical analogy.
As described by Politico, Hewitt pressed, "Did any communists infiltrate the United States government?" Finney squirmed, "I think if we go back to the McCarthy hearings, it’s pretty clear that he created a culture of paranoia and fear that people later recognized, they sort of bought into it and then recognized that it was absolutely misplaced." The former head of the Democratic National Committee even declined to answer this basic question: "Was Alger Hiss a communist?"
Refusing to be diverted, Hewitt needled, "Karen, Karen, I’m just a little talk show host, I’m not an MSNBC host, I just have history...I just want to know, do you think Alger Hiss was a communist?"
After Finney (see file photo at right) instructed her conservative host to "go ahead and name" Cold War-era communists, Hewitt retorted, "Can you?"
In fact, Hewitt was the one doing the diverting by insisting on talking about Alger Hiss instead of the subject at hand, Ted Cruz's inflammatory rhetoric. Media Matters documents what Whitlock won't about the Finney-Hewitt interview:
Instead of discussing Cruz's behavior, however, Hewitt decided to discuss the history of McCarthyism, ostensibly defending the Wisconsin senator.
"Was Alger Hiss a communist?" Hewitt asked. Finney responded, "I think that's distracting from the point I was trying to make."
Finney continued, "And the point I was trying to make was, you had Joe McCarthy was on a mission to root out communism in the government, and he did it in such a way that created a hysteria that was very unhealthy for this country. Do you really disagree with me on that?"
Hewitt refused to engage with Finney's question and refused to discuss the damage McCarthy had done, just like he refused to acknowledge the damage to our discourse caused by Ted Cruz's behavior. This is after Finney explicitly stated, "Obviously, spying on this country and betraying this country is absolutely wrong. Of course it is."
Why shouldn't a guest hang up on a radio host who refuses to have an honest conversation? Whitlock doesn't explain.