The obituary columns on Nicholas von Hoffman that seem in Friday’s editions of the New York Times and the Washington Post have one obtrusive omission: neither mentions that von Hoffman, an extended-time critic of Senator Joseph McCarthy, later concluded that the Wisconsin Irish Catholic was “closer to the truth [about communist infiltration in the U.S. government] than those who ridiculed him.”
The Washington Post is especially partisan: von Hoffman wrote these phrases within the Post in 1996. In that very same article, he additionally stated, “McCarthy may have exaggerated the scope of the problem but not by much.”
In Friday’s obituary columns, each the Times and the Post cited von Hoffman’s guide, Citizen Cohn, a crucial biography of Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s chief counsel within the 1950s congressional hearings on communism. Not to say von Hoffman’s reassessment of McCarthy, which adopted a trove of paperwork in regards to the Soviet Union’s involvement in U.S. politics, is inexcusable.
McCarthy, as von Hoffman famous, was sloppy in his work and mistaken on some essential factors, however his instincts have been good. Most essential, historical past reveals that he was extra correct than his fiercest critics ever have been, to say nothing of the apologists for communism. Sadly, the latter are nonetheless with us.