An excerpt of “Mr. Bush, tear down that curtain!” by Anthony D. Romero, The Huffington Post:
July 4th brings thoughts of fireworks, hot dogs, and cold beer, but as you see your ballparks and skylines light up tonight, take a minute to think about another July 4th tradition, the Freedom of Information Act. You might not know this piece of patriotic trivia, but FOIA has been in effect and lighting up our government for exactly 40 years today.
The Act can trace its origins to the time of Joe McCarthy. The relevant background is as follows: In March 1954, newsman Edward R. Murrow set into motion the downfall of the demagogue senator, using McCarthy’s own words to show America his dark side. The centerpiece of the historic broadcast was actually a clip of McCarthy browbeating a witness over his one-time association with the “Communist-influenced” ACLU.
Before giving his signature signoff, Murrow warned that McCarthyism was a symptom of a disease, not the disease itself. National security concerns about Soviet espionage and global expansion were building into wildfires of public hysteria. Farmers in the Midwest, socialites in New York — all were terrified of the Red Menace, a terror made even more acute by the advent of nuclear weapons.