Hedda Hopper gets my vote this month for the most reprehensible person ever to walk he earth. The newly released film Trumbo, starring Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” fame, depicts the evils of the McCarthy era through the story of Dalton Trumbo and the so-called Hollywood Ten, ten of the most successful Hollywood screenwriters, in their battle with the “blacklist” created by the US Congress’ House Un-American Activities Committee. Trumbo and other blacklisted writers and actors were unemployable at the big studios who were cowed by the radical right of that day, who routinely used the government and the media to smear law-abiding citizens with the accusation of “Communist,” “Communist sympathizer,” or (my favorite political euphemism) “fellow traveler.” People branded with these names were fired, incarcerated, threatened with or actually hurt by physical violence, their employers were boycotted, etc.
Hopper used her gossip column, syndicated in hundreds of newspapers, to spread rumor, innuendo and half-truths about Hollywood figures whom she accused of being part of a huge Hollywood Communist cabal. In many cases, the mention of someone in her column was enough to end a career, the mere threat of a mention was enough to intimidate. Mind you, no such cabal was ever demonstrated, not even a shred of evidence of any communist conspiracy was ever produced during the hundreds of hours of congressional testimony, and yet this witch hunt continued for years. It was enough for Hopper just to dislike someone for her own personal reasons and that name would appear in a gossip column read by millions.
And what were Hopper’s personal reasons? She was interested in “outing” and destroying people she believed were undermining America and its values. And who the chief culprits in her view? Care to guess? Why, Jews (#1) and homosexuals (#2), of course. So while Stalin and the Russian communists were conducting show trials aimed at the so-called Doctor’s plot, which led to the incarceration or execution of many Jewish doctors and others as capitalist sympathizers, the American government and its allies on the far right, were doing the same some of its citizens here, minus the executions.
If any of this sounds eerily familiar, you’re not paranoid or confused…just attentive. —Rabbi Kerry Baker
Read the referenced article: http://variety.com/2015/voices/columns/blacklist-hedda-hopper-career-destroying-1201584311/