Ghosts Past and Present in Today’S Papers

by Roger Clegg

Some items of note in today’s papers.

First, the New York Times has a stupid editorial on “Remembering the Rosenbergs.” The Times begins by intoning that, when the Rosenbergs started their espionage activities, “the Soviets were still our allies,” but that, when they were arrested, “the McCarthy era had begun.” The implication is that wanting to give the atomic bomb to the Soviets wouldn’t have been such a big deal except for the rantings of a few demagogues. The editorial acknowledges, as it must, that “Julius was an atomic spy”; as for Ethel, “the mother of two young sons,” the editorial asserts that some evidence “strongly suggest[s] that Ethel played little or no role.” There’s a big difference here between “little” and “no.” In any event, the Times concludes, “The Rosenberg case still haunts American history, reminding us of the injustice that can be done when a nation gets caught up in hysteria.” Sorry, but the Rosenbergs got what they deserved, and what haunts the Times is that it has been wrong about them.

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