His techniques have led him to be seen as a figure of fear and ridicule (in almost equal measure). Journalistic reputations were made by those who brought him down and are still eulogised today. However in a Radio Four documentary David Aaronovitch highlights that the release of new evidence which shows:
"...Joseph McCarthy was right after all about the extent of Soviet infiltration into the highest reaches of the U.S government...the Communist spying McCarthy fought against was extensive, reaching to the highest level of the State department and the White House...many of McCarthy's anticommunist investigations were in fact on target. His fears about the effect Soviet infiltration might be having on US foreign policy, particularly in the Far East were also well founded."
Will the new evidence lead to a rehabilitation of McCarthy or will the left fight to maintain his postion as a bogeyman?
(Only two days left on the BBC iplayer to listen to the programme).