My article “The Art of the Slur: From Joe McCarthy to David Horowitz” has come out in the Fall 2006 edition of The Public Eye. It is also available online.
In a callous attempt to pique interest, I’ve quoted a few passages below:
In his latest book, Dangerous Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, and related writing, Horowitz drips out “misleading information” in an attempt to discredit liberals in academia — claiming, for instance, that a New York University professor teaches a subversive book (are books to be banned from the classroom?) and that a respected Princeton professor is a member of a left-wing legal organization
A key to understanding Horowitz is recognizing that he needs enemies, no matter which side he is on. His attacks are so relentless that it is easy to be left wondering what Horowitz himself stands for.
The question of McCarthy becomes even more important in light of the successes of Horowitz, Coulter, O’Reilly, Limbaugh and the others inspired by or echoing McCarthy’s methodology. They seem to have studied him, learning tactical lessons from both his successes and failures.
Horowitz may not be, in fact, the nefarious man-behind-the-curtain that Max Blumenthal imagines him to be, but he remains an exemplar of the strategies of the right.